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February 28, 2002, Grand Rapids, MI - Today the Acton Institute announced the winners of the eleventh annual Lord Acton Essay Competition. Michiel Visser, a doctoral student in legal philosophy at the University of Oxford, was awarded first place and a prize of $2,000 for his essay, "Public Education Versus Liberty: The Pedigree of an Idea."

The Acton Institute's primary mission is to enrich religious leaders' understanding of the free market system. The Lord Acton Essay Competition is one of the Institute's longest-standing and most successful student outreach programs. Students are asked to prepare an essay based on a quotation from Lord Acton, the Institute's namesake, famous for his aphorism, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Second place and $1,000 was awarded to Roberto M. Cid of Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, Florida. Harvard University's Rich Halverson took third place and a prize of $500 for his entry. Honorable mentions were awarded to David Muir of the University of Buckingham and Matthew Davidson Wright of Biola University.

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at