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Europe

Jorge Miguel Teixeira: Improving everyday life through liberty  

Jorge Miguel Teixeira first became interested in Portuguese politics as a teenager. He completed his BA in philosophy in 2015, and after studying authors such as Hayek and Nozick, became more interested in classical liberalism.

“I heard about Students For Liberty but wasn’t sure if it was for me, because I’m not that revolutionary. But the regional coordinator convinced me to join. He told me the network you can build and the tools you can get from being involved in SFL surpass any political involvement.” 

Time proved him right. 

“My peers at SFL are doing great things and have incredible futures ahead. I know more people in Portugal need to know them and be inspired by them.”

“LibertyCon in Europe changed my political life. I met so many impressive people and it changed how I saw SFL and how I saw myself. After my first retreat, I had an urgent feeling that I wanted to do better — for myself and for the movement in Portugal. 

“SFL has been in Portugal since 2013 —  quite early in SFL history — but when I joined it was losing steam because some of the older coordinators were leaving. I was moving on from being a student but felt strongly that more people in Portugal needed to know about SFL.

“In 2017, I ran for mayor of my town of Barreiro simply because we needed someone to run in my town which was dominated by the Communist Party. 

“Because my party was so small in Barreiro, we really didn’t have a lot to lose and people started pushing me to be the candidate, even though I was only 23. I decided to bet on my age as an advantage and tried to make something of the election.”

“I didn’t present a completely radically different vision of the city, but a set of core proposals that made sense for the people. My discourse was quite simple, but people were receptive — It’s not just about articulating abstract principles. I did not win, but people heard our message and ideas.”

“I became national coordinator in 2019. My goal was simple. I wanted to recruit people who are interested in liberty and had the potential to engage internationally. Then, they would naturally be motivated by realizing this is not just some students’ organization. Your perspective always changes when you see how big SFL is and the kind of resources you can access.” 

“Also in 2019, I was approached to work in policy for an HIV patients’ organization which was lobbying for the decriminalization of marijuana. I conducted research to solidify positions and help the organization engage in dialogue with decision-makers and stakeholders. It was a fun experience in tailoring a message to whoever is hearing you. When you want to reach out to students, you don’t want to start with Hayek, you want to start with something that has to do with their daily lives. It’s the same thing when you’re doing public affairs for charities or businesses.”

“SFL was a massive confidence booster for me and so many others. A lot of people were very shy in the beginning, quite insecure about themselves, and now they are completely different people. SFL absolutely makes people better prepared for anything they want to do in life.”

“I left that position, and my role as national coordinator, in 2020 to study at Oxford University in England. I’ve just completed my MSc in politics and have returned to Portugal.”

“It’s exciting to think that we haven’t really seen the full effect of this network yet. SFL is 10 years old, and you’ll only see the true effects of this organization in 20 or 30 years when we’re well-established in our careers and have younger generations joining.”

“The biggest advantage of SFL is that it engages people early on, and the connections that you make when you are young are usually the most important for the rest of your life. These are the friends that tend to stay with you, especially when you have a common goal like the advancement of liberty. All of these people will move on to successful professional, academic, and political careers. You want to be able to call someone anywhere in the world and ask ‘how are things going on the liberty front there, how can I help you?’ This is the kind of network that SFL is building.”

Jorge Miguel Teixeira

Barreiro, Portugal

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