At just 15 years old, Jacek Spendel got an early introduction to the ideas of movement through a newspaper publication that was circulating at the time. Growing up in Poland, he lived through a bloated welfare state and found himself drawn to stories that provided simple solutions to human suffering based on increasing human freedom.
Unlike the majority of Students For Liberty leaders, Jacek became a coordinator while in graduate school. Back then, in 2009, SFL did not have a chapter in Europe. Jacek first encountered the organization in the USA when he was participating in the Capital Semester, an internship program focused on free market principles offered by the Fund for American Studies. Through this program, he met the first generation of SFL leaders like Alexander McCobin and was drawn to the idea of Students For Liberty, “What inspired me about SFL is I realized that it was a powerful idea. Gathering students around the world around the concept of freedom can bring unbelievable results.”
Although he was already a part of the network, Jacek officially became a part of European Students For Liberty in 2012, helping make SFL’s brand visible there as part of the first generation of ESFL leaders in Poland.
“This network of liberty leaders in Europe was so important. We received so much valuable training on how to implement the ideas and craft an effective management strategy to form the continental liberty movement for students. It was something very new and we didn’t only have good training, we had a great atmosphere and fun.”
In the same year, he also founded the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation (FEF), an independent non-profit organization whose aim is to educate a new generation of leaders who are knowledgeable about the ideas of liberty and who understand the importance of unrestricted entrepreneurship. FEF has a strong focus on grassroots leadership and training and incorporates digital media to create impact. The organization prioritizes video production, most notably with a 12-episode series called Freedom Under Fire, which is one of the best known pro-liberty educational shows on the Polish internet. Currently, Jacek is fundraising for a movie project with Mises.
Jacek now runs a very successful non-profit that helps students learn some practical skills for life and business, and thinks SFL helped him with providing a network, “The contacts that SFL connected me with helped to open my eyes to new avenues of development, for my ideas and projects to be better. ”
He’s currently working on Project Arizona, a semester-long project in Phoenix for young, outstanding global leaders through which they gain a thorough understanding of the ideas of liberty and how to implement them in their communities, “I am still working with young people, primarily students to bring them closer to freedom, so to some degree I’m still continuing the legacy of SFL, but in a different way.”