Ayn Rand Center Europe (ARCE) is a non-profit organisation, established in 2016, and a long-term partner of European Students For Liberty. One of their first flagship programs was the John Galt Schools (JGS), through which they present the benefits of Objectivism to young individuals initially across the Balkan region, and now across the whole of Europe. Currently, the organisation is working on expanding their programs globally. Our coordinators Aleksandra Jelesijević from Serbia and Marko Savić from Slovenia now joined the ARCE team to help them advance this vision.
Before joining ARCE, both Marko and Aleksandra were involved in the organisation of John Galt Schools together with their SFL teams in their countries – Marko as the National Coordinator for Slovenia and main organiser and moderator of the online John Galt School the team hosted, and Aleksandra as a speaker and co-organiser at the in-person JGS in Belgrade, along with the team’s National Coordinator Anastasije Popović.
Aleksandra joined ARCE as the new Project & Event Associate. “After I had an opportunity to be a part of the organising team of some events and festivals in Serbia, I saw that I am good at planning and organising projects like these,” she says. “It is something I enjoy doing and that I want to do more.”
“Marketing is not something that I imagined I would be doing a few years ago, but the winds have brought me to the shores of the ARCE’s marketing team,” comments Marko, who became ARCE’s Marketing Specialist. “I honestly believe that marketing of pro-liberty organisations is essential and relevant more than ever, considering the stigma that surrounds our community in mainstream society. Our job is to establish a counterbalance and portray the movement in a positive light, particularly focusing on giving the answers to the questions such as: Why are we involved in this? What is our purpose – and why should the general public care about anything we do?”
Both Aleksandra and Marko say that their experience with Students For Liberty’s programs is what helped them not only connect on a personal level with ARCE’s mission of advancing Objectivism and liberty, but also to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective contributors to it.
“SFL is where it all began for me. Since joining SFL in March 2020, I have managed to grow both personally and professionally. I have acquired beneficial skills across many different fields, firstly as a part of the Serbian SFL chapter and then as a founder of the Slovenian branch, which helped me to advance my leadership qualities. Thanks to the SFL’s regular conferences and trainings, I have learned from the very best and established valuable connections with like-minded people. It’s precisely because of SFL that I managed to get in touch with Ayn Rand Center Europe and become a partner of their John Galt School program and consequently also a member of their team,” says Marko.
Aleksandra, who is also a fellow in SFL’s Prometheus Fellowship, agrees, and states that: “meeting so many like-minded people, going to SFL top events and being a part of the Fellowship had a huge impact on me. I got the chance to see how things are organised, to learn from amazing people and to be surrounded by a lot of amazing students and alumni. SFL gave me an opportunity to be a part of a community that is inspiring, people that are amazing leaders, and it gave me a place where I can do the same.”
In terms of what they hope to achieve in taking up these new roles, and what the focus of organisations like ARCE, SFL, and the liberal movement in general should be, Aleksandra believes in bottom-up change and the power of young people to make a difference.
“Impact starts with us. Too many times people focus on doing something big, without even being aware of their own capabilities and strengths,” she says. “Start with people around you and try to make an impact in your life, your surroundings. Also, remember, there are so many young people out there that need our guidance and help them, that need liberty. Let’s empower others with liberty and let them create it around them as well!”
As a Marketing Specialist, Marko has very practical advice for all advocates of the liberal ideas: “I believe that the main focus of our organizations should be to address ordinary people in an easy-going and accessible way. I’m talking about people who don’t even know what the terms ‘Objectivism’ or ‘Libertarianism’ mean.”
“I think the biggest mistake of the libertarian movement in the past has been discussing issues on a high academic level without much regard for the average Joe. I firmly believe that most people are libertarians by default – they just don’t know it yet,” he says. “They are not really interested in gaining in-depth knowledge of macroeconomic theories or the workings of the blockchain, which is entirely understandable. They are focused on their lives, their jobs, and their families. What we should strive to achieve is to show them how the policies we are arguing in favour of can help them in the real world and the benefit they will notice in their everyday lives.”
We are looking forward to seeing the change Aleksandra and Marko will be able to bring about through their work in ARCE, as well as their continuing activities with Students For Liberty. In Marko’s words, “It is a great pleasure to be a part of the SFamiLy. Here’s to two and a half years together – and hopefully, many more yet to come.”
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This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.