Last week we held our first sixth form conference of 2012 in Westminster. ISOS, the Independent Seminar on the Open Society, has been running for many years and is extremely popular with sixth formers and teachers.
One teacher I met at our conference told me how her pupils were much more free market than her and were keen to come to all our student events. A number of pupils attended independently and a couple of students travelled all the way from Yorkshire to take part. Hundreds of the free books we provided were snapped up within minutes and we were inundated with requests for work experience and for more events for sixth formers. The enthusiasm of those attending and the quality of the questions asked were truly inspiring - encouraging me that there may be many more libertarians amongst the next generation.
As always, the speeches at ISOS were excellent and can be viewed on our YouTube page [We didn't get the debate at the end of the day between Jamie Whyte and the nef's Nic Marks, but I'm going to embed rest of the videos on the blog later today - ed.]. Dr Tim Evans’s talk on ‘The Morality of Markets’ was the highlight of the day for me and sparked challenging discussions on the myth of ‘market failure’ and controversial topics such as whether the banks should have been bailed out.
I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment of the day. In our feedback forms, 100% of the attendees rated the day as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ (with the majority voting excellent!). The comments on the forms were all very encouraging with pupils writing “Absolutely great, outstanding and highly intellectual seminar. Thank you!” and “Excellent conference. Really widened the way I thought about the topics discussed.” And that’s just a glimpse. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and served as a great reminder to us of why we choose to focus so much of our energy on student work.
Plans are already underway for our next ISOS conference in November 2012 and details will be out soon. If you are a sixth-former who is interested in attending, please do get in contact. And if you are a teacher or know of a teacher who would benefit from hearing more about our student conferences, please do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d really like to increase the frequency of these events, but that is only possible with the support of people who share our vision of educating the next generation on the importance of free markets and a free society. If you would like to donate towards our work in this area, we would of course be delighted to hear from you!