The liberty movement is a global phenomenon. More and more people around the world understand that government is not the answer, and turn to ideas that empower individuals. What is important is that we can learn from each other. It is clear that the American wing of the liberty movement is one of the best organized and thus professional. If we look closer into American scene, we can distinguish states that are doing better work than others. Arizona can serve as a really powerful example; not just due to the number of active freedom fighters, but more general – as a place where regulations are less harmful for individuals and businesses.
The story of Project Arizona is linked to the personal experience of it’s director, Jacek Spendel, who currently runs Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation, a leading Polish educational libertarian organization. Spendel came to Phoenix in the summer of 2011 and interned at the Goldwater Institute. It brought him inspiration to start his own foundation and a big domestic project, the Polish-American Leadership Academy. Since 2012, PALA has more than 1000 alumni trained in practical applications of libertarian leadership. Project Arizona is designed to be a brand new project which will expose Polish students to professional standards of management.
The main aim of Project Arizona is to provide eight Polish students (of age 21 to 29) a unique program that will empower them to become stronger and more efficient advocates of freedom after they come back to Poland. Arizona is the place where ideas of freedom are implemented to reality, and that example is extremely powerful. Project Arizona will also expose students to American values, history, economic systems, and founding principles. Participants will receive meaningful internship work, educational training, and living experience in Arizona. Project Arizona could be a life changing experience that will lift careers of it's participants, and give them inspiration and necessary tools to work for a freer Poland. The semester-long (four months) project is going to be started in February 2017.
Key elements of Project Arizona:
I. Internships at Phoenix businesses and NGOs that match participants’ interest and abilities. Interns will dedicate 30-40 hours a week for 4 months to these positions. It is a win-win concept, as participants will gain new skills and experience, and internship providers will get valuable support for their operations. Every single internship provider agreed to delegate a specific person to guide our interns, to present an internship plan, and to offer a stipend of $300 minimum a month (some offered much more). Project Arizona's director confirmed guaranteed internships from: The Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity, ASU Center for Political Thought & Leadership, AZ Libertarian Party, Arizona Talks, Freedom’s Phoenix, Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Kolodin Law Group PLLC, Attorney Marc J. Victor, The Aarons Company LLC, L&W Machine Co., and others..
II. Academic Seminar on American Political History & Free Market Economics. During the first week after arrival, students will participate in a week-long academic seminar which will be held at the premises of the Arizona State University (ASU). The co-sponsors of the seminars are: ASU Center for Political Thought & Leadership, ASU Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, and Phoenix-based Language of Liberty Institute.
The first track (American Political History) will be lead by famous Professor Donald Critchlow (ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership) and Glenn Cripe (Language of Liberty Institute). Lectures will be mainly focused on American founding principles, the Constitution and further political developments in relation to them. The second track (Free Market Economics) will be lead by Steve Slivinsky (ASU Center for Study of Economic Liberty) and Andy Eyschen (Language of Liberty Institute). The focus of the lectures will be to demonstrate how economic ideas reflect daily activities with special emphasis on entrepreneurship. What is of great importance is that the students will be examined and only the ones who will make 50%+ will get the certificates.
Another great thing about the seminar are guest speakers who already confirmed to deliver lectures. Among them: Justice Clint Bolick (Arizona Supreme Court), Tom Jenney (Arizona's Americans for Prosperity), Timothy Sandefur (Vice-President, Goldwater Institute), and Joe Cobb (economist). We have also invited Arizona's Governor Doug Ducey, and are waiting for his confirmation. Last but not least, it's important to stress that ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership has offered us rooms at Arizona State University, lectures of Professor Donald Critchlow, and internships for selected students. The offer of the Center includes an opportunity for PA students to attend special public policy workshops/debates every Monday (at 6 p.m.) at the Center's premises at ASU. Moreover, our students can enjoy any classes the Center offers during the year, free of charge (as audit).
III. Living in Community
It is important for us to provide students a good experience of living in the great state of Arizona. In order to make it happen we plan to take them to numerous interesting events happening in Phoenix. These are conferences, club meetings, and other public events. Project Arizona is recognized and very welcomed in the freedom circles in Phoenix; that brings us very positive potential. We plan to organize “Meet AZ”, series of informal meetings at our house in Phoenix. This will be talks with Arizona’s key figures (businessmen, journalists, politicians, think-tank leaders and even a supreme court judge), surrounded by home-made food and drinks. This will be a fantastic opportunity for you to get a more insid look into Phoenix elite’s life.
We believe that living in community means to understand problems of community and to serve the ones in need. That’s why we plan to join forces of existing community service providers such as HandsOn (http://www.handsonphoenix.org) and Catholic Charities (https://www.catholiccharitiesaz.org). These organizations are looking for the people who will help them in their activities such as food packing, citrus picking, or spending time with orphans. We would like our students to volunteer a few hours a month for that reason. From our point of view, it is very important to engage our students in such activities thus proving that charity is possible in free society and exposing them to the culture of compassion.
Estimated cost of $6100 per person for participation in Project Arizona exceeds the financial capacity of the vast majority of Polish students and their families. Therefore, we are looking for scholarship providers. Any amount will make a difference, and we are ready to name the scholarship after the sponsor. If you prefer to donate airline miles or property for students’ accommodation – that form of support is also very welcome. Please consider donating today and contact us by e-mail. Your donation can be tax-deductible (in the U.S.) if done through The ATLAS Network. Thank you! To get more information, contact Jacek Spendel via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Magdalena Kurzajczyk (from Wroclaw, Poland) met Jacek (Founder and President of the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation, and Executive Director of the Polish-American Leadership Academy) while involved in liberty events in Poland.