Here’s How We Made a Lasting Impact in January 2019
Debate on Encrypting Lebanese TV Channels  
January 29, 2019 - Interview with VDL Radio Station, Beirut, Lebanon 

Encrypting Lebanese broadcasting television channels is under consideration and has sparked a debate in the country, since it would increase prices on household and cable providers. LIMS Senior Policy Analyst Mr. Majdi Aref showed that Lebanese stations find themselves in dire need of new revenue, to continue investing in new content capable of competing with regional and international platforms such as Netflix and OSN. Mr. Aref believes that increasing prices will push consumers from domestic channels towards cheaper alternatives. He also stressed that the lack of proper internet infrastructure is preventing Lebanese television channels from adequately monetizing their content.

Click Here to Watch the Interview in Arabic
Lebanon: From Free Market and Peace, to Interventionism and War 
January 14, 2019 – Lecture at the University of Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City
In a series of presentations at the Francisco Marroquín University, Dr. Patrick Mardini discussed the impact of sectarian/religious institutions on Lebanon’s economic situation. Dr. Mardini showed how Lebanon built an economic system based on small government, private initiative, and free market economy after its independence in 1943. This system managed to keep national peace since government had a limited ability to intervene in sectarian/religious matters. However, the widespread of socialist ideologies in the 60s led to bad policies, civil war, and an inflated government size which is today at the heart of the economic slowdown of the country. According to Dr. Mardini, Lebanon can be improved by changing the institutional factors that limit private initiative and competition.
Urízar's Electricity Reform in Guatemala: A Lesson for Lebanon
January 16, 2019 –  University Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City
Enlightening discussions between Carmen Urízar, former Minister of Energy and former president of the electricity regulation authority and Dr. Mardini took place. Under Urízar, Guatemala made a very important reform by allowing private companies into the electricity sector. Mrs. Urízar expressed her willingness to help Lebanon and shares the experience she obtained in reforming the sector in Guatemala.
Opening Market to Competition Will Resolve Electricity Problem
January 17, 2019 – University Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City

A zero dollar cost on the government for an electricity reform is possible. The smart, knowledgeable, and humble Rodrigo Ordoñez, current vice minister of energy discussed in detail with Dr. Mardini about the energy sector in Guatemala before the reform. The country shifted from 18 hours of daily outages to zero hours; from 59% loss to 16%; from 52% electrification to 92%, from buying electricity from Enron's powerships, to becoming the number 1 exporter of electricity in Central America. The whole reform costed the government zero dollars by opening the market to competition and allowing private companies to produce electricity. The Guatemalan case should be considered as a blueprint for successful reform in Lebanon. 
Turn the Lights On in Lebanon
January 18, 2019 - Antigua Forum, Antigua, Guatemala 

64 participants from 18 countries gathered in Antigua to interact, network, and develop projects able to achieve peace and prosperity. Experts from top universities across the world worked with participants on improving the probability of success of their proposals. Dr. Mardini presented his proposal on solving the electricity problem in Lebanon. He stressed the importance of changing the institutional factors preventing competition. Academics, entrepreneurs, and experts shared their feedback on how to align the incentives of decision makers with the interest of the public. Several pragmatic solutions were suggested and will be tested and analyzed.

University in Harmony with Nature
January 14, 2019 - Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City
Francisco Marroquín University, a truly unique place in Guatemala, is an island of economic sanity in a sea of misguided ideologies. Built by private entrepreneurs, in a forest where people used to dump sewage and throw garbage, the university campus clearly shows that private management of the environment can be very successful. The buildings go around the existing trees and preserve the beauty of nature while cleaning up the landscape. The sewage system was updated with clean canals and a nice fountain. On the campus grounds are museums, a library with a rare collection of original manuscripts, art centers, and classrooms all surrounded by gardens. A sculpture of Atlas, a Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity, represents “a tribute to the spirit of enterprise and creative power of the individual.”  

LIMS Leaders' Academy: LLA-101, 2019

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