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Ron Manners’ ideas
and adventures
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The below is my address delivered at Mannkal’s premier annual event – Emerging Leaders – at the University Club of Western Australia, March 10, 2022.

One of my early mentors was Sir Arvi Parbo, who often said to me, “Australia desperately needs less compliance and more performance.”

Performance is the mechanism from which we express the entirety of our lives.

It is Mannkal’s 25th anniversary, this year, so we are spending some time examining our journey of ‘opening the minds to different ideas and concepts’.

In many cases this involves thinking in directions not included in standard university studies.

Over our 25-year adventure Mannkal has developed a great relationship with the Atlas Network, comprising over 500 youth focused Think Tanks, all around the world.

That is why our Mannkal Alumni, through their travel, have developed a strong relationship with the world, as they know what is going on ‘out there’.

Our networks are extensive and that is why we feel the pain being experienced in Ukraine, more than the average Australian normally would.

I have 15 friends in Ukraine and last week I sent all 15 an email.

I only received replies from three.


Mannkal has also developed a strong relationship with the Mont Pelerin Society, a group of 500 economists and intellectuals, again all over the world.  This Society was formed in 1947, just after WWII, when the world’s economy was suffocating from so many restrictions and government controls.

Suffocating to the point where recovery looked to be impossible, hence the creation of the Mont Pelerin Society whose focus was on freeing up the economy, letting people run their own lives and make their own decisions.

That situation in 1947 is reminiscent of right now, in 2022!

From the Atlas Network, and the Mont Pelerin Society, we draw inspiration on how we can get back to running our own lives and accepting full responsibility for both our good and bad decisions.

Enough of the history.

The good news is that after two years, of being unable to travel, our Scholars are now back in the air and able to fully benefit from our international network of contacts.

A large contingent of our Mannkal scholars are off to Sydney in May, plus Europe and later, the Philippines.

Let me draw attention to just two interesting travel scholarships that will involve time in some interesting areas, directly affected by the current brutal events taking place in Ukraine.

Lana Pavlovic will participate in the Austrian Economics Center’s Free Market Road Show, meeting up with the touring group in May, in Milan (Italy).  She will be involved for a week travelling to Zagreb (capital of Croatia), Belgrade (capital of Serbia), Sarajevo (capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina), Ljubljana (capital of Slovenia) and then on to Vienna (Austria).

Nathan Cuthbertson will participate in the Atlas Network’s Europe Liberty Forum 2022, scheduled for May 2022, in Warsaw, Poland and being co-hosted by the Economic Freedom Foundation and the Civil Development Forum.  This Forum brings together partners from the region to discuss challenges facing the region and to discuss barriers to individual freedom and prosperity.

I am sure that Lana’s and Nathan’s adventures will warrant their presence on stage next year telling us of just how devastating the current events are for the whole of Europe, as well as what constructive plans are evolving.


I am often asked why we do all this work at Mannkal.

Let me state that it is not solely from benevolence.

It is also from rational selfishness, as the Mannkal team, including our wonderful group of Mannkal Ambassadors, learn so much from our interaction with this next generation.

A famous writer once said, “The soul is healed by being with young people.”

The older we get, the more healing our souls need, so we are incredibly grateful to the young people surrounding us in the office.

They maintain our passion.

They have a sparkle, enthusiasm, and zest for living because it is all out there in front of them.

Some older folk only look back over their shoulders, down the tunnel, saying “why didn’t we do this or that?”  Some of them are even suffering from hyperthymesia. This is a condition where they meticulously record every detail of their early childhood to the exclusion of being able to manage the constant flood of the latest information. They would not even know that yesterday, South Korea voted in a new President, and that Yoon Suk-yeol is good news for Australia.

So, a toast to the next generation.  Let you forever continue lifting our spirits and we drink to your every success as your careers emerge and blossom.


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