History is not determined. It is created by us with our collective efforts and individual choices. Which path will we take: passivity and defeat or courage and victory?
Russian aggression against Ukraine, skyrocketing energy prices, high inflation, imminent economic and climate crisis, and the pace of technological change make it difficult to look to the future with optimism.
Increasing polarization makes it more and more difficult to find a coherent response to these challenges. Left and right populists are trying to destroy the liberal institutions which enable democracies to avoid internal conflicts.
At the same time, voters gradually reject seemingly simple solutions based on xenophobia and exclusion of those who think differently. Similar processes are also taking place in Poland. A turning point is coming for the future of the entire region, democracy, the rule of law and the model of capitalism.
During the tenth anniversary edition of the Freedom Games, a new generation of experts, NGOs, business, politicians, and citizens will present a proposal for change, a way to tame uncertainty, and a prospect for the future both locally and globally.
Determination and the will to fight, when backed by proper planning and preparation, make it possible to get out of even a seemingly dire situation. This is a lesson learned from the heroic resistance of the Ukrainians.
It is time to confront key geopolitical, economic, environmental, and social challenges together for the sake of ourselves, here and now, but also for the next generations, who have the right to a secure future.
The turning point is here and now. Let’s meet at the Freedom Games.
Over the course of nine years, Freedom Games has grown year by year into an event that is both national and international. The six stages located in the center of EC1 – a restored power plant – have hosted nearly 400 speakers and presenters, including a whole bunch of notable personalities such as Dr. Jane Goodall, Etgar Keret, Martyna Wojciechowska, Rafał Trzaskowski, Timothy Garton Ash, Jolanta Kwasniewska, Mariusz Szczygieł, Johan Norberg, Adam Bodnar, Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, Joanna Ostrowska, Adam Michnik, Robert Makłowicz and the others.
The event consisted of nearly one hundred sessions: panel discussions, roundtables, literary meetings and lectures, which allowed speakers and the audience to exchange views and debate on topics such as climate crisis, equality, business, the economy, the future of Europe and the European Union, security challenges, changes in the energy sector, feminism, culture, or animal rights.
However, the leading theme of this year’s edition was “Green Independence.” In today’s world, green transformation is a synonym for green independence. Our climate and environmental goals are identical to geopolitical ones. Thus, we talked, among other things, about the impact of the war in Ukraine on the green transition and green development as an opportunity for Central and Eastern Europe. We also asked how to counter populist opposition to the green transition, and we reflected on what the war in Ukraine changes in our moral compass.
But first and foremost, Freedom Games is a unique community experience, providing an egalitarian platform for the exchange of ideas and opinions. This year’s event was attended by more than 2,500 male and female participants, who contributed to the forum by enriching the debates with their questions and comments (including from in front of their computer screens).
In addition, a standing ovation belongs to the entire technical team of Last Minute Events, which is responsible for the production of the event under the leadership of the irreplaceable Agnieszka Durmaj. During each day of the forum there are dozens of people working on the backstage – sound engineers, cameramen, online streaming people and many, many others – without whom all this would not have been possible.
We would like to thank to our fantastic photography team: Agnieszka Cytacka photography, Zuza Balcerzak ᴾᴴᴼᵀᴼ and Raspberry Workshop.
We are also grateful to the translators and interpreters, to Marek Lewoc, who took care of the graphic design of the event, and to our good spirits, i.e. volunteers – you really are wonderful!
Finally, we also would like to thank our partners:
Strategic Partner: City of Lodz, Lodz Event Center
Co-organizer: European Liberal Forum
Partners: Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit, Open Society Foundations, Atlas Network, Wildland, RadicalxChange, Google
Supporting partners: Velux, Orange, Incredible Inspirations, Economic Freedom Foundation, Amazon, IKEA, European Climate Foundation, Meta
Publishing partner: Wydawnictwo Literackie
Substantive partners: 4liberty.eu, FOR Foundation (Civil Development Forum), Republikon Institute, Inštitut Visio, Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Institute of Economics and Social Studies, Institute for Politics and Society, MLS – Movimento Liberal Social, Projekt: Polska Foundation, Strategie 2050, European Committee of the Regions, Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation, Bronisław Geremek Center Foundation, Forum for the European Climate Change. Bronisław Geremek, Dialogue Forum, The Paddy Ashdown Forum, Greenpeace Poland, Civic Institute, HEAL Poland, Committee for Defense of Democracy, Protest with an exclamation mark, KIG Social Dialogue Committee, Campaign Against Homophobia, Viva Foundation! Stefan Batory Foundation, Inspiring Girls Poland, Young People’s Parliament of the Republic of Poland, UNICEF Poland, ECFR Roma – European Council on Foreign Relations, “Defensor Iuris” Bar Association #DI, Kontakt Magazine, Lodz Women’s Trail, Free Courts, Political Criticism
Idea Partners: City Library of Lodz, Center for International Relations, Ciekaweliczby.pl, EduKABE Foundation for Creative Solutions, Gazeta Kongresy, Koper Pomaga, KORD, Foundation “Space for Education”, Local Government Movement YES! for Polsk, Tour de Konstytucja PL, Free School
Networking partner: Green Cafe Nero
Media partners: Onet, Gazeta Wyborcza, Radio TOK FM, Ksiazki. Magazine to read, Newsweek Polska, Angora, TOYA TV
Accompanying event: Alt:work
Side event organizers: Inwedo, Hycom, Bluerank, binarapps
See you next year!
We are presenting a video summarizing this year’s edition of the forum. We hope that it will allow us
bring back the amazing atmosphere and “sweeten” the wait for the next edition!
See you next year!
Freedom Games team
Photo by Agnieszka Cytacka Fotografia
This year, among the hundreds of guests one may find: Johan Norberg (a Swedish author, lecturer, and documentary filmmaker), Dr Jane Goodall (World renowned ethologist & conservationist), Tom G. Palmer (Executive vice president for international programs at Atlas Network, senior fellow at the Cato Institute), Daisy Sindelar (Vice President and Editor in Chief of RFE/RL), John Keane (Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and the WZB, Berlin), and currently teaching at Beijing Foreign Studies University), Emily O’Riley (European Ombudsman), Mark Lilla (Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University), Gerald Knaus (Author, the European Stability Initiative’s founding chairman), Nataliya Melnyk (Executive Director of Bendukidze Free Market Center), Marek Józefiak (Media and policy officer of Greenpeace Poland), Aneta Vaine (Vice President of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, LFMI), Janina Ochojska (Polish humanitarian worker, President of the Polish Humanitarian Organization, member of the European Parliament) among many others.
This year, once again, the European dimension will be clearly visible across various sessions. As part of the ELF HUB at Freedom Games 2022, renowned speakers from Poland and abroad will discuss such topics as, for instance, energy as a geopolitical weapon, new EU responses to war refugees, ensuring information offensive in Russia, the rule of law and EU funds, or LGBTQI rights as human rights. We are also pleased to announce that among the speakers and moderators one will also find members of the ELF – Daniel Kaddik (Executive Director), Antonios Nestoras (Head of Policy and Research), and Laurenz van Ginneken (Project Officer) are already among the confirmed guests. Join the forum in person!
In 2022, Freedom Games received Atlas Network Europe Liberty Forum in recognition of the enormous effort of the organizers to bring the freedom-minded people from across the globe together in Poland and promote the values of freedom, democracy, and free market.
#IW22 #FreedomGames #IgrzyskaWolnosci #ZielonaNiepodleglosc #GreenIndependence
Each year, Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award Prize Program, generously sponsored by the Templeton Religion Trust, honors and rewards outstanding projects by our partners across the world through both the flagship Templeton Freedom Award and five Regional Liberty Awards. The latter each offer a prize of up to US$10,000 and recognition on stage at the applicable Regional Liberty Forum. Fundacja Liberté! (Poland), won the 2022 Europe Liberty Award for their annual Freedom Games event.
Since 2014, Fundacja Liberte! has held their two-and-a-half day Freedom Games event to create a space for liberty-minded individuals to gather and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for classical liberalism. Held in Lodz, Poland, the organizers were forced to innovate in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and move the event online. The organizers realized the potential of a hybrid format, and in 2021 Freedom Games were streamed online, in addition to meeting in-person. Working in conjunction with other Atlas Network partners, like-minded organizations, local and global businesses, and the city government has allowed Fundacja Liberte! to reach a global audience, with last year’s event reaching over two million online participants. They look forward to building on their success and learning experience during this year’s Freedom Games event in October.
We are pleased to announce that the 2022 edition of Freedom Games is to be held on October 14-16 in the EC1, Lodz. The leading theme of this year’s forum is to be “Green Independence”.
ABOUT THE FORTHCOMING EDITION
Russia’s attack on Ukraine brought the European sense of relative security to an end. Geopolitics is back in all its brutality, and so the mobilization of the entire free world is needed to help the attacked, independent, European state. Ukraine must survive, because if Kyiv is deprived of the right to selfdetermination, the world order will erode, and the chaos of war will probably spread to more countries and regions.
The war is a wake-up call for the entire free world, which must be ready to defend its freedoms and values in a military way. It is also the last call for a green transformation that will make democratic countries independent from the supply of energy resources from authoritarian countries. Today, green transformation is green independence, our climate and ecological goals are aligned with the geopolitical ones like never before.
The challenges of green transformation and development require consistent and long-term action across political divisions. It is necessary to be mindful of environmental protection – protect forests, fight smog, eliminate inhumane methods of intensive animal farming – and, as a result, stop climate change. These tasks should not be governed by political preferences. Still, the biggest challenge awaits Poland in the field of energy transformation and moving away from coal-based energy – a process that requires extensive investment.
Developed Western societies are privileged over the countries that joined the industrial and capitalist revolution later. The ‘yellow vests’ protests demonstrated that even in wealthy France there is a potential for a radical opposition to the costs of green transformation. Therefore, it is crucial to reconcile the possibility of sustainable development with responsibility for our planet. Lack of growth will lead to a zero-sum game, in which the strongest will win – and the weaker will likely rebel against the rules imposed on them.
Forcing radical lifestyle changes – such as an absolute ban on meat consumption or using cars – will likely backfire and be met with opposition that will actually slow down the fight against climate change instead of accelerating it. For this reason, environmentally friendly actions and those counteracting climate change must obtain a permanent democratic mandate that will not give populists any arguments.
Undoubtedly, carrying out such significant changes without universal public approval will not be effective.
At the same time, capitalism must come to terms with the fact that climate change is real. For the market to continue to flourish, action is required from companies, consumers, and governments. However, one should approach the challenges we face rationally. While the idea of zero growth may perhaps seem acceptable for highly developed societies (such as the Netherlands or Norway), it is difficult to imagine that this plan would be approved by the people of Egypt or Somalia. It also seems unthinkable to accept the idea of stagnation in the Polish society. If green ideas cannot be reconciled with a system that allows people to dream and work for a better future, they will be pushed to the margins of politics by other narratives that offer such an opportunity. Such a state of affairs can only exacerbate the processes that are already leading to catastrophic climate change.
We have a duty to craft such a narrative about fighting climate change that has the potential to win over the majority of the population. The ideology that presents itself as the only right one always causes resistance, and in unfavorable conditions, a social reaction can lead to disastrous consequences. Therefore, we should not be asking whether we need growth, or a free-market and law-abiding capitalist economy that is most effective in combating poverty and making citizens richer. Instead, the question is how to reconcile our economic goals with the fight against the climate crisis. The introduction of clean and available new technologies constitutes a rational path that could eventually lead us out of the crisis.
Environmental demands must be enshrined in the broadly understood modernity and aspirations of Poles and be presented as an opportunity, not just sacrifices. To achieve this goal, we need to appeal to our shared values and interests. Most importantly, we cannot wait for a social change to just happen. By remaining passive we will condemn ourselves to impossible sacrifices and destroy the competitiveness of the Polish economy. Therefore, an action plan must be drawn up – one that shall identify not only expert solutions, but also sociopolitical ones.
How to accelerate the road to green independence? We will try to answer this question during the 2022 Freedom Games.
The online broadcast from the 2022 Freedom Games will be available via the website www.igrzyskawolnosci.pl/ and social media – no fees or registration required.
This year’s edition of Freedom Games will take place in a hybrid format, which is why we have also prepared an offer for people who value personal participation in events, networking, and interaction with the speakers.
The pass provides the participant with:
The pass provides the participant with: