Asia Liberty Forum – A Liberal Summit in the Himalayas
Well over 150 delegates from close to forty nations assembled in Kathamandu for the Asia Liberty Forum (ALF). Entitled “Advancing Liberty and Markets in Asia”, the two day affair brought together representatives of pro-market, liberal and libertarian organizations and think tanks from all corners of the world. Organized by the Samriddhi Foundation, a think tank set up by young Nepalese liberal activists and close associates of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), in cooperation with the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in New Delhi, the Asia Liberty Forum may well be termed the most significant liberal conference in the region.
As in earlier years, the FNF’s Regional Office was once more a sponsor and active supporter of the event. At the opening of the conference, Regional Director Dr. Ronald Meinardus spoke about the state and challenges of liberty. Compared with other parts of the world, the state of freedom is better in South Asia, Meinardus said with reference also to the Arab world, where he had served the past eight years at the helm of the liberal Foundation. Robin Sitoula, Executive Director of the Samriddhi Foundation and one of the energetic leaders of the liberal movement in Nepal, said, “I am a proud alumnus of the Naumann Foundation, which I consider not only my school but also my university.”
The ALF program provided a mixture of lectures, workshops and discussion opening myriad avenues for dialogue and exchange on experiences and best practices. The delegates discussed ideological issues as well as important strategic and tactical matters related to the overall thrust of the conference: how best to promote freedom and market policies in their respective environments.
Joining from the FNF Regional Office in New Delhi were Program Executives Nupur Hasija and Subodh Kumar Agarwal. For the FNF team the conference in the Himalaya offered a welcome opportunity to renew friendships with old partners and network with colleagues and associates from the international community of freedom lovers – and freedom fighters.