On the weekend on the 14-16 of March, 2014, a new European generation of freedom-loving youth assembled in Berlin, Germany for the 3rd Annual European Students For Liberty Conference.
It was an event which united over 570 students and young professionals from 40 countries.
Apart from the rich experience of uniting hundreds of individuals interested in the ideas of liberty, the conference was addressed by 40 different speakers from across academia, business, political activism, and strong pro-liberty organizations fighting for free markets and individual rights in Europe and beyond.
Specific to this conference, the celebration of the passing of 25 years since the passing of the Berlin Wall, not more than a few hundred meters from the conference location, served as a great reminder to the preciousness of human liberty and the ongoing need to protect it and preserve it for everyone concerned.
Taking place at Humboldt University in Berlin, the opening of the conference was both well-attended and well-received. The opening keynote, Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks, explored the core tenants of the libertarian philosophy: “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” It was an interesting discussion about principles and compromising in the broader political sphere. It would serve as a perfect theme for the rest of the conference.
After the first day of the conference, participants were able to relax and party at the Berlin hot-spot Felix Club and Restaurant, booked exclusively for several hours.
The main keynote of the conference, Johan Norberg, the Swedish author and historian, gave a clear and succinct overview of the current situation in terms of the essential freedoms which make Europe unique. He provided the enthusiasm and motivation many students and young professionals will take back to their campuses and implement in their activism to increase awareness of the ideas of liberty.
In between keynotes, students had the opportunity to network with their peers from across the European continent and listen to break-out sessions on topics as diverse as Feminism versus Individualism, Lessons from the Icelandic Banking Collapse, Libertarianism in Russia, Hactivism in the 21st Century, the True Cost of Environmentalism, and many more.
YouTube sensation Dorian Electra, a darling of the libertarian music scene, gave a lauded performance on the Saturday evening, entertaining the more than 500 students who were also enjoying the drinks provided by conference sponsor Berliner Pilsner.
Other great sponsors for the event included the Atlas Network, our platinum partner, our gold partners Hayek Gesellschaft, Uber, Diamond Code, and Opel. Our silver sponsors were New Direction Foundation and the Liberales Institute. Bronze sponsors included the Institute for Economics Affairs, Freiheitswerk, and the Institut für Weretewirtschaft.
Atlas Network’s Tom Palmer, a scholar and libertarian jack of all trades, concluded the conference with his speech: “Peace is a Choice.” It gave an uplifting message, especially in light of the recent events in Ukraine which have worried so many peace-loving peoples across the European continent.
All in all, it was a great accomplishment for the pro-liberty youth of Europe. Hundreds of people gathered to discuss the ideas of liberty, and they’ll be informed and proactive in taking the message to their universities and starting their own pro-liberty groups to strengthen the ESFL network.
Thank you to all our participants, speakers, sponsors, and partners for making the 2014 European Students For Liberty Conference a raving success!