Prometheus Foundation had an outstanding 2021. We awarded almost $5 million in grants to organizations and individuals who are promoting Ayn Rand’s works and advancing Objectivism all over the world. Here are some highlights of our grantees’ programs and activities.
Students For Liberty (SFL)
Prometheus Foundation has worked with Students For Liberty (SFL) to introduce Ayn Rand’s books and ideas through SFL Academy, LibertyCon, Freer Future Fest, Learn Liberty, SFL’s Coordinator Program, and the New Frontiers of Objectivism.
In January, Prometheus Foundation granted to SFL a Prometheus Fellowship program—a four-year program for education and mentorship focused on Ayn Rand’s ideas. SFL will select talented, educated, qualified, and experienced students and equip them with a thorough understanding of Objectivism and the works of Ayn Rand.
SFL’s Prometheus-funded programs have already introduced Ayn Rand’s ideas to hundreds of thousands of students, and new programs will expand this reach and increase the depth of study.
SFL’s Objectivism-oriented programs and activities in 2021 included:
A three-part Learn Liberty video series: Philosophy and “The Morality of Life”; Reason, Purpose, and Self-Esteem; and Individual Rights, Government, and Fundamental Philosophy.
A Freer Future Fest with over 400 in-person attendees and plus 600,000 livestream views.
The launch of New Frontiers of Objectivism (NFO)—headed by Martin Hooss—which comprises a nine-hour course on Objectivism, reading groups, webinars, and speaker events of which SFL held fifteen in South Asia with 677 participants. NFO was launched in Latin America in March and will expand to countries on all inhabited continents in 2022 and 2023.
Sixty SFL students taking OSI’s six-hour course, Introduction to Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Loving Life, taught by Craig Biddle.
Ayn Rand Center Europe (ARCE)
Since ARCE was founded in 2016, the organization has delivered thirty-seven courses on Objectivism in twenty-two countries via its John Galt School (JGS) program, which comprises reading and discussing Rand’s works, listening to and discussing lectures, taking Leonard Peikoff’s courses, and doing quizzes and tests on the materials. ARCE has received more than 2,100 applications for the JGS course, enrolled more than 900 students, and graduated more than 600. Many JGS graduates have organized courses in their own countries, and some have launched their own organizations to advance Objectivism, e.g. ARC Ukraine.
On April 18-22, ARCE will host the New Intellectual’s Conference (NICON) in Prague, Czech Republic, which will gather Objectivist speakers and select John Galt School alumni for intensive study of Objectivism, professional networking, and brainstorming about new ways to advance Ayn Rand’s ideas.
Over the past five years, ARCE and Serbian publisher Albion Books have ensured availability of the Serbo-Croatian editions of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. They plan to publish Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in 2022.
Ayn Rand Center Israel (ARCI)
ARC Israel and its CEO, Boaz Arad, have been funded by Prometheus Foundation since 2012. ARCI holds essay contests on Ayn Rand’s books in Hebrew, organizes events and lectures on Objectivism for student clubs and other organizations, and offers courses to the general public, including courses on Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
In October 2021, ARCI hosted its fifth annual Atlas Award event at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. One hundred seventy companies registered to compete for the award, up from eighty in 2019. Judges included executives from Amazon, Dow Group, KaryoPharm, and Start-Up Nation Central. Speakers included John Allison, Carl Barney, and Israeli entrepreneurs. Israel’s financial newspaper, TheMarker, published a multi-page report on the event. This year’s Atlas Award will take place in September.
Objective Standard Institute (OSI)
Led by Sarah and Craig Biddle, Objective Standard Institute launched its first programs in June 2020. The Institute’s mission is to teach people about the importance of philosophy, the principles of Objectivism, and related ideas for living fully and advancing liberty. Toward this end, OSI delivers courses, podcasts, articles, and conferences; trains new intellectuals to write, speak, and teach with precision and clarity; and works with other organizations to advance understanding of the nature and importance of philosophy in general and Objectivism in particular.
On the Prometheus Foundation news page, you’ll find an overview of OSI’s programs and engagements in 2021.
In 2020, OSI and PragerU produced three videos which were released in 2021. To date, they have accumulated 9.7 million views and 5,500 comments. The videos are:
Understanding Ayn Rand, a five-minute video narrated by Gloria Alvarez, which currently has 6.3 million views and more than 3,000 comments;
A Book Club episode on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, with Eric Daniels and Michael Knowles, which now has a million plus views and more than 1,000 comments; and
A Fireside Chat about God and Ayn Rand, with Dennis Prager and Craig Biddle, which currently has 2.4 million views and more than 1,500 comments.
The publication and promotion of these videos have had a significant effect on the sales of Rand’s books. In the week following the release of the Book Club episode on Atlas Shrugged, sales of the audio edition of Atas nearly doubled, sales of the Kindle edition increased threefold, and sales of the paperback increased fourfold. OSI and Prometheus are currently planning more activities with PragerU.
Adam Smith Institute (ASI)
Since 2012, Prometheus has funded Adam Smith Institute’s annual Ayn Rand Lecture. The Institute is run by Eamonn Butler who, in addition to being a big fan of Rand, has authored a primer on her ideas, titled Ayn Rand: An Introduction.
ASI’s first Ayn Rand Lecture (2012) was delivered by John Allison. Since then, it has been delivered by other renowned businessmen and speakers such as Lars Seier Christensen, David Sokol, Ken Moelis, Yaron Brook, Dr. Michael Kauffman, and Johan Norberg. In November, serial entrepreneur and acclaimed author Luke Johnson delivered the ninth Ayn Rand Lecture, on the topic “Entrepreneurs: The Last Best Hope.” The event was held at the prestigious Drapers’ Hall, in London. With more than 300 in attendance, it was standing room only.
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)
When Leonard Read founded FEE in the mid 1940s, Rand was constructively critical of the venture, writing Read a seven-page letter including this:
The organization desperately needed at present is one for education in individualism, in every aspect of it: philosophical, moral, political, economic—in that order. (That is the actual order in which men’s thinking proceeds on these subjects.) As part of such a program, an education in sound economics would be essential and valuable. Without it, it is a wasted effort.
FEE is now engaging with Rand’s philosophical, moral, and political ideas—and teaching them to FEE participants. In 2021, FEE received a Prometheus Foundation grant for a pilot program with four elements:
Webinars on Rand’s ideas for students in the National Society for High School Scholars program;
Fellowships for three young Objectivist writers—Jon Hersey, Angelica Walker-Werth, and Thomas Walker-Werth—to write articles for FEE about freedom and economics from an Objectivist perspective;
Presenting Rand’s ideas on the morality of capitalism and the heroic nature of entrepreneurship to high school students during FEE’s E-Week (“E” for “Entrepreneur”); and
Integrating principles of Objectivism into FEE’s Learning Center, which is used by members of FEE’s high school teacher network of more than 8,000 educators.
The program is going beautifully, and we are currently planning a vast expansion.
Novel Philosophy Academy (NPA)
Leopold Ajami founded Novel Philosophy Academy in 2019 in Dubai, where he has held workshops on the Objectivist ethics and the virtue of productiveness for General Electric Dubai, Edelman Dubai, and more. He has launched three online courses on creative thinking; published twenty episodes of his podcast, “Ideas on Trial”; and taught “Introduction to Objectivism” at the American University of Dubai.
Leopold is also working with a United Arab Emirates publisher to reprint the Arabic edition of The Virtue of Selfishness, which he will market and distribute throughout various Arabic-speaking countries. Leopold has taught several John Galt School courses and will teach more in 2022.
Ayn Rand Center Ukraine (ARCU)
Dmytro Usik and Daniil Lubkin founded ARCU in 2020, after hosting the first JGS course in Kiev. Through their “Objectivist Thought Leader Program,” they train JGS graduates in teaching Objectivism. They have taught 120 students, most of whom have started local study groups in Ukraine.
Additionally, Dymtro and Daniil have cooperated with the Ukrainian publisher of Ayn Rand’s novels, Nash Format (Our Format), to promote Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and We the Living.
Due to Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, ARCU has been forced to put its activities on hold. We have made sure that their members (along with their families) are safe and taken care of and we have remained in touch with them as much as possible. All things considered, they are in good spirits and are planning to disseminate Rand’s ideas to an even broader audience once Ukraine has won the war.
Berlin Center for Individualist Thought (BCIT)
Djordje Mancev and Felix Hosse launched the Berlin Center for Individualist Thought in the summer of 2021. The core of BCIT is the Roark Academy, a school geared toward teaching the principles of Objectivism to young entrepreneurs, tech people, and finance professionals in Berlin, one of the most cosmopolitan capitals of Europe. BCIT is also creating awareness of Atlas Shrugged by leveraging Berlin’s highly active (and culturally and legally permissible) sticker/poster culture, placing “Who is John Galt?” stickers (with links to BCIT’s website) in strategic places throughout Berlin. So, next time you’re in Berlin, keep an eye out!
Since 2019, CEVRO Institute (a privately owned university in Prague, Czech Republic) has been teaching a minor in Objectivism for students in CEVRO’s Masters in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics program. Prometheus Foundation has just granted funds to continue this program. Eszter Nova, who teaches the program, works with Andrew Bernstein and Martin Hooss to continuously improve their curriculum. Martin himself finished two masters programs at CEVRO last year, with a minor in Objectivism, and is now running the New Frontiers of Objectivism program for Students For Liberty. Also in 2021, Eszter helped to have The Virtue of Selfishness published in Hungarian, her native language.
Prometheus Foundation has funded several of Kalin Manolov’s projects since January 2016. Kalin’s main objectives have been to publish and promote Bulgarian editions of Ayn Rand’s works via his publishing house, MaK Publishing. In March 2021, MaK published the first Bulgarian edition of Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Kalin is working with the Bulgarian Ministry of Education to distribute Rand’s works to high schools and to make them part of their curriculum.
Timothy Sandefur (a prolific writer and vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute) has written a book on Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand’s efforts to defend liberty in an age of tyranny. The book, which covers the works of these three great women and their relationships between 1925 and 1945, is scheduled for publication in November 2022 and is tentatively titled “The Furies: How Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand Found Freedom in an Age of Tyranny.” Prometheus Foundation provided a grant to enable publication and marketing of the book through the Cato Institute. It is available for pre-ordering on Amazon.
“Ricardo’s Time” Podcast
Ricardo’s Time is a video-podcast dedicated to raising awareness of Rand’s ideas, the nature and importance of Objectivism, and how its principles apply to everyday life. It was launched in 2020 by a young Peruvian student, Ricardo Ibañez. Ricardo also now hosts JGS courses, which he plans to expand to other Latin American countries in collaboration with ARCE.
Turkish Objectivist Network (TON)
The Turkish Objectivist Network was established in 2020 after Orçun Koçak and Özgür Özer attended the Prometheus Academy in Batumi (hosted by ARCE). They cooperate with established free market think tanks in Turkey to advance Ayn Rand’s ideas, offer JGS courses (in Turkish), and have produced videos discussing Objectivism’s application to various issues. They are now working to disseminate their programs in other countries in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). During their trips in the Middle East, Orçun and Özgür will discuss and distribute the Arabic edition of The Virtue of Selfishness.
Ayn Rand Center Holland and Ayn Rand Center Morocco (ARCH and ARCM)
Ayn Rand Center Holland was launched in 2020 by Yernaz Ramautarsing, who has advocated Objectivism in The Netherlands for many years. In 2021, he was joined by Anis Benhayyoun, who runs Ayn Rand Center Morocco and holds a masters degree in PPE with a minor in Objectivism from CEVRO Institute. They are currently producing videos in Dutch on Objectivism and its applications.
Ayn Rand Center Georgia (ARCG)
Irakli Iagorashvili completed the first JGS course in Georgia (the nation) in 2019. Then, on his own time and dime, he launched Ayn Rand Center Georgia and began organizing, hosting, and teaching JGS courses. He received more than 200 applications for the autumn 2021 course, and is working to meet the clear demand for more courses in the region. Irakli also produces weekly podcasts discussing and applying Objectivism and runs twice-monthly study groups with students at both the University of Georgia and Free University.
Ayn Rand Center Belarus (ARCB)
In September 2021, Alisa (her name has been changed for safety and security) received a Prometheus grant to organize Ayn Rand study groups at various locations in Belarus. With the current political turmoil in Belarus, she sees huge potential for reaching young people who are eager for ideas in support of freedom, and thus ripe for Ayn Rand’s ideas.
Ayn Rand Center Russia (ARCR)
Mariia Ivanchikova, founder of Ayn Rand Center Russia, received a Prometheus grant in September 2021 and is currently organizing a series of mini-conferences on Objectivism in Moscow and St. Petersburg to attract and connect with students who are interested in studying Rand’s ideas and promoting them in Russia. Mariia plans to work with these students to set up local Ayn Rand study groups across the country and to re-launch the annual Ayn Rand Commemoration Conferences in St. Petersburg around the date of Rand’s birthday.
Galt Media Center Brazil
The Galt Media Center in Brazil is run by Bruno Lippy who founded it in 2014. His goal is to disseminate Ayn Rand’s ideas and to promote a culture based on rationality, independence, rational selfishness, and laissez-faire capitalism. With more than 200 million Portuguese speakers worldwide, Bruno is tailoring his content and marketing to reach active-minded young Portuguese speakers who are interested in philosophy for flourishing.
Project Arizona and Liberty International
Prometheus Foundation has been co-funding Jacek Spendel’s Project Arizona for the past five years. Project Arizona is a semester-long program for ambitious young people in the liberty movement who attend internships and academic seminars at Arizona State University. As a part of this program, students attend day-long workshops on Objectivism. In 2022, one of these will be taught by Carl Barney and Craig Biddle in January at Carl’s home; another was already taught by Jon Hersey in Arizona in March 2022.
Jacek also runs the Liberty International conferences, including the 2021 conference in Medellin, Colombia, where Jon gave several talks. Jacek is currently working on a proposal with the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation (FEF) to advance Objectivism in Poland (his native country). Jacek and FEF will be hosting a speaking event for Craig in Warsaw on April 30 titled “Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and Facts that Support It.”
Cindy Cerquitella and her team at America’s Future has just been granted funds to run a pilot program which includes developing and launching a series of educational events involving America’s Future city chapters, regional hubs, and national membership programs. Each chapter and hub will have a menu of event format options from which to select for advancing Objectivism. Events will include book discussions, debates, workshops, trivia games, public forums, and expert speakers on Objectivism and the works of Ayn Rand.
Prometheus on Campus (UK)
Prometheus has granted funds to Maxwell (Max) Marlow, who wants to introduce university students to Ayn Rand and Objectivism through a campus club program called Prometheus on Campus (UK). This program will leverage the vast network of the Adam Smith Institute, with which Max has worked. Prometheus on Campus (UK) will work to expand awareness and knowledge of Objectivism across the British Russell Group (equivalent to America’s Ivy League schools) via campus talks, debates, reading groups, and seminars.
I’m excited about these programs, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Carl B. Barney
April 13, 2022
10 thoughts on “Highlights of Prometheus Foundation Programs”
Here’s an additional idea that isn’t simply identifying another organization for funding.
Create a continuing debate series on hotly debated subjects of current events. All of the organizations you mention seem to take a lead from ARI in searching for a single right policy on hotly debated issues and not fostering debate on them (or even recognizing that different viewpoints rationally exist).
For example, rank and file Objectivists (students of Objectivism?) regularly engage in heated debates over immigration; Trump; vaccine policy; homosexuality and gay marriage; transgenderism; whether “white privilege” is a defensible topic for public schools and public policy; and more. There are arguments on both sides of these issues, each of which ground themselves in Ayn Rand’s writings – yet “official” Objectivist groups are loathe to tolerate, let alone sponsor, debates on these and other hotly contested issues.
Ayn Rand recognized there are many instances where “reasonable minds can differ,” yet that never seems to be recognized by any of the official organizations. I believe a regular debate series on hotly debated issues of current events would be a boon to spreading Objectivism – and I think the absence of such debates goes hand in hand with the stagnation Objectivism has faced in the culture.
Carl, your commitment to spreading Objectivism is admirable. I continue to wish you all the best.
Could you add a link to this page and future pages, so I can share them on Social Media.
Besides the highlights posted on this blog here you’ll also find information on the Prometheus Foundation website here . We’re also on Facebook here.
Thanks so much for helping us share our success in advancing Ayn Rand’s ideas!
What you are doing with Prometheus is terrific. With centers promoting Objectivism, centers run by local leaders in the local languages, Ayn Rand’s ideas will be spread all over the world.
Great work. Thank you. I look forward to continuing updates.
I’m particularly heartened by the global nature of these. It seems that the openness to new ideas has been shut down more in the United States and perhaps part of western Europe and their universities and other dominant institutions than sometimes further overseas where people are very aware things around them are not good, their world is corrupt, and they need to consider radical alternatives. And in countries where some of the institutions haven’t yet entrenched themselves or gotten complete buy-in.
A proof of this is often the hunger with which immigrants from the worst countries have for alternative views. (A certain Russian author being the prime example.)
Your work and examples are absolutely wonderful, but from the organizations you’re working with and their politics, I worry about Objectivists painting themselves too much into “the right wing ghetto” corner (which includes libertarians, not just conservatives).
There are two reasons to emphasize the applications of the philosophy that will appeal to liberals, moderates, some elements of the left – and try to get at least a hearing and maybe occasional co-sponsorship of programs or discussions: 1) the liberals tend to be the more intellectually curious than young conservatives and also more focused on the humanities and social sciences rather than just business or the professions or technical fields. And cultural change comes predominantly from those who have gotten involved heavily with the former areas not the latter. 2) getting a reputation for the “liberal” portion of one’s ideas: pro free speech, pro-abortion rights, anti-drug laws, pro civil liberties, opposed to the oppression and subjugation of women around the world, for example…and not just the more “conservative” (loosely speaking) oriented issues: property rights, economic freedom, against government regulation of business, against taxes and spending — will ultimately boost Objectivism and broaden its appeal and public image.
Because in fact Objectivism ~does~ advocate all of the ‘liberal’ things I listed, yet that is not its public image. I can’t count the number of times mentioning Rand or the philosophy and an educated person says, “well, she’s a conservative (or a right winger)”:
It’s sort of a “Half Objectivism” that is projected out there.
What a wonderful compilation of terrific activities!
Could you provide LINKS to the groups and individuals you mention? Several of them are of interest to me because they are in my area and/or they are doing things I would like to participate in.
Carl, Fantastic summary of highlights. Inspiring!