Cultivating the Ukraine’s Growing Interest in Objectivism
In November 2015, Yaron Brook, ARI’s executive chairman, embarked on his first visit to the Ukraine. The goal was to introduce new audiences to Ayn Rand’s ideas.
While there, Brook addressed more than three hundred students and professors at two universities, including the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School (KMBS). KMBS is the largest business school in the country and is based on the principles of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. He spoke to attendees about the ideas in Atlas Shrugged and how her philosophy, Objectivism, has the power to transform society for the better. The visit ended on a high note with a presentation before the Ukrainian parliament.
Fast-forward to May 2016 when Brook joined the Free Market Road Show in Europe, and where he once again stopped off in the Ukraine. This time, Brook spoke on the morality of capitalism to members of the Free Market Institute. The evening of May 23, he also gave a talk titled “Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can Help Build a Successful Society” to seventy students at an event for the European Students for Liberty. During the November and May visits, Brook observed a growing interest in Objectivism, a clear desire to learn more about the philosophy and its application to real-world issues.
Brook was back again last month, building off the momentum from his prior visits. On October 19, he spoke after a performance of Rand’s play Night of January 16th in Kiev, explaining the connection between the play and Rand’s ideas. Most in the audience were new to Rand, but knowledge of her ideas will likely grow with the recent release of the Ukrainian version of The Fountainhead. The play will run on a monthly basis for as long as it attracts audiences.
Two days later, Brook returned to KMBS and led a three-hour course for the executive MBA program. ARI is continuing to work with KMBS administrators to provide additional resources, including books for study, speakers and classroom curriculum.
The final stop on Brook’s tour of Kiev was the Free Generation Forum, where he gave the keynote talk. The conference theme, “Ways to Leave Leviathan,” prompted Brook’s own presentation titled “Why You Can’t Leave Leviathan ― So You Better Reform It.” Approximately four hundred people, mostly students, were in attendance.
“Every moment on this trip, I was surrounded by students asking me questions about Rand, about philosophy, about how to build a better future,” Brook states. “The energy — the passion for ideas — was incredible. But perhaps most memorable, on one of those cold Kiev days, was when someone approached me and said, ‘It’s Yaron Brook from the Rubin Report!’ It’s so motivating to know we’re reaching new audiences all over the world.”
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Image: Milica Kostić