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It is my pleasure to introduce the next CEO of Students For Liberty: (soon to be Dr.) Wolf von Laer.

IMG_0104_cropped.jpgWolf joined Students For Liberty in 2011 as a member of the founding European Students For Liberty Executive Board. The following year, he became chairman of that Executive Board and launched several important projects that continue today including the European Students For Liberty Local Coordinator Program. After passing the baton off to the next chairperson, Wolf began his D. Phil. at King’s College London in political economy. For the past three years, while Wolf has concentrated on his studies and received notable recognition in his field, he has remained an active volunteer and advocate for SFL. Most recently, he joined SFL’s staff as Professional Development Director.

Wolf brings together all of the qualities we were looking for in the next CEO. Wolf’s extensive history with SFL coupled with his experience outside of the organization will provide him with a unique perspective for growing the organization. He balances one foot in the world of academia and one in the world of action. He has a global background, having lived in the US, Turkey, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, UK, and Germany, but also possesses the appreciation for and understanding of US issues critical to work in a US-based organization. Most importantly, Wolf is one of the most capable and competent individuals out there, able to both set ambitious goals and deliver upon them.

As detailed in our 2015-2016 Annual Report, SFL just experienced our most successful year to date growing to 1,916 student groups, training 1,574 leaders, running 98 conferences for 19,834 attendees, and garnering 1,077 media hits. This position is not an honorific. It imposes a heavy burden upon Wolf to support the further growth of the student movement for liberty. Under Wolf’s leadership, though, I have great confidence that SFL will continue to grow and will have an even bigger impact in the future.

Wolf will assume the position of CEO in the coming months as we complete the transfer of my responsibilities to him and he moves to the United States. In the meantime though, please join me in welcoming Wolf to his new role and thank him for taking on this responsibility.

2015-2016 was both the most challenging and most inspiring year for Students For Liberty yet. In many ways, the tides of tyranny rose around the globe. At the same time, though, the student movement for liberty did not stand idly by. Over the course of the past year, SFL’s students and alumni took on a corrupt government in Brazil, personally provided relief for those in need from tragedies like the earthquake in Ecuador, and introduced more young people to the principles of economic, social, and intellectual freedom than ever before.

This is why I’m pleased to share with you SFL’s 2015-2016 Annual Report, which details how this past year was the biggest and most meaningful year of Students For Liberty to date. By the numbers, SFL continued to grow at an incredible pace:

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That’s an 8% growth in student groups, 129% growth in leaders trained, 92% growth in conferences run, 120% growth in conference attendees, and 52% growth in media attention! These are incredible numbers. As I write in my final Letter from the President, the size and scope of Students For Liberty today is beyond anything we ever imagined when we started SFL almost a decade ago.

New Call-to-actionBeyond the numbers, every data point represents the story of a student who is learning about and standing up for liberty thanks to SFL. Take James Michel in Haiti for instance, whose story you can read about on page 14.

Jean Charles “James” Michel first joined SFL as a Charter Teams member in fall 2015 and, after completing Liberty 101, he quickly set to work recruiting for SFL Haiti. Facing obstacles like poor internet access and a hostile university administration, James met each challenge with grace and creativity. When the group found a restaurant willing to let them meet – but only on the condition that each member buy something – James bought juice for everyone present, knowing that some students couldn’t afford the cost. Today, the group has grown from four students to 20, has an active presence on Twitter, and even sent a few members to this year’s ISFLC.

This is the kind of dedication to that one can expect from all SFL leaders. This is the way the student movement for liberty is growing. This is how the student movement for liberty changes the world. This is the kind of story each number in the Annual Report represents.

As far as SFL and the student movement for liberty has come, there is much more for us to do. In the meantime, though, I want to thank you for being part of and supporting Students For Liberty. I hope you enjoy reading through the rest of the report and take pride in the growth of SFL and student movement for liberty.

2015-2016 was SFL’s best year yet. Together, we have high hopes for 2016-2017 being even greater. Here’s to a freer future!

Ten years ago, I founded the Penn Libertarians at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. How that first venture in student organizing spiraled into the first Students For Liberty Conference and then Students For Liberty the organization is something I have recounted many times. What bears repeating is how much I am in awe at what all of that has become today. Students For Liberty is not just an organization; it is a movement that is larger and more influential than anything I imagined was possible a decade ago. The SFL Quarterly released last week illustrates just how successful and strong SFL has become, with top-notch leadership, a strong base of support, and a sound vision to guide its future. 

AlexanderFlippedSo, I am writing today with what was a difficult but I believe will prove to be an exciting decision: I will be stepping down as president of Students For Liberty to take on a new position as co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism. I am looking forward to working alongside the other co-CEO, Doug Rauch, as well as the rest of the Conscious Capitalism staff, board, and community to build a robust organization and movement that promotes conscious business and the transformative power of capitalism to the world.

My role is changing, but I am not departing. I will continue to do all I can for SFL. I will begin working part-time as co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism on April 1st, but will continue to serve as SFL’s president through August at the latest to make this transition as smooth as possible while SFL’s Board of Directors searches for a new CEO. The opening is available here, and I encourage you to share the position with anyone that you think would be qualified to take the reins and help continue to the impressive growth of SFL for the next ten years. After that, I will continue to support SFL as a donor, Alumni For Liberty member, and member of the Board of Directors. 

This was a difficult decision for me. I honestly believe that SFL is stronger and better positioned today than ever before. However, that is also why I am more comfortable stepping down as CEO than ever before. SFL’s mission and activities are critical to the future of liberty, and SFL’s potential as an organization is tremendous. That I also think Conscious Capitalism’s mission is critical to creating a freer and more prosperous future and have accepted the humbling opportunity to assist in fulfilling this potential does not diminish that in any way. I will always be committed to SFL and do all I can to support the organization, the movement, and every individual in this network.

I want to thank everyone for being apart of this incredible community. Over the past ten years, I have seen the student movement for liberty go from the punch line of jokes to an international movement that is changing the world. I am immensely excited to see what the next ten years brings for the student movement for liberty and the cause of liberty itself.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 2.53.03 PMHappy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s been a big month for Students For Liberty. Last weekend, our European network hosted their largest conference to date in Prague, with 900+ in attendance. This success came on the heels of another strong International Students For Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, DC just three weeks ago, with 1,500+ in attendance.

The evidence is clear: more students are being turned on to the ideas of liberty than ever before. This is the central theme of SFL’s new Quarterly Report, Faces of the Liberty Vote.

Click here to read the report, including a full-length feature on ISFLC and SFL’s growth in Europe.

mccobsOn behalf of Students For Liberty (SFL), I’d like to thank you for registering to the 9th International Students For Liberty Conference (ISFLC16). As Co-Founder and President of SFL, I cannot express how excited I am for another weekend with the best and brightest student activists and thought leaders the movement has to offer.

Last year, we started a new ISFLC tradition by picking a theme for the conference. The theme for ISFLC16 is, “The Liberty Vote.”

Here in the United States, we are in the middle of presidential primary season — and what a dark election it has been so far. Among the many candidates in the race are a self-described socialist on the left and arguably a fascist on the right. Americans are clearly craving change, but the new candidates they are turning to share the same old statist philosophy that has brought us to this point.

There is another way. It’s called liberty.

That’s what ISFLC16 is ultimately about. The conference is a special time and place every year where the liberty movement can network, debate, and display to the world the best ideas we have to offer. While many of you may not be voting in the coming weeks out of principle, our generation will ultimately decide the world’s political fate. For that reason, we are the Liberty Vote.

ISFLC-2015-hires-1977.jpgFor the past 10 months, SFL’s staff has been hard at work designing a program with our partner organizations centered around these ideas of voting and the future of freedom. To that end, we’ve got plenty of sessions for you to look forward to, such as Reason’s Friday night panel with George Will on the future of libertarianism and Young Americans for Liberty’s Saturday afternoon debate between Jack Hunter and Jeffrey Tucker on ideas versus politics. Check out the full schedule of events in our official program booklet.

Also, we’ll be asking you to cast a vote at the conference in our annual Students For Liberty Straw Poll. With so few presidential candidates espousing a pro-liberty message, it will be interesting to see which candidate libertarians think is the best… or the least bad. Vote online in our primary poll on Friday and our general poll on Sunday. We’ll be announcing the winners at the closing session.

We encourage you to share your ISFLC16 story on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #ISFLC16, and SFL just might repost what you have to say!

Thanks again for registering for ISFLC16. Prepare yourself for a weekend you won’t soon forget. Registration opens at 2 PM tomorrow, and the mainstage session starts at 6 PM.