Concluding FEE’s summer seminar season, 35 FEE alumni traveled from 15 states and four countries to attend “Communicating Liberty: Advanced Training for FEE Alumni” at the Emory Conference Center and Hotel in Atlanta, August 8–10.
The summit provided advanced instruction in and practical application of communicating the ideas of liberty, with participants participating in lectures, group projects, and team presentations, all targeted toward reaching new audiences. Presenters included Sharon Harris of the Advocates for Self Government, Bob Ewing of the Mercatus Center, Anna Ridge of the Charles Koch Institute, and FEE’s own Lawrence W. Reed. Together, this faculty lineup instructed participants on some of the most effective ways to reach out to different audiences about the ideas of a free society.
"Communicating Liberty" differed from other FEE seminars in that it centered on participant projects and presentations, challenging participants to discover new means to appeal to various personality types. In particular, students were tasked with communicating F. A. Hayek’s “knowledge problem” to the four different Myers-Briggs personality temperaments: Guardians, Rationals, Idealists, and Artisans.
Students showcased their talents and creativity, devising innovative methods to educate others about the knowledge problem. Ideas included a Buzzfeed-like quiz, a “Clue-meets-I, Pencil” digital game, and an online learning platform, all specifically targeted to the interests of a particular personality temperament. Groups presented both to a focus group of college-aged students and to the summit as a whole. Focus groups provided instant market feedback on projects’ appeal to young people largely unfamiliar with the ideas of a free society.
"I found the group project very valuable. I thought it caused us to address a huge problem we face in the liberty movement today," said a Communicating Liberty participant.
The winning project tapped into a platform that is very popular among students: Tumblr. This group—comprised of Rebecca Kallies, Emily Keen, Alex Reibman, Jared Shepherd, and Alexandra Woodfin—created a page under the name “#knowledgeproblems,” spinning off of an increasingly popular Twitter trend of using hashtags to indicate feelings or themes. Using this method, the group’s project will demonstrate real-life examples of the knowledge problem with animated GIFs, sharing, and other interactive features.
"I learned a lot about working in a team, and I came to respect views that I previously had developed prejudices against." said another Communicating Liberty participant. "We came up with a project that lives on today, and it worked out splendidly."
The group will present their winning project idea at FEE’s annual donor retreat in Bonita Springs, Florida, from January 30 to February 1, 2015. Early-bird registration for this event, featuring Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and UFM president Gabriel Calzada, is now open.
Communicating Liberty—conducted in partnership with the Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity, and co-sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute—is among the first steps in FEE’s new goal to become the world’s leading expert in communicating the ideas of a free society to underserved student audiences.