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Admir Čavalić: Winning Battles against the Federal Government

Students For Liberty (SFL) alumnus, Bosnian economic analyst, lecturer, and public intellectual running for a member of parliament in his country Admir Čavalić has come a long way in making his world a freer place. As a member of the City Council of Tuzla and the founder of the Association “Multi,” the pioneer and largest libertarian non-profit organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Admir is constantly working on shifting politics toward more liberty in the Balkans.

Growing up in Tuzla, the third-largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a socialist heritage, Admir always knew that the state-run economy could never lead to prosperity. As a student, Admir often went to a local library to read Austrian economists to learn more about the free market and government intervention. What surprised him the most was that he was the only person he knew interested in these books.

That was when Admir realized a pressing need for a change in his home country. Thus, he and a couple of graduate students of the University of Tuzla established Multi, the first libertarian association in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The founders aimed to improve the economic and political freedoms of their fellow citizens through education on the meaning of liberty and the popularization of key values of classical liberalism.

Since 2017, Multi has successfully carried out more than 20 major projects, including such pro-liberty events as OPEN Festival and Catalaxy seminars attended by over 15,000 participants. To further educate young people on the ideas of liberty, Multi distributed more than 7,000 libertarian books throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and made a documentary film about the relationship between the individual and the state, titled “Economy.”

In March 2020, the Multi team stepped up to the next level and launched their Liberal Intervention project to counterbalance the pending government expansion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the association was able to block several proposed reforms aimed at increasing taxes and national borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To prevent the federal government from raising taxes on independent contractors, Multi held multiple virtual panel discussions and appeared in prominent news outlets to stress the negative impact of the suggested policy amid a pandemic.

When the government determined to take out a loan from the IMF, Multi wrote a joint letter with several other Bosnia and Herzegovina economists stating the potential harm from borrowing. The letter quickly gained public interest and became part of the national debate. Thanks partly to Multi’s media campaign against the loan, the federal government chose another course, thus saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

Looking back on his achievements, Admir always expresses sincere gratitude for his time at SFL as a Local Coordinator. “SFL has helped me develop professionally: you develop the liberty movement, and the liberty moment develops you,” he says. Admir believes that all the SFL trainings he had participated in taught him vital skills for a politician and lecturer, such as public speaking, writing reports, getting new funds, and organizing events.

Admir calls himself a pioneer libertarian in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “People who listened to my lectures ten years ago are now ministers’ speech writers, lawyers, public figures affecting politics in my home country,” continues Admir. “I also have an opportunity to influence politics on a daily basis. As a public intellectual, I appear on local and national television, publish pro-liberty books and articles, and give open lectures. Besides that, as a member of the City Council of Tuzla, I can directly affect politics by changing laws.”

Admir also believes that SFL gave him a broader perspective on the liberty movement. “Thanks to that,” he says, “I became more interested in promoting the ideas of liberty outside of my country. I even traveled to Washington, D.C., to lecture Brazilian students on organizing peaceful protests. I see myself as a small global figure that makes things better worldwide.”

This fall, Admir is running for a member of parliament in his home country. If elected, he will be the first libertarian in the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Admir would like to push for less taxation, more deregulation and privatization, less externalization, and more digital transformation.

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