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ARI Partners with Elite University to Foster Change in Bogota

Yaron Brook was back in Colombia at Elite University for his third visit in three years and this tour did not disappoint. ARI has found a dedicated partner in Elite, a university focused on engineering and business. Brook describes Dr. Carlos Felipe Escobar, the school’s president, as a “big fan of Ayn Rand who, in his own words, ‘would love to create a university John Galt would be proud to attend.’” Brook looks forward to these visits and loves to engage with these intellectually oriented students about the crucial principles of freedom.

Brook also met with Alvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia, who maintains a strong political presence in the Colombian congress, and is a supporter of Elite University. Discussions with Uribe focused on how Rand’s ideas can potentially influence key issues in the upcoming national elections.

Here’s a recap of Brook’s two-day itinerary:

  • Over two days, Brook led a five-hour seminar, focusing on the principles of a free society for Elite students enrolled in a diploma program for politicians and political activists, which is part of a nine-session program that runs throughout the course of the year. Many of the participants were senators or staffers of politicians from Uribe’s political party.
  • Separately, Brook spoke to more than forty senators and congressional staffers at the Centro Democrático party headquarters. He discussed issues relating to capitalism being guided by principle rather than pragmatism, the growing trends toward collectivism and how to bring free markets to Colombia. This was the second time Brook addressed this group and, as previously, Brook found the distinguished audience to be engaged, receptive and eager to explore ideas further.
  • Brook participated in a two-hour seminar for thirty school educators and administrators. This time the focus was on free-market solutions in education and the nature of a rational curriculum. The group analyzed the restrictions of the current education system and how they limit innovation and proper education. They went on to explore ways to support a movement toward a free education system that upholds innovation, efficiency and quality.
  • Across town, Brook gave two talks on the moral foundation of capitalism — one before sixty Jewish entrepreneurs and the other before 250 high school students at Maximo Poitier’s School. Brook describes the student audience as “a friendly bunch who wanted to challenge me on everything.” He has definite plans to return to the school, which is funded by private entrepreneurs who also happen to be fans of Ayn Rand.
  • Brook rounded out the tour at a dinner with prominent community members where he discussed capitalism and the value of the entrepreneur in society’s development.

ARI would like to thank Alberto Peisach, for sponsoring this trip; Mike Peisach, for organizing the successful meeting at the Jewish community center; and Carlos Felipe Escobar, president of Elite University, for organizing the events with students, educators and local politicians.

While the above is a huge win for the Objectivist community, there is much work still to be done. If you would like to sponsor a trip in your local area or elsewhere, please contact Donor Services.