My name is Dane Starbuck and I'm very honored to be able to be here this afternoon to celebrate and pay tribute to Muso's life.
I'm an attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana and serve on the Board of Directors of Liberty Fund, and I know that Allan Russell and Chris Talley will be speaking shortly after me, and share a little bit more about the long connection Liberty Fund has had with UFM because of Muso and Giancarlo.
Through Liberty Fund I've enjoyed, and my wife Beverly, have enjoyed the friendship with Muso and Olga, and Giancarlo, and Isabel, and with so many of you here at UFM. Muso served on the Board of Liberty Fund for more twenty years and over the last five years, more than sixty board meetings, I would sit next to him at board meetings, and it was always an opportunity to learn.
Normally, before meetings or after meetings or if there was a break, Muso would turn to me and ask me if I had read a certain book or a certain article and I would almost always say, "No Muso, I haven't read that", and he would continue on telling me about the article or the book and why the writer had it wrong, but it was a great learning experience and I valued his mentorship greatly.
I think Muso in a lot of ways is like Pierre Goodrich, the founder of Liberty Fund, and that he was always interested in sharing ideas, always teaching. We created the foundation, just recently, called Friends of UFM to raise awareness of UFM and raise funds in the United States in support UFM, and I want to recognize some people who are here: Wayne Leighton. Wayne would you stand?
Wayne is an expert in telecommunications and a visiting professor of economics here at UFM, and he has agreed to serve in the Board of Directors.
Also I want to recognize Fred Franson. Fred would you please stand? Fred is the Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education and a former senior fellow of Liberty Fund.
Fred has kindly offered to help us. Presently, Friends of UFM has not officially approved or received donations and we anticipate that this will be received later this year, so at present time, anyone who is interested in donating to the Friends of UFM can do it through the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, and on your tables there is a pamphlet and also a pledge card that says more about how you can do that, and Fred has been very helpful.
I also want to recognize Lisa Henkel. Lisa would you please stand? Lisa is the Director of Development, almost everyone here knows her, here at UFM, and she and her staff have just been invaluable as we've established this new foundation in the United States. When Giancarlo discussed with me earlier this year about establishing a foundation, we immediately thought that the first initiative that we would do would be to raise money in honor of Muso.
Muso has been an ambassador for UFM through the United States. Whenever we would go to a Philadelphia Society meeting, a Mont Pelerin Society meeting, a Liberty Fund function, anywhere I would be with Muso he would always talk about UFM, and so most Americans who know about UFM, at least it started off with Muso; and so we thought raising money in his honor, and now in his memory because of his passing, would be a fitting thing to do.
We were going to announce this actually next year to coincide with the 40th anniversary of UFM's founding, but with Muso's recent death we thought it would be appropriate to announce it today. The Manuel Ayau Society is being formed and, perhaps an explanation needs to be given for the use of the term society.
By that we mean simply a group of people who have come together for a common cause, maybe the term association would be better. We are all coming together for a common cause, and that is to raise money in memory of Muso, and we want to raise money for two very critical programs here at UFM. The first is the ITA Program, which is the Spanish acronym for promoting academic talent.
Many of you probably know that since 1996 UFM has had over a hundred students who have attended here with on a full scholarship, who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend, and they are here because of the ITA program.
They come from rural areas in Guatemala, intercity areas, many of them do not have the amenities that most of us take for granted and without the scholarship there is no way they could afford to come to UFM.
The average scholarship is about 16,000 dollars a year, and while that may sound like quite a bit, that's less than a third of what it would cost if they were to go to a comparable university in the States, so it's really quite a bargain when you think about what we are able to offer them.
Our goal is to raise forty scholarships in celebrating the 40th anniversary of UFM, and they will be known as the Manuel Ayau Scholars.
Our second initiative is to raise money for visiting professorship and economics program, and I want to mention Lucas Rentschler and Bert Loan, they're here along with Wayne Leighton.
They are visiting professors teaching in the Economics Department, and if you think about it, Muso really initiated this concept over fifty years ago. He brought scholars from all over the world here to Guatemala to speak.
Some of these names are going to be very familiar with you: West German Chancellor Ludwig Earhart, Henri Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, James Buchanan, Vernon Smith, Jeane Kirkpatrick, there are literally dozens if not more than a hundred of scholars and teachers that Muso and the tradition has been continued, have brought to UFM to lecture and we want to raise funds to continue that initiative.
Muso believed it was extremely important to exchange ideas with others who might offer different perspectives but who at their course still had embraced classical liberal ideas.
So these are the two initiatives, and on your tables you have before you the pledge cards, as well as the explanation with more about the ITA Program and the visiting scholars program.
I just want to close by saying this, I think there are several reasons, I've often thought about this, if classical liberal ideas of property rights and rule of law, individual freedom, if they're good ideas why aren't they more universally embraced; and I've often thought, well in our culture, it doesn't matter really what country you're from or what time period you're from, there are going to be those who don't value personal liberty as much as others, and if the state, the government offers them security they will probably take it. And in a sense that's kind of a rational decision on their part, and I don't know if there is much we can do about that except, I think, through teaching we may be able to reach out to a larger population; and I think that's what Muso did so well.
When I hear stories about him it's always about him teaching, telling people why certain ideas are better than others; and he did it in a way that he made complex issues simple to understand.
And the second thing, I think that made Muso so special, was that he cared about people, he knew that ideas wasn't sufficient, and there was one in order to necessarily get them to accept his beliefs and this is a quote that is often used in referring to Muso, he said: "I learned that freedom must triumph in people minds and hearts before it can make any headway into politics", and it's interesting that Muso stressed hearts.
He cared for people, he wanted them to live more abundantly, to live a better life and he cared about his fellow Guatemalans, and as we go forward we hope that you will care by sharing your resources to support the Friends of UFM.
Finally, one last thing, when I think about the great discoveries that have been made in recent decades, I think about things like Thomas Edison and the light bulb; Francis Crick and James Watson and the discovery of the genetic code, and Bill Gates and the operating systems and how much important that was.
These were scientific discoveries that they weren't just working on, there were dozens of people who were working on them and if they didn't happen, they were going to be developed or invented soon if these men didn't do it. My question is: If Muso hadn't founded UFM, would there have been a UFM?, and I think that's a very profound question, would there have been someone else who would have taken the initiative to do what he did.
And I think the same way with Pierre Goodrich. If Pierre Goodrich hadn't established Liberty Fund, would someone else have stood up? Had Leonard Reed not established the Foundation for Economic Education, would someone else have done it? This is just to show you how unique UFM and these other organizations are. So this afternoon I would ask everyone to strongly consider to becoming a charter member of the Friends or the Manuel Ayau Society, and by charter member, we are hoping that within the next two years we can get hundreds of people who will be willing to donate at a level, on the pledge cards you will see, there's four different levels and we hope we can get hundreds of people who will donate at one of those levels.
I believe that next August, 2011 UFM will be celebrating its 40th anniversary and I'm hopeful that we can have most everyone here stand up because they've stepped forward and pledged to be a member of the Manuel Ayau Society. If you have the interest today there is literally a stand over here to my right, to most of you is left, where you can donate, you can make a pledge today and we can process contributions.
Well, I would like to close by just saying that Olga and Giancarlo and everyone here, I look forward to many more visits to Guatemala and continuing the relationships and friendships that Muso began and we look forward to the next time we have the chance of being together. Thank you so much.
Dane Starbuck gives a speech about the life of Manuel F. Ayau and how he was influenced by him through these past years. He announces the creation of the Manuel F. Ayau Society in his honor, which intends to promote the ITA Scholar Program as well as the visiting professorship in economics program. He concludes by analyzing Manuel F. Ayau's magnificent life and work which enabled positive effects in our society.
Manuel F. Ayau Society Dane Starbuck
Plaza de la Libertad Universidad Francisco Marroquín Guatemala, September 12, 2010
A New Media - UFM production. Guatemala, August 2010 Camera: Mario Estrada, Claudia de Obregón, Jorge Samayoa, Sergio Miranda, Mynor de León; digital editing: Mynor de León, Claudia de Obregón, Sergio Miranda, Rebeca Zuñiga; webcast: Carlos Petz, Rebeca Zuñiga; index, transcript and synopsis: Sergio Bustamante; content reviser: Sofía Díaz; publication: Carlos Petz/Daphne Ortiz
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 License Este trabajo ha sido registrado con una licencia Creative Commons 3.0
Dane Starbuck is president of Friends of UFM, Inc., president and CEO of the Wishard Memorial Foundation, Inc. He has worked in the fields of English literature and jurisprudence. He is author of the books The Goodriches: An American Family and To Love An African Violet. Starbuck holds a BA in English from Huntington College, MA in English Literature from Indiana University, MA in English Literature and Language from University of Melbourne, Australia; BA and MA in Jurisprudence from Oxford University, England; and a JD from Georgetown University.