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École de la Liberté

Free Exchange in Knowledge:

A Revolution in Education

A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation, in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.


The mission of École de la liberté is to spread classical liberal ideas in the French-speaking world through education and research, with an on-line campus based on interactive MOOC and user-friendly accessible classical liberal resources such as e-books, subtitled videos, audio-books, and articles.


The vision of École de la liberté is that of a prosperous society of free and responsible individuals and communities.


The École de la liberté (“School of Liberty”) project was born from a reflection of academics and school teachers on new challenges facing education in the digital era. This reflection led to a clear conclusion: the current educational offer in francophone countries is totally inadequate to meet the demand of pupils, students and workers wishing to train throughout their lives.

Our centralized and bureaucratic education systems do not meet the needs of families and students whilst notURSS motivating teachers whose career prospects are not dependent on the quality of their teaching. The monopoly of the state is in total contradiction with the development of new technologies that each day increases citizens’ effective freedom of choice. The dominating, narrow educational vision and its pedagogical techniques, prevents an effective transmission of knowledge through intellectual curiosity and the stimulation of the taste for learning.

The French government education system for example has largely missed the digital turn although it is a revolution in transmitting knowledge. We need to get rid of the “vertical vision” of teaching, that of a “knower” transmitting a set of concepts corresponding to a “program” decided at a central level. The École de la liberté proposes instead to place students and their needs at the heart of the education process, while promoting horizontal transmission of knowledge via virtual collaborative tools. Finally, the politicization of teachings (related to the centralization of the education system) leads to ignore certain intellectual traditions very relevant to understanding the world, whilst spreading simplistic schemes, locking up French-speaking students in Keynesianism, structuralism and neo-Marxism. In this context, the French Thinkers of Liberty are at best heavily criticized, at worst the teaching of its greatest figures such as Turgot, Jean-Baptiste Say or Frédéric Bastiat are simply silenced. Moreover, the revolution brought about in economic science in the twentieth century (Chicago School and Austrian School) and its contribution to the social sciences is often overlooked, whilst it is basic knowledge taught in many countries of the world. Francophone pupils and students are thus faced with a biased education, neglecting the essential contributions of these frames of reference, and preventing them from understanding the history and complexity of the world in which we live. For these reasons, the École de la Liberté chose modernity with the implementation of MOOC (online courses) and a search engine to allow each Francophone pupil or student her first access to the teachings of authors who place the individual and her aspirations at the heart of their analysis. Used by the largest American Universities, this type of learning media focusing on personal work and interaction among students is still rare in France, and does not exist for ideas of liberty. The École de la liberté is here to fill the gap.



damien-theillier-presidentOur president, Damien Theillier, 45, is a professor of philosophy at the famous Paris high schools Stanislas and Franklin and has a teaching experience of more than 20 years. Author of several books and handbooks on the tradition of liberty and Bastiat, he is a regular speaker at events and has appeared on CNN, La Tribune, Contrepoints and other news magazine in France. Damien founded the Coppet Institute in 2010 in Paris, a French think tank dedicated to the rediscovery and promotion of French classical liberal tradition, which has republished tons of old classical liberal texts since 2010.

Kevin BrookesOur managing director, Guillaume Thomas, 26, accompanied Damien and Coppet Institute, starting with a training with “Bourse Tocqueville” in the US, in order to learn about the methods, strategy and management of a think tank and find some inspiration to change the climate of ideas – and thus policies – back in France. Kevin is a PhD candidate in political science, working on the sociology of ideas at the University of Grenoble in France where he lectures. He appears on major French media such as Le Figaro, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur or Europe 1 to speak about classical liberalism and think tanks in France and in the United States.

ferghane-azihariFerghane Azihari, 22, student in law and political science is in charge of our communication & event management and shooting of our MOOCs videos. Ferghane is responsible for Students for Liberty Paris and is so passionate about changing ideas that he spent many nights recently, trying to convince Nuit Debout protesters (a French kind of radical Occupy Wall Street in Paris) of the benefits of a society of freedom and responsibility. He is regular contributor to the main French speaking libertarian webzine Contrepoints. He also writes for the Mises Institute in the United-States.

francois-gerberOur Treasurer François Gerber is the CEO of several companies and organizes campaigns for a classical liberal political party and is excited about the idea of using his skills to get the project moving (and he personally supports the effort and appears in our promotional video in French). François runs several firms and shares his experience and his “entrepreneurial spirit” with the whole team.


vincent-ginocchioOur general secretary Vincent Ginnocchio is a former leader of Liberté Chérie, who organized large pro-liberty, pro-reform, anti-unions demonstrations in the 2000’s in Paris.



The major project of École de liberté is our MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on various dimensions of classical liberalism. We want to supply a different type of education and contribute to a change in the “intellectual climate” in the French speaking world. These MOOC videos are a series of different courses of 25 videos each in average, in French. Each video lasts 4 to 5 minutes. Our first batch of MOOCs in 2016 will have 10 different lecturers, for approx. 250 videos and 20 hours of online lectures available.

Cécile Philippe MOOC

These MOOCs will present the value of a society of freedom and responsibility through various disciplines: philosophy, the history of ideas, history, law, economics, and politics. A lot of effort has been put into the writing of the scripts (not only text content but background images or videos) in order to maximize the clarity and didactic dimension of the videos.

To test their understanding, users will have access to a quiz for each video. Of course they will also have access to references and online resources. In order to help create a community of “L’école de la Liberté” a discussion forum will be available to enable users to react and interact with other users. The forum will also enable the school and the lecturer to answer questions. Online Q&A sessions with the lecturer will be organized regularly. Users will have the ability to see other users of the website on a map in order to engage with them. This will help the constitution of a “spontaneous order” of local communities of students




Another project is to translate the content of existing resources from English (short videos and short articles) from websites such as FEE in the USA, IEA in the UK (with whom a partnership has already been concluded), CATO etc. and make it available to a French audience. Our objective is 100 translated (subtitled) videos in 2016.



Our aim for 2016 is the referencing of more than 1000 available academic articles, e-books, audio-books, videos, in the most pedagogical and user-friendly way possible.


Our search engine sorts content (text or video) according to the topic, discipline, type (academic paper, Oped, book…), difficulty, and its length / reading time.

For instance, if a high school pupil wants a short video on environmental public policies, with a few clicks she will have access to one or more classical liberal videos on the topic that fits her search criteria. 250 items have already been referenced.



PHASE ONE – Launching in 2016

Launching of the website and referencing (early 2016)

Shooting of lectures (June-July 2016)

Launching of the MOOCs with two videos released every week (Fall 2016)

Our “output” objective is thus 10 MOOCs of each 20 to 25 short videos available in December 2016. Our “outcome” objective 1000 registrations on the website with a completion rate of 20%.

In terms of referencing of already existing classical liberal, our output objective is 200 e-books, 200 videos, and 200 audio-books (including some in-house production), in December2016. The related “outcome” objective is 3000 downloads over one year.

Concerning the subtitling in French of short videos our objective is 100 in December 2016, and an average 1000 views per video over one year.

PHASE TWO – 2017

MOOCS will become more specialized and diversified, with several lecturers for a same MOOC.

Production of in-house pedagogical (animated) videos.

The library will offer more contemporary texts, thanks to partnerships with publishing companies.


Development of the “research” corner

Award of the best PhD and best Master’s thesis on classical liberal in the francophone area

Shooting of more “job-market-oriented” MOOCs.