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JUNE 23-24
JUNE 23-24

A PREMIER VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE| Register

How did you first become acquainted with the Acton Institute?

When I was living in Buenos Aires in 2009, a friend introduced me to Acton University (AU) and encouraged me to apply for a fellowship. So AU 2010 was my first Acton Institute event. I can honestly say, without exaggeration, that the experience changed my life. I was only 25 years old, and I was so impressed that I decided to do something in my homeland of Bolivia to help spread the ideas and values Acton promotes. In 2011, as a professor at the Bolivian Catholic University, I decided to work with my best students on a project that has grown into the think tank we called LIBERA.

Growing up in Bolivia, when were you first introduced to classical liberalism and how did that inform your career path?

Growing up in Bolivia, I encountered socialist ideas very early on. When I was 15 years old, I even admired Che Guevara! But by the time I was 18, I outgrew those ideas, and on my own I began to research new authors and ideas. I decided to study political science, and when I was preparing my dissertation in 2006, I found a book by the then recently elected Pope Benedict XVI. His writings led me to classical liberalism, in great harmony with the Catholic tradition. That is why I felt so “at home” when I went to AU 2010.

What inspired you to found the think tank LIBERA?

Besides my experience at AU 2010, I would say that my inspiration comes from my Catholic faith, the idea of work as a calling and the responsibility of putting my talents to good use. Also, knowing that Bolivia needs new leadership for the reconstruction after the socialist regimen.

Are you working on any major projects?

We have many, but the biggest is a documentary we are producing about Bolivian entrepreneurs and how the free market helps people rise out of poverty. PovertyCure and Poverty, Inc. are both great inspirations. To watch the teaser, simply scan the QR code below. 

Jorge Velarde Rosso QR code

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Ben Stoner works as a Development Associate for Acton Institute.  Ben was raised in Grand Rapids, MI alongside three amazing brothers and one wonderful sister.  He attended Aquinas College where he received his B.A. in Art and Writing.  After graduating from Aquinas, Ben pursued a Master’s degree at Grand Valley State University in Higher Education and College Leadership. In addition to his work at Acton, Ben enjoys studying Modern Art, creative writing, playing guitar, and traveling to new and exciting locations across the globe.