Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RIP, Leonard Liggio

Rest in Peace, Prof. Leonard P. Liggio, Executive Vice President of Academics at Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Washington DC, USA. He passed away October 14, 2014, he was 81.

I met Leonard first time in April 2004 when Atlas granted me an international fellowship for one month to the US, along with Ellen Cain of the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF). First in Chicago for the Atlas Liberty Forum, then at the Atlas office in Fairfax, Virginia then. It was my first exposure to other free market-oriented groups, think tanks and individuals from many parts of the world.

Atlas put this brief memoriam for Leonard today in their website:
Leonard’s career advancing liberty spanned seven decades, during which time he served as the President of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society, and the Institute for Humane Studies, where he later continued to serve as its Distinguished Senior Scholar. He was a professor at George Mason University, a visiting professor at the Universidad Francisco MarroquĂ­n, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and a Trustee of Liberty Fund. 
Alex Chafuen and the late John Blundell once wrote that, if F.A. Hayek was the great architect of the revival of classical liberalism, then Leonard has been its “great builder, building a worldwide movement… one career at a time.”
Then I met Leonard again in 2005 in Phuket, Thailand, when Atlas and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) sponsored a round-table discussion on "The Constitution of Liberty in Asia" where we discussed for one whole day Friedrich Hayek's book, "The Constitution of Liberty". He moderated the discussion, assisted by Colleen Dyble, then Director for Institute Relations of Atlas. I learned a lot from that forum. A few months before we went to Phuket, Atlas mailed to us participants a copy of Hayek's book. I remember that I had a hard time understanding Hayek's deep political philosophy then, but it was good that I re-read some of the chapters to appreciate the great Austrian economist-philosopher's thoughts.

Our group photo below. Two names I cannot remember now, I put as (?). Standing from left: Leonard, (? from Malaysia), Hiroshi (Japan), Minh Nguyen (Vietnam), Charu Chadha (Nepal), Nambiar (Malaysia), (? from India), Kang Chandararot (Cambodia), Yongqin (China), Chung-ho Kim (S. Korea).

Sitting from left: me, Mr. You (Japan), Paata Sheshelidze (Georgia), Cuoung Nguyen (Vietnam), Khalil Ahmad (Pakistan), Colleen Dyble (USA), Trupti Meetah (India), and Ellen Cain (Philippines). Liu Junning (China) was also there but he went outside when this photo was taken.

Yesterday, good friend and former VP for Institute Relations of Atlas, Jo Kwong, posted in fb:

Grateful to have the chance to visit Leonard Liggio today, my long time friend and mentor, to tell him how much he's meant to me all these years. Remembering our younger days.

Today, she posted, Rest in peace, Leonard. Could there be a more gentle, knowledgeable, insightful, thoughtful person? A gentle giant, a gentle teacher. How blessed we are to have known him.

I have met again Leonard in 2008 (Atlanta) and 2009 (LA, California) during the annual Atlas Liberty Forum. Jo Kwong looked for extra funding to allow me to travel to the US and attend those events, and met with other free market leaders from other parts of the world. Thanks once again, Jo. I will never your efforts then.

The Institute for Economic Studies-Europe (IES) produced this youtube clip in 2009, also in recognition  of Leonard's role in contributing to the liberty movement in Europe. They posted in fb with this note,

The movement of Liberty has just lost a giant. R.I.P Leonard Liggio. Here is a little tribute (showing just small part of his huge impact) made in 2009 for the 20 anniversary of IES-Europe which wouldn't exist without his help. (Appearing in the video: Jacque Garello, Jo Kwong, Tom G. Palmer, Douglas B. Rasmussen, Pascal Salin, Fred Smith, Tibor Machan, Randy Barnett, Henri Lepage, Victoria Curzon-Price, Douglas Den Uyl, Emmanuel Martin, Mario Rizzo, Gregory Rehmke, Christine Dunn Henderson, Pierre Garello)

Ozlem Caglar-Yilmaz of the Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) in Turkey posted this photo, with Alejandro "Alex" Chafuen, Atlas President, and  Leonard.

Leonard is known more by North and South American and European classical liberal academics and think tank leaders. He may have not traveled much to Asia, so the Atlas-FNF event in Phuket in 2005 was a great way for us Asians to know him more.

Once again, rest in peace Leonard. It was great to meet you.

See also:
Jo Kwong rocks, February 09, 2010
EFN Asia 2: Hayek in Asia, September 20, 2010

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