On November 18, the Acton Institute held its 30th Anniversary Celebration online. The special virtual event was hosted by co-founders, Rev. Robert A. Sirico and Kris Alan Mauren, and was streamed to supporters worldwide. Rev. Sirico and Mauren began by providing many candid stories from their early days traveling to promote Acton Institute.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mauren and Sirico made several trips to Central and Eastern Europe. Mauren shared how a group of supporters in Budapest reached out to ask them to visit, explaining the role Lord Acton had played in the downfall of communism in Hungary. Following the visits, the pair were excited to witness the evolution of the country as it rid itself from the shackles of collectivist ideology. Later, Rev. Sirico shared a humorous story from when they met Margaret Thatcher. Lady Thatcher quoted Acton’s famous line, but she omitted a key word. And so Rev. Sirico felt obliged to correct her by delivering the whole quote: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In his best British accent, Sirico offered Thatcher’s response back to him: “Rightly so!”
Throughout the event, video clips featured prominent speakers from previous annual dinner celebrations, such as Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr., Chuck Colson, and Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
The evening’s penultimate event came as Mauren and Rev. Sirico presented media entrepreneur and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai with the 2020 Faith and Freedom Award. Lai has had a wonderful relationship with Acton since being featured in the documentary Call of the Entrepreneur. His godfather, Wall Street Journal editorial board member William McGurn, has called Lai “Hong Kong’s Thomas More.”
The Acton Institute’s 30th Anniversary Celebration comes at a crucial moment in the West. Socialism, even communism, enjoys disturbingly high levels of popularity in the U.S., especially among young people. And so the work of the Acton Institute is needed now more than ever before.
Here’s to the next thirty years!
Please visit acton.org/watch30 to watch this event.