Organization: Fundacion Ecuador Libre
Project Name: Liberal arts for all: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics for indigenous and ethnic minorities of Ecuador
Private Sector Solutions ✓
Empowerment of Individuals ✓
Teaching Freedom ✓
Many senior positions in Ecuador require a graduate degree, but few indigenous and ethnic minorities have access. Students from low-income families who are not admitted to the limited slots in public university rarely access higher education at all, with only 2.7% of the indigenous population obtaining a graduate degree. Most Ecuadoran post-graduate programs are located in Quito and Guayaquil, while Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) programs from other countries are taught in English. This presents a barrier for low-income students or minorities who primarily live in more remote communities.
“Liberal Arts for All” will expand opportunities for indigenous and low-income youth to access high-quality, nonpoliticized education in liberal arts. The Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Universidad de las Américas (UDLA) in Quito, Ecuador, with the support of Fundación Ecuador Libre (FEL) and the PPE program at the University of Pennsylvania, launched the first PPE Diploma in Latin America. The diploma has developed into a one-year master’s degree (M.A.) based on core ethical, economic, and political ideas in the classical liberal tradition combined with practical application through a component called “Ignite in Action”. A scholarship program gives low-income minority students access to a postgraduate program at UDLA, a top-rated private university in Ecuador. What's more, the program - taught primarily online with an intensive series of in-person seminars - will be subtitled into Spanish and Quechua to facilitate easier access for targeted populations.
The project will empower individuals by teaching them the core ethical, economic, and political ideas in the classical liberal tradition. It will also help them live meaningful lives as free and autonomous agents by providing them with the material opportunity, skills, social connections, and mindset to thrive. Earning this master’s degree will increase their ability to achieve goals that are out of reach for many people in their communities
The content of the program teaches students the mindset to thrive in a free society. It covers the moral basis of a market society, the importance of the rule of law, and the ways in which private property and exchange promote social welfare. But it will also teach them how to interpret ideas they disagree with charitably, and how to debate and argue with people they disagree with in a civil manner. This project will help to form the next generation of indigenous and ethnic minority leaders, giving them a voice and platform to act as individuals with their own voice."