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In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Acton Institute has established the Guardian of Freedom Award to recognize the ongoing contributions of leaders who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to liberty.

Giancarlo Ibárgüen, President of Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City, Guatemala, will receive the first Guardian of Freedom Award in a ceremony at the university’s campus on Nov. 16.

Ibárgüen has contributed to the cause of liberty by leading one of the foremost educational institutions in Latin America, a school that has a mission of teaching the ethical, legal and economic principles essential to a society of free and responsible persons. Acton recognizes the vital importance of his work to educate a new generation of leaders.

Also on Nov. 16, Acton is hosting “The Progress of Freedom” conference on the UFM campus. The conference will consist of two panel discussions which will analyze the last 50 years of freedom and the challenges ahead.

Participants include:

Alejandro A. Chafuen -- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Edward H. Crane -- Cato Institute
Mary Anastasia O’Grady -- Wall Street Journal
Emilio J. Pacheco -- Liberty Fund, Inc.
Roger R. Ream -- Fund for American Studies
Lawrence W. Reed -- Foundation for Economic Education
Jeff Sandefer -- Acton MBA Program in Entrepreneurship
Rev. Robert A. Sirico -- Acton Institute

For more information on the award and the conference, please contact Anielka Münkel at (616) 454-3080 or

About Giancarlo Ibárgüen

Giancarlo Ibárgüen has been President of Universidad Francisco Marroquín since 2003. A university trustee, he has been a member of its board of directors since 1992, serving as secretary general (provost) from 1995 to 2003. His memberships include the Centro de Estudios Económicos Sociales (CEES), the Association of Private Enterprise Education, the Mont Pelerin Society, and the Philadelphia Society. He is a board member at Liberty Fund and currently serves as financial advisor to various industrial, commercial and software companies. He was a member of the board of the Asociación de Gerentes de Guatemala and the editorial board of Gerencia magazine from 1992 to 1994. He was founding president of the grass-roots Asociación por el Poder Local (APOLO) in 1991, and a founding collaborator of the philosophical magazine Intuición. His articles on economics and telecommunications have appeared in Libertas (Argentina), Telecommunications Policy (Great Britain), the website of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) eLibrary. His editorials have been published in Guatemala’s daily Siglo Veintiuno and in various international publications including The Wall Street Journal. Giancarlo holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. He has been married to Isabel Dougherty since 1983 and has three children.

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