Students For Liberty is pleased to announce the finalists for Student, Group, and Event of the Year.
Finalists were selected based on nominations from Executive Boards, Regional Directors, and Staff.
The winner will be selected based on voting from all SFL leaders.
Voting must be completed by February 19, 2018.
And the nominees are. . .
Aimable Manirakiza is a member of the African Students For Liberty Executive Board and Regional Director for Eastern Africa. He founded SFL Burundi two years ago, and was instrumental in founding SFL Rwanda and SFL Democratic Republic of Congo this past year, all in countries that face extremely difficult and unique obstacles to pro-liberty organizing.
Aimable organized the first Francophone African events, including more than 30 events in 20 universities in Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC and the African Great Lakes Regional Conference, which have attracted over 1,000 students. He has built a team and infrastructure within his local groups to support lasting activity and impact, and he recruited 20 new coordinators in these countries who have completed training. Aimable has also raised over $7,000 for his work in Central Africa.
Piotr organized more than a dozen events to promote a more compassionate drug policy in his home country Belarus. He has hosted numerous events including The War on US, an event in partnership with Mothers of Article 328, which proscribes excessively harsh sentences to minors for possessing very small amounts of marijuana. Piotr also started his own non-profit, legalize.by, aimed to legalise cannabis in Belarus. Their activism is the primary driver that brought the discussion of the drug war to the public arena in Belarus.
David Gallegos-Rubio is an Executive Board member of Estudiantes por la Libertad and the previous Regional Director for Mexico. During his 2 years in SFL leadership, he coordinated the campaigns Free to Love in support of gay rights and Friends No Borders in support of mutual understanding rather than walls between Mexico and the United States, as well as 16 other events and issue campaigns.
This past year he worked with the SFL Mexico team to organize a Liberty Roadshow, which visited 10 states in Mexico impacting nearly 1,000 students, doubled SFL Mexico’s Facebook and Instagram following, and tripled their twitter following.
David also secured a trip to visit the Mexican senate for a group of Es Libertad leaders, earned TV appearances and other media for SFL Mexico for the first time, raised over $5,000 for an RC, and secured 7 scholarships for local coordinators to attend a liberty summer school program.
Artur Fonseca for his leadership and growth of Clube Ajuricaba in Brazil.
Bryan Cheang for starting and quickly growing SFL Singapore.
Mike Avi for his leadership in growing and building effective infrastructure in the Southeast Region of North America.
During the last year, Clube Farroupilha held the “III Simpósio Interdisciplinar Farroupilha,” where 630 people attended what became the largest liberal event in the interior of Brazil. They created the Center of Leadership Development to cultivate an entrepreneurial mentality in their leaders. They also regularly engage in philanthropic activities including donating classical liberal books for students of the Federal University of Santa Maria with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, donating gifts for Christmas, chocolates during Easter, supplies for the beginning of the school year, and warm clothes for the winter.
Georgian Students For Liberty (GSFL) has been one of the strongest groups in Europe for several consecutive years. In the past year alone, GSFL has organised two regional conferences — one for around 100 students in Batumi and another for over 900 students in Tbilisi in November 2017, making it the largest Regional Conference ever hosted in Europe. GSFL is also extremely successful in gaining support and raising funds locally from businesses and from local communities.
GSFL has been one of the main partners in the coalition to educate the Georgian public about the harmfulness of the drug war, which resulted in the decriminalization of cannabis in late 2017. Another result of the great work of GSFL is the number of businesses and projects started by GSFL leaders which range from liquor companies, through educational for-profit businesses to blockchain consulting companies. GSFL is a fantastic and one of the best examples of a well organised group which is recognised and popular in their own country and region.
It takes real courage to defend liberty in a country where doing so is getting many people thrown in jail and even killed. Es Libertad Venezuela has been subject to threats, persecution, surveillance, and public denunciation from the government. When two coordinators were arrested last year, one was held for 30 days and members of the group went to visit the coordinator in jail every day. Despite all these challenges, the leaders in Venezuela have continued to organize, run events, and grow their network.
Students For Liberty Kenya for organizing the Campus Caravan to promote issue-based dialogue over tribal decision making.
Hong Kong Students For Liberty raised over $25,000 and reached more than 1,700 people for a series of talks, book signings, and media interviews with North Korean defector Yeonmi Park. The biggest event during this series had an audience of 800 people, and tickets were sold out faster than they could find new venues for additional talks. The event was covered by numerous local media outlets, and reached more than 200,000 people indirectly. It was the biggest SFL event series to date in Asia, and the largest libertarian event in the Asia-Pacific region of which we are aware.
Mexican Students For Liberty hosted a Liberty Roadshow that touched every state in Mexico with events and outreach, and culminated in the Liberty Weekend in which Students For Liberty Mexico hosted two Regional Conferences. This series received national press in many outlets both in print and on TV.
Students For Liberty at the University of Florida worked with partners on campus to bring Holocaust survivor Irving Roth to speak about the warning signs to watch out for the rise of fascism. Roth spent time in both Auschwitz and Buchenwald and watched his family die there at the age of 14 before being rescued by allied soldiers in 1945. There was standing room only for this event which hosted over 500 people.
The Great Lakes Debate Series by Students For Liberty Burundi, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Madrid Regional Conference broke the record for number of attendees at a Regional Conference in Iberia with over 600 attendees and discussed important controversial topics such as the drug war and feminism.