Are there limits to free speech? Should we recognise intellectual property? Why do libertarians disagree? These were just a few of the tough questions that were extensively discussed during the sixth consecutive summer school “Europe & Liberty”. Held between 31 July and 6 August in the picturesque mountain village of Bansko in Bulgaria, this event was the next step of the successful collaboration by the Institute for Market Economics (IME), the Institute for Economic Studies (IES – Europe), and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Southeast Europe.
More than 30 students from 11 countries participated in the seminar, exchanging views and debating the ideas of classical liberalism. The open evening debate on “Changing the World for Liberty” was one of the most provoking parts of the seminar. Many ideas were presented and discussed about how to tackle the most pressing challenges for liberals in the 21st century and what are the most appropriate ways to promote liberty in today`s rapidly changing world.
The participants were offered a highly diversified programme, based on a multidisciplinary and overarching approach, starting with an introduction to political philosophy and ethics then extending to the study of economics and numerous discussions about modern day economic challenges.
The seminar was designed in a way so that every participant had an opportunity to freely discuss the issues of the day. Every lecture session was followed by practical exercises in groups. A timeslot for posing questions to the main contributors was also provided. During the last seminar day, the participants formed regional-based groups to elaborate the best approaches to coping with today’s most pressing challenges in the areas of economics and politics.
The sessions at the seminar were conducted by Pierre Garello (IES, France), Doug Rasmussen (St. John’s University, USA), Nigel Ashford (IHS, USA), Christian Nasulea (University of Bucharest, Romania), Krassen Stanchev (IME, Bulgaria), Daniel Kaddik (FNF, Bulgaria) and Petar Ganev (IME, Bulgaria).
The national and cultural diversity of the group contributed to a multitude of viewpoints and created a unique knowledge-exchange environment. This approach allowed for extensive debates about all aspects of classical liberalism, building up a comprehensive understanding of civil liberties, economic freedom, and political freedom with all the young participants.