For Immediate release
March 14, 2005

Contact: Elena Ziebarth

Tel: 703-934-6969

Atlas’s Templeton Freedom Prizes Recognize Work by Institutes in Asian Countries and Former Soviet States

The 2005 Templeton Freedom Prizes for Excellence in Promoting Liberty at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation celebrates the work and dedication of non-profit organizations to the free society. This year’s first place winners dealt with freedom of information and government transparency, grassroots efforts to deregulate licensing procedures for small business owners, affordable irrigation technology for poor farmers, and the relationship between liberty, morality and economics.

This Prize program is organized into four separate categories: Ethics & Values, Free Market Solutions to Poverty, Social Entrepreneurship and Student Outreach. The winning institutes in each category receive $10,000 prizes; the runners-up receive $5,000.

Bulgaria’s Access to Information Programme received first place for the Templeton Freedom Prize for Ethics & Values for their efforts to make the Bulgarian government more transparent and accountable for their actions by providing research, opinions, and representation in court cases. The second place prize went to the Filipino Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, which protects and strengthens the freedom of the press in the Philippines while promoting journalistic integrity and excellence.

India’s Centre for Civil Society won first place in the Free Market Solutions to Poverty for their Law, Liberty and Livelihood Campaign, which is inspired by Hernando de Soto’s book, The Other Path. The ‘L3’Campaign focuses on reducing and simplifying the permitting process for small shop owners, street vendors and cycle rickshaw pullers to give them a fighting chance at prosperity. The close runner-up was the Serbian-Montenegrin Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, whose “Removing the Barriers to Doing Business in Montenegro” program hopes to result in a business environment that will attract both domestic and foreign investors and create more, sustainable jobs in the private sector.

The Templeton Freedom Prize for Social Entrepreneurship was awarded to International Development Enterprises India for their successful program to increase the income-generating potential of poor, rural Indian families by providing them with low-cost, effective irrigation systems. IDEI develops the irrigation technology and then in partnership with private sector manufacturers and retailers sells the equipment to smallholder farmers. New Zealand’s Maxim Institute received second place for their advocacy campaign against a Civil Union Bill, which increases the role of government regulation in the intimate relationships of private citizens.

The Toward a Free and Virtuous Society conferences by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty received the Templeton Freedom Prize for Student Outreach. This program brings together seminarians, theologians and academics from all over the world to learn about the relationship between economics, liberty, and morality, which they then apply to topics including homelessness, welfare reform, gender and race equality and environmentalism. The New Economics School of Georgia received the second place prize for their “Free Market Economic Education for Everyone” program, which is based on the conviction that the free society will lead to peace, prosperity and social harmony.

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (www.atlasUSA.org) launched the Templeton Freedom Awards Program in September 2003 with a four-year pledge from the John Templeton Foundation to reward scores of public policy institutes with more than $1,250,000 in prizes and grants.

Since 1981, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation has been the leading international organization for supporting independent think tanks advancing freedom. Atlas works with more than 200 think tanks from 67 countries. Over half of these organizations were assisted in their formative years by Atlas through financial support or advisory services.

For more information, please contact Elena Ziebarth at 703-934-6969.

English Version • Last Update: 15.03.2005• © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP