Five years ago this week, I flew to Washington D.C. from my home in the United Kingdom to start my internship at the Cato Institute. Fortunately, I was assigned to work with Marian Tupy and Chelsea Follett from HumanProgress.org.
At the time, I was still an undergraduate at the University of Exeter. I had no experience working in a think tank, and even writing a publishable article seemed like a long shot! Yet, the ten weeks I spent interning with HumanProgress was a truly enlightening experience. A year later, I graduated from university, and thankfully, at the ripe young age of 20, Marian took a chance and hired me to work full time as his Research Associate.
I spent two years working for HumanProgress. To say it was an educational crash course would be an understatement! During that time, Marian well and truly became a mentor and a friend. Marian and Chelsea taught me how to write articles, carry myself when appearing in the media, manage a website, and provided me countless opportunities that assisted in my career progression.
Fast forward to today.
Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity:
After months of preparation, it was a pleasure to launch my brand new venture, the ‘Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity’ (IATP), earlier this week.
The IATP is a collaborative project of the two organizations where I now work: the Institute of Economic Affairs (a London-based think tank) and the Vinson Centre at the University of Buckingham. The IATP’s mission is to champion free market solutions to African problems by supporting those on the continent who are best positioned to make a change.
We will work towards a freer continent and combat the threats that may undermine the new African Continental Free Trade Area – an agreement that could lift hundreds of millions of Africans out of poverty. We will do this by working with local groups and African think tanks, making the voices that push for greater freedom more effective and louder. By no means will the IATP be imposing its beliefs on others. Rather, we will work with and serve local actors interested in finding out more about free trade and creating outputs that promote greater economic freedom and, consequently, greater human progress.
This week, we also launched our website. On it, you will find a selection of regularly updated articles, videos, and explainer pieces that are focused on African development. It is also a pleasure to announce that Marian Tupy, editor of HumanProgress.org, sits on the IATP’s advisory council.
Since I first started working for HumanProgress, I was passionate about a career that would allow me to work on African trade and development. At the time, I had what I considered to be a long-shot dream of creating my own initiative.
I want to thank everyone on the HumanProgress team, not only for their support of the IATP but also for their continued assistance, guidance, and mentorship.
And, of course, a huge thank you goes to all the HumanProgress.org readers and donors. If it weren’t for you, I would not have been hired by the Cato Institute, and as such, the IATP would not exist.
Alexander C. R. Hammond