Mont Pelerin Society Meeting in Istanbul

Report on the Mont Pelerin Society Meeting in Istanbul

Agreement was given by the MPS Board at the Tokyo meeting in 2008 for a meeting of the MPS to be held in Istanbul in 2011.

As a result on September 30th 2011 around 265 members, guests, speakers and fellows gathered at the Marmara Hotel in the centre of Istanbul for the opening dinner.

They were welcomed by co-chairmen of the organising committee Linda Whetstone and Professor Atilla Yayla. Professor Yayla told how the first MPS meeting he attended in Vancouver in 1992 was a turning point in his intellectual life and academic career, and that ever since it had been his dream to hold such a meeting in Istanbul.

MPS President, Professor Kenneth Minogue then spoke on How the Modern and Traditional Play Against Each Other.

Two days of conference divided by one day of excursion followed with very stimulating sessions inspired by excellent papers from the speakers who were followed in each session by a discussant and then a period of questions and

Session 1 Liberty and the Nation State,

Dr Steven Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs: Nationality, Nationalism and Liberty.
Prof. Chandran Kukathas, London School of Economics: Liberty and the Challenge of Diversity.
Leon Louw, Free Market Foundation: Are Multinational States more Conducive to Individual Liberty than Nation States?

Discussant: Dr Douglas Den Uyl, The Liberty Fund

Session 2 Nation, Culture, Identity and Globalization.

Cumhur Thomas Gur: Culture and Nation in the Era of Globalisation.
Prof Bican Sahin, Hacettepe University: Toleration and Diversity in the Nation State.

Discussant: Dr Tom Palmer, Atlas Network.

Session 3 – Nation States & Freedom of Expression.

Mustafa Aykol, Hurriyet Daily News: Freedom of Expression in Nation States.
Dr Sam Gregg, Acton Institute: Freedom of Religion in Nation States.

Discussant: Doug Bandow, Cato Institute

Session 4 – The Nation State and Economic Interventionism.

Prof Peter Boettke, George Mason University: Is State Intervention in the Economy
Dr David R Henderson, Hoover Institute: The Great Financial Crisis Redux.
Prof. Timur Kuran, Duke University: State Interventionism in Middle Eastern Economies: The Roles of Islamic Law.

Discussant: Anthony Randazzo, Reason Foundation.

Session 5 – The Boundaries of the State.

Dr Michael Wohlegemuth, Walter Eucken Institute: The Boundaries of the State.
Prof. James Tooley, Newcastle University: Private v State Provision of Education.

Discussant: Krassen Stanchev, Institute for Market Economics.

Session 6 – Nation State, Supranational Bodies and Liberty.

Prof Julian Morris, Reason Foundation: Liberty & International Law.
Prof Razeen Sally, European Centre for International Political Economy:  The WTO: Global Liberator or Regulator.
Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament: The EU, Protector of Liberty?

Discussant: Dr Edwin van de Haar, Leiden University.

Istanbul was a perfect city for such a conference, partly in Europe and partly in Asia, steeped in history and with an abundance of interesting and iconic buildings to visit. The middle day of the conference was spent looking at the Blue Mosque, St Sophia and the Ancient Hippodrome and ended with a cruise up the Bosphorus with many discussions and much networking going on along the way.

The conference was held in the Marmara Hotel, and literally a few minutes away across Taksim Square were the two other hotels used by participants, the Cartoon and the Grand Oztanik.

Of the 265 at the meeting 15 were speakers and about 160 members of the Mont Pelerin Society and their guests and partners. The remaining 90 were those on fellowships provided by some very generous donors to whom the organisers, and the fellows, are exceptionally grateful.

Participants came from 49 countries and the ‘fellows’ were invited mainly from the Balkans, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East including academics and other intellectuals from Bosnia, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Syria and Tajikistan.

They all share a strong belief in the principles and practise of a free society and seek to promote them in their own countries, often against considerable odds. Their participation added greatly to the meeting.

The meeting was organised by the Association for Liberal Thinking in Ankara and the Network for a Free Society in the UK.

The Organising and Programme Committee were Profesor Atilla Yayla and Linda Whetstone (joint chairmen), John Blundell, Ozlem-Caglar Yilmaz, Professor Mustafa Erdogan, Professor Julian Morris., Professor Bican Sahin and Professor Veselin Vukitoc.

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