Spreading the Word of Freedom and Liberal Democracy in the Region, 4 October 2011, İstanbul

Spreading the Word of Freedom and Liberal Democracy in the Region Workshop

 4 October 2011 

Hotel Grand Oztanik,

Topçu Cad. No: 9-11, Taksim, Istanbul



09:15 – 9.30           Welcome and Opening                          

Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz, 
Association for Liberal Thinking

Linda Whetstone, 
Network for a Free Society

9:30 - 11:00            First Session

Islam, Pluralism and Liberal Democracy

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Bahadir Akin, Aksaray University


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bican Sahin, Hacettepe University Politics Department, President of ALT

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilal Sambur, of Theology, Director of Center for the Studies on Religion and Freedom

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaya

11:00 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 13:00 Second Session

Liberal Democracy in the Middle East and Central Asia: Barriers and Opportunities

Moderator: Dr. Tom Palmer, ATLAS Network


Prof. Dr. Mustafa Acar, Economist, Rector, Aksaray University

Dr. Nouh el Hourmouzi, Minbara-al Hurriya

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abul Ahrar RamizpoorAfghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization

Mirsuljan Namazaliev, Central Asian Free Market Institute

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Third Session

The Role of Intellectual Entrepreneurs and Think Tanks

Moderator: Michel Kelly Gagnon, Montreal Economic Institute

Linda Whetstone, Network for a Free Society

Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz, Association for Liberal Thinking

Dr. Tom Palmer, Atlas Network

Sascha Tamm, Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Moscow Office

15:30 – 16:00 Break

16:00 – 17:30 Fourth Session

How Can We Make our Case Sound and  Strong? / How can we better Spread the Idea of Freedom

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla, Association for Liberal Thinking


Lawrence Reed, Foundation for Economic Education

Ali Salman, Alternate Solutions Institute

Elena Leontjeva, Lithuanian Free Market Institute

Prof. Hicham el Moussaoui, Université Sultan Moulay Slimane, Morocco

17:30 Closing Remarks

18.00 – 19.00         Dinner

The organising committee 
would like to offer sincere thanks to the following donors for their very generous support, 
for  the provision of about 100 fellowships 
and for this workshop on October 4th.

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation

Aydin & Sonia Senkut

Robert Boyd

The Earhart Foundation

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation

Alan Gibbs

The Liberty Fund

Ron Manners of the Mannkal Economic
Education Foundation

The Mont Pelerin Society

Gerry Ohrstrom

The Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation

Harry Teasley

Hugo J. van Reijen

Fred Young


The program started with opening remarks of Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz, the general coordinator of ALT and Linda Whetstone the President of Network for Free Society.

In the morning first session was on “Islam, Pluralism and Liberal Democracy”. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bican Sahin, from Hacettepe University, president of ALT talked on “Economic Freedom, Liberal Democracy and Islam”. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilal Sambur, Director of ALT’s Center for the Study of Religion and Liberty made a comprehensive speech about pluralism and liberty with respect to Islam. Sambur opened consistent perspectives in finding ways to accommodate Islam within a free society. Wan Saiful Jan, chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs from Malaysia made some comparisons between Turkey and Malaysia. Prof. Dr. Bahadir Akin  of ALT chaired the session. The session was aimed at discussing a consistent liberal perspective for both Muslims and non-Muslims to defend freedom.

In the second session of the morning, “Liberal Democracy in the Middle East and Central Asia: Barriers and Opportunites” was the topic. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Acar, economist and former director of ALT’s Center for the Study of Economic Freedom made a speech to analyze the developments in the Middle East. Unlike the announced program, Cynthia Farahat, political activist from Democratic Dream Foundation, Egypt, manar Rachwani, Syrian journalist from Jordan talked on the developments in the Middle East. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abul Ahrar Ramizpoor, from Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies mentioned about human rights and Afghanistan. Mirsuljan Namazaliyev from Central Asian Free Market Institute of Kirghizstan talked about broaderly post-Soviet countries.

In the afternoon, sessions focused on practical issues. Third session was on the Role of Intellectual Entrepreneurs and Think Tanks. Mrs. Linda Whetstone talked about the experience and influence of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz, mentioned ALT’s experience and principles. Tom Palmer talked about his international observations from the cooperation of different NGOs. Finally Sacha Tamm made an analytical speech on how to develop better relations between the supporting/donor and partner organizations. The session was chaired by Michel Kelly Gagnon from Canada’s Mont Real Economic Institute.

Final session was on “How we can make our case sound and Strong?” Lawrence Reed of FEE made a very inspiring speech about the importance of character in an organization. Ali Salman of Alternate Solutions Institue from Pakistan, Elena Leontjeva of Lithuanian Free Market Institute and Hicham el Mousseaoui from Morocco talked about their achievements in their organizations to inspire the participants.

All sessions were followed after contributions and questions from the participants.

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