Each of these activities aims at the spreading of classical liberalism which includes among its principles:
- the recognition of inalienable individual rights and the dignity and worth of each individual
- the protection of those rights through the institution of private property, contracts and the rule of law.
- the support of the ideal of voluntarism in human relations, including support of the free market mechanism in economic affairs and free movement of goods, ideas and people.
Applying this last principle, we at IES Europe try to make things change in a bottom-up approach : instead of attempts to convince the political sphere, it is rather in the people, at the level of the civil society, that we want to concentrate our efforts. We are driven by the faith that education and spreading of ideas can change the world, As Lord Keynes reminded us ideas matters, but their spreading takes time, and their becoming applied takes even longer. It takes time to change the minds of people. That is why we, at IES Europe, view our role in the long run.
Moreover, our efforts must not be confined to our western European democracies : we reach out to people from all over the world and especially from former socialist countries. Youngsters in those countries have a strong desire to learn new things, to learn new ways of understanding social interactions and to get rid of the archaic dirigiste modes of thought. Thus besides Canada or The Netherlands for instance, we also welcome people from Kirgizstan, Argentina or Egypt…
A free society is a society of exchange. Value comes from exchange: our “Europe & Liberty” seminars or our summer university are wonderful means for cultural exchange, a unique moment for sharing different experiences and become friends. And of course the summer university, is a marvelous vector of scientific exchange between intellectuals. All those activities enable IES Europe to maintain a strong and active network with students and professors or intellectuals, with special links with Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. After seminars, students still receive readings and can discuss documents via internet. Contacts are thus made on a regular basis. Four years ago, students even decided to create an IES alumni association, LiNK (that stands for LIberal NetworK).