Summer Leadership Academy Recap
“So outstanding that I feel indebted for life.”
“It inspired me on so many levels!”
The Common Sense Society organized its second annual Summer Leadership Academy from August 7-11 at the elegant Bercel castle in the Hungarian countryside.
For this year’s highly competitive program, the organizers selected the 20 most talented young leaders from more than 540 Hungarian and international applicants. Participants from Hungary were joined by young leaders from Chile, Belarus, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Germany, and Holland to acquire invaluable theoretical grounding in philosophy, economics, politics, and law, while also taking part in practical workshops and simulations.
Unique International Faculty
Roger Pilon, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, made the case for limited and market friendly government and explained the nature of first principles through the example of the American system of checks and balances.
John O’Sullivan, former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher and former head of Radio Free Europe, editor-at-large at National Review discussed the role of free speech and independent media in healthy liberal democracies.
Juliana Geran Pilon, Director of the Center for Culture and Security at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., delved into the idea of nationalism as a useful but often abused ideology, especially in a region like Central Europe with its war-torn history.
Thierry Baudet, Dutch writer and teacher at the University of Leiden, led a seminar that presented the idea of national sovereignty and the nation state at a time when supranational institutions and international organizations dominate policy making.
Sam Potolicchio, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, taught important rhetorical techniques and communication and debate strategies, drawing on examples of American politicians and presidential campaigns.
András Lánczi, political philosopher and head of the Political Science Institute at Corvinus University, gave a sweeping review of the development of philosophical ideas from Aristotle to Marx wherein students debated the nature of populism in a democratic system.
András Jakab of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences presented European constitutional solutions of checks and balances, which the students could use for their constitution-drafting simulation later in the Academy program.
Péter Kádas, longtime entrepreneur and CEO of Brandvocat, busted myths and clichés about start-ups and entrepreneurs and argued that hierarchical organization models in today’s business climate are unneccesary, suggesting that one only needs a cell phone and internet connection to launch a successful business.
Kinga Petro de Chalendar of the INSEAD Business School introduced students to the idea of Blue Ocean Strategy and argued that an organization should create new demand in an uncontested market space, or a “Blue Ocean,” rather than compete head-to-head with other suppliers in an existing industry.
Rediscovering Western Culture
One of the most well known British philosophers of our time, Roger Scruton, who also served as the honorary dean of the academy, showcased through classic and modern examples of art and architecture the idea that beauty and truth is worth seeking and discovering. Philippe de Chalendar, French conductor of the National Theater of Miskolc, explored the complexity of human nature and interactions through characters in Wagner operas.
Classical music concerts, Bach sonatas, and Kodály piano pieces made every evening a celebration of Western cultural heritage. The high performance standards were guaranteed by László Stachó, a professor of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy and Tamás Zétényi, an outstanding chellist of the Classicus Ensemble.
Location and sponsors
The Summer Leadership Academy was made possible by the support of our sponsors, including Washington, DC-based The Federalist Society and MVM Zrt. as flagship sponsors, MOL Group as a gold level sponsor, and OTP Bank, Porsche Hungaria, and Ernst&Young. The academy was held at the beautifully renovated Bercel castle which once belonged to the distinguished Hungarian aristocrats, the Kállay family. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, participants each received a full scholarship for the entire program as well all expenses – including room, board, and study materials – at no cost to them.