Gala for the Future of Liberty

Independent Institute: A Gala for the Future of Liberty

Independent Institute celebrated its 30th Anniversary and honored champions of freedom, innovation, and enterprise at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco on September 22nd. Bestselling author and political humorist P. J. O’Rourke entertained and informed as master of ceremonies. Three individuals received the prestigious Independent Institute Alexis de Tocqueville Award:

  • Human-rights activist Yeonmi Park, now age 23, who shared her story of escaping from North Korea at age 13 and its harrowing aftermath. Her message was also one of a hopeful future for the estimated 25 million people now living under the oppressive rule of Kim Jong-un.
  • High-tech venture capitalist Timothy C. Draper, recognized for his pivotal role in key Silicon Valley and global enterprises, as well as for his support of educational opportunities. He shared his vision of a future of increased opportunity, fairness, and liberty for all through utilizing the full potential of technologies, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
  • Nobel Prize laureate economist Vernon L. Smith, recognized for his pioneering the field of experimental economics. Professor Smith, age 90, reminded the audience that many of the threats and challenges we currently face are neither new nor insurmountable for the future.

The Independent Institute is a nonprofit, non-partisan, public policy research institute that adheres to the highest standards of independent scholarly inquiry.

Scenes from A Gala for the Future of Liberty:

Photos by Natalie Schrik and Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Event Chairs: Robert W. Alspaugh, former CEO, KPMG International; William H. Draper III, Founder and General Director, Draper Richards, LP.; John Hagel III, Co-Chairman, Center for the Edge, Deloitte & Touche USA; Kenneth G. Hecht, Jr., Of Counsel, Knox Ricksen LLP.; Philip Hudner; Franklin P. Johnson, Jr., General Partner, Asset Management Ventures; Jennifer M. Johnson, President and COO, Franklin Resources, Inc.; Kevin C. Leader, Treasurer, Bechtel Corporation; David J. Teece, Co-Founder, Chairman and Principal Executive Officer, Berkeley Research Group, LLC; and Leigh G. Teece, Co-Founder and Chair, Silicon Valley Institute for Business Innovation.