My internship with the Institute of Economic Affairs has been the most significant and enlightening experiences of my life so far. In a few short months I have seen what liberalism looks like in action in the political sphere, made friends from all over the world and drastically changed my career trajectory.
Shortly after returning from traveling all over Europe during the Christmas break, we had the pleasure of being taken to the Liberal Club, a highly distinguished club for some of the UKs most important Liberal thinkers and supporters. As I walked around the building admiring the indescribable beauty of the interior I was taken back by the portraits of Winston Churchill, the clubs most famous member. This was when I knew I was in one of the homes of liberalism. Later, myself and the other interns were taken around London’s iconic Soho district where we heard much of the rich history of the area. From Mafia battles to Generals favourite restaurants to the birth place of Rock and Roll, I was reminded that London is beyond rich with history. Back at the office we also had eye opening events, such as the Dr Kristian Niemietz talk on socialism and a Parallax-views interview between Mark Glendening and James Esses, who was terminated from his job, and thrown out of his university degree for simply disagreeing with the mainstream narrative on transgenderism. The lecture about socialism clearly outlined the patterns that are present with socialist movements and their support overseas. He explained how almost all socialist or communist movements begin with praise from all over the world (especially in the west) and only when they begin to fail do those same voices declare that it was not ‘real socialism/communism’. This conversation also led to an in-depth conversation about how these tried and failed policies can be avoided in the future and where this constant lust for government overreach comes from. The discussion between James and Marc showed the real human cost to cancel culture and the true sacrifice some make to stand up for their principles. Afterwards we had to opportunity to join in the conversation and express our views on the matter.
Outside of these incredible events and activities we continued to work as the operations interns. We ran the reception, helped set up for events and greeted guests for the numerous dinner events that took place. These dinners and meetings allowed me to greet important figures in UK politics such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and former prime minister Liz Truss. Its moments like these that I remembered how important the IEA is in the UK political landscape. We also helped set up for interviews, which for myself and Jake McCoull allowed us to meet former treasurer Joe Hocky. Upon hearing our Australian accents, he invited us to join and moments later I found myself sitting at a table with a former treasurer listening to a fascinating conversation on fiscal and monetary policy.
One of my favourite tasks of being an operations intern was processing the applications of the next potential interns and conducting interviews. Only a few short months earlier I was arriving in a new city starting work at this organisation and now I was interviewing the next group. Time had flown by but I could see in myself how much I had grown and developed during my time there.
Sam in London.
Considering all these amazing experiences and the inspiring goal of the IEA, to spread the ideas of free markets and liberalism across the world, I knew that I wanted to continue to be involved with this organisation. I began to tell other employees of this, ask for guidance as to how to get involved, and eventually found myself having an in-depth conversation about free markets, free speech and everything in-between with one of the department heads when she said to me ‘You can see you have caught the bug, give me till august and I can get you a job here’. I was thrilled by the news, but I would not be waiting till august. I was offered a job the next day and I will begin my new life in London as the new Operations Officer starting April 4th.
Just over a year ago I was a mature age university student trying to change career and find my passion. Then I began a life changing scholarship with the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. I saw a whole new world of liberalism and free market thought I never knew existed. I learnt not just about liberal topics, but also about how to improve and present myself. For the first time in my life, I was being flown around the country to attend conferences discussing fascinating real-world topics, and then flown to the other side of the planet to intern at the original free market think tank. Now, I find myself working there, taking my first step towards a career spreading the ideas I am passionate about. None of this would have been possible without Mannkal and my only advice would be, apply for the scholarship, you won’t regret it.