21st-24th September 2022

Think Tank Central: Defending Freedom Conference

Tallinn, Estonia

Hilton Tallinn Park
F. R. Kreutzwaldi 23, 10147 Tallinn, Estonia


The war in Ukraine has once against highlighted the need to defend freedom in Europe and around the world. The need to create a strong pro-freedom movement to defend our values has never been more obvious, as we face growing threats the rules-based world order. As we enter what some call the New Cold War, we must do everything we can to unite around the defence of Freedom.

Join us in Tallinn, Estonia from the 21-24 September as we bring together the largest collection of think tanks, foundations, and liberty loving academics for a conference on building a stronger Freedom Movement.


Leadership Institute

Think Tank Training Day

10:00 - 11:00

First Session

Think Tanks and Lawmakers

  • Rick Tyler

11:00 - 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:15

Second Session

Strategic Communications and Messaging

  • Ron Nehring

12:15 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:45

Third Session

Online Branding

  • Stephen Rowe

14:45 - 15:00

Coffee Break

15:00 - 16:00

Fourth Session


  • Steve Sutton


Welcome Cocktail


Welcome remarks

  • Tomasz Poręba, President of New Direction


Keynote Speech

  • Profesor Ryszard Legutko, Chairman of ECR Group



Understanding the Threat to Freedom

  • Joseph Humire, Center for a Secure Free Society


Panel #1

The Current State of the West

War, Political Division, Economic Turmoil – the West is facing a generational combination of crises. From the fall out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the rising cost of living – the West has found itself stuck for answers. In order to start finding solutions we need to better understand the difficulties we face together.

  • Jospeh Humire, Center for a Secure Feee Society
  • Dániel Horogszegi Szilágyi-Landeck, Head of Brussels Office at the Foundation for a Civic Hungary
  • Dr. Farid Shafiyev, Chairman of the AIR Center
  • Iain Martin, CEO and Publisher of Reaction and columnit at The Times


Coffee Break


Panel #2

The Global Freedom Movement

Around the world, conservative movements are facing similar issues – increasing inflation, the rising cost of living, cultural challenges, and political instability. What can pro-freedom organisations learn from each other, and how should they best coordinate their efforts around the world to face these challenges.

  • Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow at Heritage Foundation
  • Hiroaki “Jay” Aeba,Chair of the Japanese Conservative Union
  • István Kovács, Strategic Director at the Center for Fundamental Rights
  • Réka Szemerkényi, Senior Advisor, Transatlantic Strategy, IRI


Coalition Lunch meeting with Americans for Tax Reform


Breakout session // Room #1

The Middle East after the Abraham Accords

The Abraham Accords paved the way for lasting peace in the Middle East – with the countries of the Gulf and Israel signing historic agreements on economic cooperation and diplomatic relations.

  • Thomas Clowes-Pritchard, Director of Outreach at Pinsker Centre
  • Thomas Kira, Director of Research at Henry Jackson Society
  • Mitchell Belfer, President of the Euro-Gulf Information Centre
  • Ron Nehring, Leadership Institute

Breakout session // Room #2

The Future of the Free Media in Europe

The Free Press is a cornerstone of a free society – yet in many countries it is coming under pressure. What can we do to preserve media pluralism in Europe?

  • Jorge González-Gallarza, Fundación Civismo & Co-host of the Uncommon Decency podcast
  • Boris Kalnoky, Head of the School, Media school, MCC
  • Mario Fantini, Editor-in-Chief of The European Conservative
  • Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, Journalist - The Telegraph


Coffee Break


Panel #3

The Philosophy of Freedom

What does it mean to be free? What cultural underpinnings are required to live in a free society? Is freedom a universal concept? Are liberalism and conservatism competing or complementary ideas? These deep questions are key to finding the answers that the freedom movement needs to grow in Europe and beyond.

  • Radek Fogiel, Vice President of ECR Party
  • Barbara Kolm, Vice President of the Austrian Central Bank and Director of the Austrian Economics Center
  • Jakob Söderbaum, Master of Laws, Author and member of the Advisory Board of the Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation
  • Pieter Cleppe, Founder and Editor at Brussels Report


Panel #4

The Enemies of Freedom

Europe and the West face numerous threats – from Russian aggression in Central and Eastern Europe, to the proxy wars fought by Iran in the Middle East and Beyond, or from the expansion of Chinese influence around the world, to the organisation of authoritarian socialist states in Latin America. In order to defend freedom, we must understand our rivals, and how they work together.

  • Harry Nedelcu, Director of Policy and Business Development at Rasmussen Global
  • James Carafano, Vice President at Heritage Foundation
  • General Riho Terras, Member of the European Parliament
  • Otto Tabuns, Director of Baltic Security Foundation


End of the first day


Departure from the hotel


Family photo and Coktail Reception


Margaret Thatcher Dinner

After Dinner Speech delivered by:

  • Oleksiy Goncherneko - Member of Parliament for Odessa


Panel #5

The war on Woke - Keeping European campuses free

The battle for academic freedom has intensified in recent years, with conservative and liberal thinkers being driven off university campuses. How do we defend the freedom to think freely?

  • Stephen Bartulica, Founder and President of the Center for the Renewal of Culture and associate professor of political philosophy at the Catholic University of Croatia in Zagreb
  • David Engels, Instytut Zachodni in Poznań
  • Rodrigo Ballester, Head of the Centre for European Studies at Mathias Corvinus Collegium
  • Ignasi Grau, Director General at OIEDEL


Coffee break


Breakout session // Room #1

Freedom for Future Generations

Why should the next generation believe in freedom? How can a free society benefit them? And what is the best way to reach out to future generations? Our youth panel explores.

  • Haakon Teig, Editor of the Foniks magazine and Vice Chair of FAKS
  • Arvid Hallén, Program Director at OIKOS
  • Maria Cholewińska, Promyk Institute
  • Magnus Gunnarsson, Centre for Social and Economic Research
  • Tamar Tarsaidze, Students For Liberty

Breakout session // Room #2

Economic Freedom and Choice

Economic freedom is the cornerstone of prosperity in Europe and the western world – and yet it is under threat from high inflation, rising prices, and state intervention. How can we defend economic freedom in Europe?​​​​

  • Elmars Kehris, Executive Director, Latvian Economists Association
  • ​​​Lorenzo Montanari, Vice President International Affairs - Americans for Tax Reform
  • Adam Bartha, Director, Epicenter
  • Neven Vidakovic, Professor of Economics University of Zagreb
  • José Ramón Riera, Economist, Posmodernia




The Big Freedom Debate

Libertarian? Classical Liberal? National Conservative? Christian Democrat? Are these all unique ideologies, or are they all part of the same broader movement? In the Big Freedom Debate we pitch self-identifying members of each of these factions against each other to find out where they agree and disagree.

  • Federico Ottavio Reho, Strategic Coordinator and Senior Research Officer
  • Anna Wellisz, VP for External Affairs of the Edmund Burke Foundation
  • John O’Sullivan, President of Danube Institute and former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher
  • Hannes Gissurarson, Professor of political science at the University of Iceland
  • Jorge González-Gallarza, Fundación Civismo & Co-host of the Uncommon Decency podcast


Coffee Break


Panel #6

Think Tanks in the Fight for Freedom

Think Tanks have an important role to play in the fight to defend freedom. But what can they do to support each other, and how can they better work together?

  • Juan Soto, International Director at Disenso
  • Marko Milanovic Litre, Vice President of New Direction
  • Stefan Aćimović, European Programs Director at Students For Liberty
  • Rick Tyler, Leadership Institute


Panel #7

What Next for Freedom in Europe?

Our panel looks back over the conference and discuss how the freedom movement should move on in the years to come.

  • Réka Szemerkényi, Senior Advisor, Transatlantic Strategy, IRI
  • John O’Sullivan, President of Danube Institute and former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher
  • Barbara Kolm, Vice President of the Austrian Central Bank and Director of the Austrian Economics Center
  • Robert Tyler, Senior Policy Advisor at New Direction


Closing Cocktail