ASFL leader using the art of debate to change minds in Tanzania

ASFL leader using the art of debate to change minds in Tanzania

Growing up in Tanzania, the birthplace of ujamaa — the concept of African socialism popularized by the country’s first president Julius Nyerere — Evans Exaud was confused about what “capitalism” meant. It was his own confusion about these ideas that drew him to seek clarity through Students For Liberty.  

Evans joined African Students For Liberty in 2016 and is currently a law student at Tumain University of Dar es Salaam and part of the ASFL Advanced Leaders cohort. In April 2018, he organized the “Free Market Great Debate’, the first ever pro-liberty debate contest in Tanzania.

According to Evans, “the debate is designed to help students understand the principles of a free society, and capitalism in its social, economic, and cultural sense. Young people need to be knowledgeable about how free-market ideas can help Tanzania flourish.

The debate has proved exceptionally popular among students, both in the liberty movement and outside. Since the contest kicked off in April, the debate has reached 11 of the country’s top institutions including University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Finance and Management, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, and the Muslim University of Morogoro. Altogether, these events have attracted close to 1000 students.

When asked about how he’s managed to have so much impact in just a few months, Evans said, “SFL has taught me high-level professionalism and that gives me credibility. I can grow as a leader because I receive consistent training and feedback. My first proposal for this debate was actually challenged because I had not crafted it correctly. SFL supports students with their ideas, and I try to meet the high standards that come with that responsibility.”

The debate’s selection process is highly competitive. It consists of an intensive ambassador program developed to make sure every representative for the debate is well-trained in public speaking, events management and the ideas of liberty. The Free Market Great Debate started from scratch and has grown into one of the most effective pro-liberty events in East Africa. To keep up the momentum, Evans plans to host two events per week before the end of the year.

On how SFL has impacted his life, Evans says “I am a confident leader because of the training and opportunities I get through SFL. This is the reason I keep pushing for more young people to get involved. SFL helped me see things in a big way. I also get to be inspired by other students. Sometimes you think you are alone, but SFL shows you are part of a big network.”

Evans is also the founder of Liberty Sparks, a think tank whose mission is “to improve and promote individual understanding on economic, social and political liberty by emphasizing public policies on the principles of rule of law, individual rights, limited government, free market and property rights.”

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