This past weekend (January 24-27, 2013) marked the second annual gathering of the Antigua Forum. Over 30 reformers from around the world gathered in Antigua, Guatemala to focus on one key theme: how to make market-liberal reform a reality in their countries.
The participants at this year’s event included experienced reformers (e.g., former high-ranking officials), current reformers (those who are “in the trenches”), innovators working outside of the traditional political process (e.g., private education in developing countries), current and former political advisers, and other experts.
The format avoided the traditional long-speech-followed-by-Q&A approach. Instead, presentations were short and focused on how to get the job done. Those with a current reform project had to “pitch” their project to other participants in three minutes or less. Then, everyone self-organized into small groups to analyze the reform challenges, dig deep and come up with workable solutions.
Those of us who believe in spontaneous order should not be surprised when it comes about, and when good things result. Yet anyone who has ever organized a meeting of any size knows that actually producing something good — something truly valuable — is rare.
The Antigua Forum 2013 succeeded in putting together a fantastic group of people with some pretty good rules for the meeting. And the result was beautiful… real learning about how to make reform happen.