October 3, 2017 Reading Time: 2 minutes

Last week, I attended celebratory events at The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C. The foundation is 50 years old and throughout its history has focused solely on engaging students in a spirited examination of the values of a free society. In recent years, TFAS has grown by establishing several key partnerships. As an educator, I am particularly fond of its collaboration with the Foundation for Teaching Economics, a California-based organization conducting programs that introduce high school students to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues. The collaboration between TFAS and FTE started in 2013.

As the director of AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative, I looked to FTE for inspiration on its long-standing training program for teachers of economics. Our program’s adherence to the Voluntary National Standards in Economics is totally in sync with its approach to the curriculum. We have a lot of other synergies between our organizations, and we can contribute to each other’s success and share war stories. I was excited to meet the leadership of TFAS and FTE at the event.

The celebration consisted of a luncheon with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a meeting with TFAS alumni at the White House, and a 50th anniversary gala, where the 2017 Walter Judd Freedom Award was given to Garry Kasparov. Dr. Walter H. Judd was one of the cofounders of TFAS in 1967. The award in his honor recognizes individuals who have advanced the cause of freedom in the United States and abroad, are devoted to preserving and expanding freedom, are influential in world and national affairs, and are outspoken voices against tyranny and oppression, while embodying the characteristics of self-sacrifice and patriotism. Mr. Kasparov’s award-acceptance speech called for continuing dedication to freedom and human rights throughout the world.

I was privileged to participate in the festivities and look forward to collaborative opportunities that might come out of this trip.


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Natalia Smirnova, PhD

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