The Convention / New Direction
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Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM)

Free Markets are the Future

1-2 June 2018 - Madrid, Spain

The Convention - Liberal Festival

The Convention


The Convention is a global gathering of free market and libertarian think tanks, organised by New Direction. Set in the Spanish capital of Madrid and hosted at the Instituto Juan de Mariana, the conference will provide a unique opportunity for liberal think tanks to share policy ideas and build an expansive network of likeminded institutions.

Our aim is to establish a world-wide agenda for strengthening and developing free markets, and to inspire a new generation of free market supporters. Faced with the current rise of protectionist and authoritarian politics, we believe that the time is ripe for a new free market strategy; which champions the record of free markets in raising living standards across the world and provides a comprehensive reform agenda for the future.

The Convention

Our challenge

A global opinion study on attitudes towards capitalism, commissioned by the Legatum Institute in 2015, showed that the 2008 financial crash had seriously undermined support for the capitalist system. People agreed that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in capitalist societies. This belief is in direct contradiction with the reality, with the proportion of the world’s population living in absolute poverty falling from 37% in 1990 to less than 10% today. The research also revealed widespread support for protectionist policies.

The public mood detected in this research has been explicitly expressed in the political turmoil of recent years. The rise of politicians offering protectionist and anti-market policies in the USA, Britain and the rest of Europe should alarm everyone who believes in free markets, free trade and a free society.

Similarly, developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa continue to cling to the policies which are halting their development, in a misguided attempt to defend their manufacturing industries and an unwarranted fear of multinational corporations.

Politicians listen to public opinion. There has not been a significant trade deal since NAFTA in 1994 and, extraordinarily in peace-time, the volume of international trade is falling in proportionate terms.

The anti-market movement is organised and global. As well as lobby groups, it brings together most aid organisations, development charities and other NGOs. There is, though, no counterweight making the case, worldwide, for the politics that lift the poor whenever they are applied. Public opinion may be against us, but we have the better story to tell.

The Convention


The Convention will be hosted in Madrid, Europe’s fifth largest city. Madrid provides a fitting location for such a wide-reaching summit, as it serves as a continental bridge to the Americas, and a crossroads between the north, south, east and west of Europe.

The Convention will take place at the new campus of Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM), to gather together the country’s flourishing liberal, free market organisations and to build a hub to network Latin American thinkers with Europe and the developing world.

The UFM, Madrid, Spain and the Spanish language will play a critical role in the future of free market ideas. Spanish is emerging as one of the most important languages in our globalized world and is now one of the main challengers to the predominance of English.

There are approximately 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world, making it the second most widely spoken language, with official language status in twenty-one countries. An additional sixty million people speak Spanish as a second language and it is becoming increasingly popular amongst students learning an additional language. The rapid emergence of Latin American economies means that Spanish language will become ever more important in discussions regarding trade, regulation and the global economy.

To reach the UFM from Madrid you can use the Bus line number 7 from "Alonso Martinez and Line 10 from "Plaza de Castilla" 

The Convention


Help shape a brighter future for all together with prestigious speakers including: Juan Ramón Rallo, Daniel Hannan, Daniel Lacalle and more.

Daniel Hannan MEP

Vice President, New Direction, UK


Jan Zahradil MEP

ACRE President, Czech Republic


Daniel Lacalle PhD & MP

Member of Parliament. Economist, Chief investment Officer of Tressis, Spain


Juan Ramón Rallo PhD

Former director of Instituto Juan de Mariana, Spain


Naweed Khan

Executive Director of New Direction, UK


Esperanza Aguirre

President of Madrid Region 2003-2012, Spain


Tom Palmer

George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty and Executive Vice-President of Atlas Network, Germany


Pablo Casado Blanco MP

President of the Partido Popular, Spain


Isabel Benjumea

Co-Founder and Director of Red Floridablanca, Spain


Pedro Schwartz PhD

“Rafael del Pino” Professor of Economics, Spain, OBE

Jesús Huerta de Soto

Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at King Juan Carlos University of Madrid, Spain


Isabel Díaz Ayuso

PP Spokesperson at Madrid Parliament. Former Deputy Mininster for Justice at the Region of Madrid, Spain


Alejandro Chafuen

Former president and CEO of Atlas Economic Research Foundation


Gabriel Calzada

President of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Spain

Antonio Escohotado

Professor of Philosophy and Sociology, Spain


Miguel Anxo Bastos

Professor of Political Science and Public Administration Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain


Rob Jonkman

President of the ECR group at the Committe of the Regions, Netherlands


José Ramón García Hernández MP

International Secretary of Partido Popular, Spain


Adam Bartha

Director of EPICENTER Network, UK


Alberto Zilio

Director Public Affairs Europe at AT&T, Italy


Alexander Golovín i Sivera

Cofounder of the libertarian and pro-Independence think tank Catalans Lliures, Spain


Almudena Negro

Reporter at La Razón, Spain


Álvaro Pavón

Executive Board Chairman SFL, Spain


Ana Collado Jimenez

Businesswoman and Consultant, Spain


Ángel Fernández PhD

Author, Economist UCM, Spain

Berta González de Vega

Contributor at El Mundo and founder of "No nacemos victimas" Spain


Carlos Gómez Pindado

Public Law and Criminal Justice Lawyer. Spain

Daniel Martínez

President of Partido Libertario P-LIB


Daniel Rodríguez

President El Club de los Viernes Madrid, Spain


Daniel Rodríguez Herrera

Deputy Director Libertad Digital, Spain


Diego Sánchez de la Cruz

CEO Foro Regulación Inteligente, Spain


Diego Gago Bugarín

President of Nuevas Generaciones, Spain


Domingo Soriano

Reporter, Libre Mercado / Libertad Digital, Spain


Francisco Capella

Astrophysics and Artificial Intelligence, Co-Founder of Instituto Juan de Mariana, Spain

Fran Carrillo

CEO "La Fabrica de discursos"


Guillermo Graíño

Professor of Political Theory, UFM, Spain


Ignacio Sánchez

Co-editor Red Floridablanca. Spain


Ignasi Boltó

Filmmaker and entrepreneur. Founder of Spanish Libertarian. Spain


Irune Ariño

Deputy Director, Instituto Juan de Mariana, Spain


Jacobo Pombo García

President of The Global Youth Leadership Forum, Spain


Javier Hurtado Mira

Chairman of DEMYC, Spain


José Augusto Domínguez

Senior Programme Coordinator at ¨Centro de Estudios Superiores OMMA¨. Spain


Juan Carlos Escudero

Coordinator Students For Liberty Madrid, Spain


Juan Luis Vicente Martín

Investor Relations, Spain

Juan Pina

Secretary General of Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad, Spain

José Antonio Peña

Profesor de Sistema Político en la Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain

Maru Pardal

Secretary General of YEPP


Manuel Llamas

Editor in Chief at Libertad Digital, Spain


Mario Noya

Director of "El Medio", Editor at Libertad Digital, Director of LD Libros (esRadio), Spain


Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky

Senior Fellow at Localis, UK


Olympios Raptis

Chief of Staff of Amjad Bashir MEP, Greece


Kate Andrews

News Editor at IEA, UK


León Gómez Rivas PhD

Professor of Modern History and Economics, Spain

Radosław Fogiel

Member of the Masovian Regional Assembly. Poland


Raúl Vilas

Director Libertad Digital, Spain


Ron Nehring

Director The Leadership Institute, National Spokesman for Ted Cruz in '16, US


Roxana Nicula

President of Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad, Spain

Sara Sánchez

National Director of Students for Liberty, Spain

Themistoklis Asthenidis

Deputy Director ACRE, Managing Editor The, Greece


Víctor Santana

Freedom Fighter, Spain


The Convention


New Direction and will gather think tanks from Europe and around the world at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin to hear business leaders, academics, intellectuals, (free-market advocates) and other public figures discuss the future of free market ideas. The conference will also provide those think tanks present with the opportunity to organise an event as well as hold a stall inside the venue, to promote their brand, institution and policies to the conference participants.

Many different activities as well as food and beverage trucks will be available for the benefit of participants during the day. On Friday evening, participants are invited to attend ‘The Liberty Dinner’. The Instituto Juan de Mariana will present an Award to Alejandro Chafuen. Participants will also hear speeches from leading Liberatarians.

Friday, 1 June - Casino de Madrid

21.00 - 21.30

Welcome Reception

Liberal Thinking

21.30 - 24.00

La Cena de la Libertad & Juan De Mariana Award

Alejandro Chafuen

by Intituto Juan de Mariana 

Saturday, 2 June - Universidad Francisco Marroquin

9.30 - 9.45

Antrum Platonicum

Tom Palmer is a true heavyweight of libertarian activism. He has carried the ideas of liberty to some of the most oppressed and dangerous parts of the planet, smuggling books into the Soviet Union and has overseen the translation of the great works of Bastiat and Hayek into regional languages to fight the dogma that state control employs.

The future of liberty and why it matters

By Tom Palmer 

9.45 - 10.45

Antrum Platonicum

Following the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession in the western world, capitalism seemed to have been undermined, discredited and rejected in the eyes of too many voters. Are we seeing a return to liberal values? Or are we fighting a losing fight?

The Future of Liberalism

by New Direction

Moderator: Diego Sánchez de la Cruz 

  • Daniel Hannan MEP 
  • Daniel Lacalle 
  • Gabriel Calzada
  • Juan Ramón Rallo 

10.40 – 11.00


The most polemical issue in recent Spanish history has attracted widespread international attention. With tensions high, how should we proceed from here? Two young Spanish activists have been working tirelessly in Catalonia, and will discuss their opposing views over the future of Spain.

Open Debate

Catalonia: What Next!

by The

Moderator: Ignasi Boltó

  • Alexander Golovín i Sivera
  • Javier Hurtado Mira


11.00 – 11.45


Feminism, as it has grown, has come into conflict with fundamental liberal ideas. Is it possible to reconcile the equality of outcome demanded by modern feminism with a sensible, liberal perspective? Which is desirable for a society, if these who ideologies cannot coexist, and what must change?

Feminism Vs Liberalism

by Floridablanca

Moderator: Ignacio Sánchez 

  • Isabel Benjumea 
  • Guillermo Graiño
  • Berta González de Vega

11.00 – 11.45


Could localism provide a convincing answer to the deficit, both fiscal and democratic, suffered by central government? Does localism make the nation as a whole wealthier, freer, happier and more efficient? We will hear from the experts from the ECR’s Committee of Regions.

Localism; the solution?

by ECR group Committee of Regions

Moderator : Neva Sadikoglu

  • Rob Jonkman
  • Daniel Martínez 
  • Maru Pardal
  • Radoslaw Fogiel

11.00 – 11.45

Populus Libertatis

The political formation of young people is an issue that cuts deep into the fabric of our culture and our society. How do we come to form the opinions we hold? Are we justified in holding these beliefs, or do we hold them due to a misconception, a bias, or a fallacious argument prevalent accross society? The discussion, to be moderated by Dr Javier Hurtado Mira, will centre on how liberals ought to see the world of the political youth.

Formation of young minds: a liberal perspective


Moderator:Javier Hurtado Mira

  • Isabel Díaz Ayuso
  • Ana Collado
  • Diego Gago
  • Jacobo Pombo 

11.00 – 11.45

Forum Libertati

Miguel Bastos and Jesus Huerta de Soto are going into the crucible. Both men are renowned professors and the top of their fields, both political economists belonging to the Austrian school and both will stop at nothing to lay down the truth about socialism and its effects on the life, prosperity and liberty of those living under it.

Wrath of Titans

by Xoan de Lugo

  • Miguel Anxo Bastos 
  • Jesús Huerta de Soto

11.40 - 12.00


In the heart of the convention, join our most talented speakers and debators discuss an issue central to liberal thought since the days of Smith and Ricardo. Daniel Hannan MEP, the "Brexit Architect", Tom Palmer, renowned scholar, author and activist and former President of Madrid Esperanza Aguirre, will make the intellectual and moral case for free trade.

Open Debate

Trade: the ultimate instrument for poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and social justice

by IFT

  • Daniel Hannan MEP 
  • Esperanza Aguirre
  • Tom G. Palmer 

12.00 - 13.00

Antrum Platonicum

Europe stands at the crossroads of two competing futures. Ahead of the 2019 elections, Europe must choose between a future of cooperation of distinct free trading nation states, or a protectionist bloc.

The future of Europe

by New Direction

Moderator: Naweed Khan 

  • Jan Zahardil MEP
  • Daniel Lacalle 
  • Alberto Zilio 

12.55 - 13.15


Two academics and fellow activists will discuss the feat of a lifetime out in the field supporting libertarian organisations. Alejandro Chafuen, former president and CEO of Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and Gabriel Calzada President of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, are staging an open debate.

Open Debate

A Life defending Liberty

By The

  • Alejandro Chafuen 
  • Gabriel Calzada

13.15 – 14.00

Populus Libertatis

As Libertad Digital celebrates their 18-year anniversary in the business of promoting liberal values in the press, they also reflect on the past, present and future successes that will shape the way liberalism evolves over the coming decades.

Past, present and future of the right-leaning media

by Libertad Digital

Moderator: Manuel Llamas

  • Rául Vilas
  •  Daniel Rodríguez Herrera
  • Mario Noya 


13.15 - 14.00


The School of Salamanca is of the most important institutions of our civilisation, which guided us through the age of discovery and the renaissance, and now we turn again to Salamanca to challenge the very ideas which many of us take for granted.

Salamanca as a pillar of free thinking

by Centro Diego de Covarrubias

Moderator: Domingo Soriano

  • Ángel Fernández
  • León Gómez Rivas

13.15 - 14.00


The Leadership institute leads the charge for training a new generation of conservative leaders. Having trained nearly 200,000 leaders and activists since its foundation, the institute will share its insight and expertise on a subject that has plagued conservatives at the ballot box. How do we connect Free Market Ideas to voters’ values?

Mind the Gap: How to Connect Free Market Ideas to Voters’ Values

by Leadership Institute 

  • Ron Nehring

13.15 – 14.00

Forum Libertati

Worldwide, liberal students are standing up for fundamental freedoms in Universities. The difference between opinion and incitement is under assault, and our institutions wilfully censor mainstream beliefs in an attempt to avoid offence. Students for Liberty is leading the charge internationally for campus freedom, and take centre stage in the Convention.

Defending Freedom in Universities

by SFL

Modertor: Alvaro Pavón

  • Irune Ariño 
  • Juan Carlos Escudero
  • Sara Sánchez
  • Juan Luís Vicente Martín 

13.45 -15. 30


The perfugium is a place of refuge. Cicero, a Roman statesman, spoke of how the Roman home is the “common refuge of all”. As Consul, he had no authority there, and each man was to find there a safe haven, free from the unwelcome interference of his State.

  • Food stands
  • Liberal Beers
  • Concerts
  • Open Mic with Daniel Hannan and Daniel Lacalle

14.10 - 14.30


An open debate at the centre of the convention. Daniel Martinez is the leader of Spain's Libertarian party, and will discuss the doctrine as well as the strategy with José Augusto Dominguez, a student of law and master of Economics, belonging to the Austrian School. How can libertarians approach the coming decades?

Open Debate

A Libertarian conversation

By Instituto Juan de Mariana

  • José Augusto Domínguez
  • Daniel Martínez 

14.15 - 15.15

Populus Libertatis

An ominous presence of the last few years of both domestic and international affairs alike, the issue of state-sponsored cyber-attacks is opening a new front for rival nations. The targets have often been our democracies themselves, sowing doubt and discontent. How best we understand these attacks and their motives? How will this frontline develop over the coming years?

From Russia without Love: Understanding Information Warfare and the Attack on Democracies

by Leadership Institute

  • Ron Nehring

14.30 - 14.50


Are we fighting a losing battle, one which will spell the end of freedom? An open debate led by two expert communicators on how we as liberals need to wage the war of ideas in a world which has been shifted to the left.

Open Debate

The end of freedom

By The

  • Almudena Negro 
  • Fran Carrillo 

15.00 - 15.20


Those two Greek experts will give us a brief history of the Greek debt saga as well as practical examples on how protectionism, over-regulation, a bloated public sector and crony capitalism can bring a country to its knees. They will also explain why expectations for a "quiet summer" - or a "clean exit" from its third bailout programme this coming August - may prove to be nothing more nothing less than wishful thinking.

Open Debate

The Greek debt saga

By The

  • Themistoklis Asthenidis
  • Olympios Raptis 

15.30 - 16.15


Epicenter's Adam Bartha and the IEA's Kate Andrews are here at The Convention to finally put to rest some of the subtle misconceptions, insidious fallacies and downright myths that are perpetuated in public discourse.

10 Biggest Myths in Politics & The Economy

By Epicenter 

  • Adam Bartha 
  • Kate Andrews 

15.30 - 16.15


Inequality has been a mainstay of political discussion for many decades. But is inequality really threatening to undermine the integrity of our nations? Does inequality in our societies risk driving us to an economic or political crisis, or are our worries misdirected?

Inequality: the great theat of the XXI century?

By Instituto Juan de Mariana

Moderator: Francisco Capella 

  • Gabriel Calzada 
  • Juan Ramón Rallo 
  • Miguel Anxo Bastos 

15.30 - 16.15

Populus Libertatis

What does it mean to have electoral freedom? Will the approaching upheaval in technology inevitably come at the cost of our democratic freedom, or can we capitalise on these improvements to return more decision making to the people?

The Electoral Freedom

By Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad

Modarator: Roxana Nicula

  • José Antonio Peña 
  • Juan Pina 

15.30 - 16.15

Forum Libertati

Ideas of hostility to technological progress has existed in many forms for hundreds of years. Technological liberalism offers us a pragmatic, optimistic ambition. To embrace new institutions, new technologies, we open ourselves to more creativity and flourishing in both our economy and our political system.

Technological liberalism as a key driver to social prosperity

By El Club de los Viernes

  • Daniel Rodríguez
  • Víctor Santana 

16.30 - 17.30

Antrum Platonicum

How can we prepare ourselves for the unknown challenges of the future? Can we turn to the same guiding principles that have preserved liberal democracy in the past? The Convention looks to marry the disciplines of philosophy, politics and economics to chart out a moral, practicable and prosperous ambition for us all.

Talking with the Future

By The Convention 

Moderator: Carlos Gómez Pindado

  • Antonio Escohotado
  • Esperanza Aguirre
  • Pedro Schwartz

The Convention


Don’t miss the opportunity for your think tank to share a platform with the most important free market advocates in the world. If you are a think tank, company or association, don’t hesitate to organise a event, or have a stand at The Convention and your logo represented all around the venue. This is your chance to promote your institution on a global stage and join an expansive network of like-minded think tanks that will lead the world in free market thought. This sponsorship package will include access to the conference and the full program, including the prestigious ‘Cena de la Libertad’ hosted by Insituto Juan de Mariana.