The History of Instituto Liberal
Instituto Liberal was founded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1983, by Donald Stewart Jr., as a nonprofit institution and is supported by donations and the sponsorship of private individuals and corporations. Its statutes provide for a Board of Trustees as its supreme body, and forbid any political or sectarian affiliations.
Its principal objective, as simple as it is ambitious, was and is:
TO PERSUADE BRAZILIAN SOCIETY OF THE
ADVANTAGES OF A LIBERAL ORDER
The means initially used to reach this goal was the publication of books and the organization of seminars and conferences. But it became evident over the years that such ambitious activities could not be limited solely to Rio de Janeiro. The IL had to regionalize its actions in order to increase the number of trustees and diversify its activities. It was also necessary to find regional leadership willing to assume the tasks and responsibilities.
Thus began the organization of ILs in other states of Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Paraná, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Bahia and in the capital of the country - Brasília, DF.
Decentralization has the advantage of flexibility but it brings the risk of distorting the main objective. In order to reduce these risks a National Council of Instituto Liberal was created and it was decided that all state institutes would have the same name - Instituto Liberal - and the same statute. Moreover, its leaders drafted a Declaration of Principles which clearly stated the principles to be respected at all times, regardless of the activities of each Institute in its efforts to disseminate liberalism.
Each IL is funded basically by local trustees - although outside donations are well received - and attempts to foster activities more consistent with their leaders’ inclinations and target public. As a result, the actions of the ILs are now widely diversified: besides publishing books, radio and television programs are produced; corporations Prizes for Journalism were created; refresher courses for teachers were started; new bills and policy alternatives on major national issues were conceived; informative journals at the national and regional level are published as well as the bimonthly NOTAS, whose purpose is to analyze bills and new measures currently under review by the Executive or the Judiciary; the primer Mônica was published; Citizenship Weeks were held, in addition to lectures, meetings, courses, seminars, forums, etc. Recently, IL has incorporated two new products: the magazine think tank and the regional websites such as this one you are visiting offered by Instituto Liberal of Rio de Janeiro.
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