(Our task is simple)
While I’m currently pre-occupied with writing a piece on “why our next generation should take the Coronavirus Crisis seriously”, let me share with you some reflections on our two visiting international speakers, who graciously shared their time with us, in Perth – March 2020.
Larry Reed, Emeritus President of the Foundation for Economic Education – USA, and
Gloria Alvarez, host of the “Viernes de Gloria” radio program in Guatemala – Mexico.
Below are my welcoming comments when they visited in March 2020
Thanks Larry, I appreciate your complimentary comments, but tonight is not about me, it is all about the next generation.
Folks, by watching our Mannkal team interact with these young emerging leaders, you will see why I enjoy spending time at our office.
Our task is simple.
Our job is to awaken possibilities in young people.
That’s all. “We awaken possibilities”.
Sometimes these possibilities are qualities that they are unaware of themselves or even their parents or lecturers may not be aware.
These possibilities are just waiting for an opportunity to emerge and hatch.
I’d like to thank our team, headed by the amazing Andrew Pickford, for accepting the challenge of constantly improving the student study experience. Our task may be simple, but there are many moving parts.
Many hours go into developing these programs with our host institutions, not only in Australia, but all around the world.
These host institutions often retain and arrange a return of our Mannkal scholars and take them into their own organisations.
That gives us some measure of the success of what we are doing.
We have much more refinement to do and our task will continue.
I’m also thankful that, through osmosis, I’m learning something every day.
If there is a theme, for tonight, then these words from Solon, the Athenian Statesman and Poet, may be appropriate. He said, “Seek to learn constantly while you live; do not wait in the faith that old age by itself will bring wisdom.”
Talking of the learning experience, we are certainly lucky to have with us, at Mannkal, our two great international speakers this week and I learn so much each time I meet Larry Reed and Gloria Alvarez.
Larry, I regard as the master storyteller.
His stories are about real people, in real life situations and they explain the power of character and courage and how these qualities all offer antidotes to the decay in political and business leadership which we are experiencing.
I might venture to suggest that this decay is a result from retreating from the importance of personal responsibility, defaulting instead to the easier and lazier embrace of a narrative of victimhood.
Larry, may you long continue collecting and telling these stories and producing so many more great books with such wide appeal to cultures of all kinds, all around the world.
And, to Gloria, I clearly recall our first meeting in Madrid, 2017, when we were both speakers on the European Free Market Road Show.
Gloria was giving a very animated speech to a packed audience, all in Spanish, of course!
I remember saying to myself, “if this girl only spoke English, I would agree with every single word she was saying.”
It was only the next morning, at breakfast, that I discovered that she spoke English, better than I can.
At the conclusion of her presentation she was asked a question, by a rather pompous British gentleman, along the following lines, “Young lady, you were very disparaging in your comments about socialism and communism. Surely there are some aspects of socialism that have redeeming features from which we can benefit.” That was his question!
Now, I know that I have been taught, over the years, to always seek common ground with a questioner like this, so that you can even achieve a long-term friendship by focusing on your common ground.
She allowed the gentleman to re-seat himself before firing both barrels.
“Actually socialism in China is responsible for the worst genocide that humanity has ever seen – 60 million people – where families were forced to eat foetuses and their own babies because they had no food due to the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward of Mao Zedong.
What people don’t know – because they don’t study history – is that China under Deng Xiaoping changed completely their economic policies in the 1970’s to be the base for the 1990’s to be responsible for the biggest leap of people moving from poverty to the middle class.” (This was a breakaway from socialism).
Then Gloria commented generally along these lines:
“You obviously have never had any direct contact with communism or socialism.
“That means you are exactly the opposite to me where I can speak from first-hand experience. My grandfather fled Hungary to escape from communism and then my parents fled from Cuba to escape communism.
They then settled in Guatemala where I was born and educated.
If you had any knowledge or experience with communism or socialism you would agree with me that there are absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever and to incorporate any of these cruel and callous qualities exhibited by communism (despite the way it is currently dressed-up as a warm and fuzzy thing), you would never have asked such a question.”
Well, we just saw the gentleman sink further down into his chair and I would venture to say that he probably has, never ever, appeared in public ever since that evening.
What did I learn from this?
I learnt that you must be in complete command of your subject to be able to be confrontational and to have the ability to effectively win an argument.
Thank you, Gloria, for continuing your valuable role in making us proud of who we are and what we stand for.
Let me invite you all now to spend time, tonight, with Larry and Gloria. Ask them both the questions that are on your mind.
Let me also suggest that we drink a toast to the great gift that we have been given. That is, the gift of Responsible Liberty.
Below is the full video of their presentations: