The wife of ISIL president Ken Schoolland, Li Zhao Schoolland, is a native of mainland China, and has been working with a network of free-market advocates within the country. In July, 2012, she brought many of them together at the ISIL Asia Regional Conference/Austrian Economics Summit near Shanghai. It was organized as a low-key private meeting to avoid trouble with the government.
The event was quite a success, with 130 participants from 26 countries. Li assembled an impressive speaker lineup, including several members of the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society:
Doug Bandow (USA), Jeff Crawford (USA) Andy Eyschen (Malaysia), Xingyuan Feng (China), Fred Foldvary (USA), Rainer Heufers (Germany), Zhuhai Jiu (China), Casey Lartigue (Korea), Cris Lingle (Guatemala), Christian Michel (UK), Barun Mitra (India), Ken Schoolland (USA), Kenli Schoolland (UK), Josef Sima (Czech Republic), Robert Sirico (USA), Mark & Jo Ann Skousen (USA), Tudor Smyrna (Romania), Lobo Tiggre (USA), David Veksler (USA), and Hiroshi Yoshida (Japan).
A major part of ISIL’s “Johnny Appleseed” strategy over the years has been the awarding of conference scholarships to students and young activists, who gain tremendously from the knowledge off speakers and the networking opportunities. Inspired by the ISIL conference experience, they have often gone home and started or expanded organizations and publishing projects.
Li selected 30 recipients of full or partial scholarships from among her Chinese contacts, and ISIL members funded about 15 international scholarships from Armenia, Australia, Hong Kong, India, USA, and Vietnam. We would like to give special thanks for the generous scholarship funding provided by Will & Rita Olschewski, the Charles G. Koch Foundation, Jeff Crawford, Ron Manners, George & Geri Sherman, Neil Bates, Bud Bates, and Sue Kleiman.