As an independent think tank, you’ve been active for more than sixty years. What have you been working on recently and what your plans for the future?
Our recent activities include:
‘Digitalisation and Bildung’. This book is a policy advice on the trend of digitalisation in education and how it affects the liberal ideal of Bildung: the cognitive, social and cultural education of each individual, so that each person will be able to take its unique position in society. It focuses on the ways knowledge transfer, the learning of skills and human relations transform because of technological developments, such as online learning and virtual reality. First and foremost, the book recommends that all technological developments, when implemented in education, be tested against higher goal of Bildung.
The summer school on liberal thought and politics. As per tradition, the Telders Foundation organises a yearly summer school in the last week of August, before the academic year opens. Some 20 students or recent graduates come together for 4 days. The program consists of lectures and workshops, delivered by academics as well as politicians. A variety of themes is discussed, such as liberal core values, neuro science and the free will, and economic thought. Also, critique from other ideologies, such as social democracy and christian democracy, is part of the program.
Future activities include:
- 3 booklets on the concept of citizenship, citizenship in education and integration of immigrants in Dutch society. The first booklet, an exploration of the concept of citizenship in liberal perspective, is expected to be published by the end of 2018.
- Book on 100 years of women’s right to vote in the Netherlands, to be published in 2019.
- Book on Social Liberalism (in English), to be published in 2019. A study of the history and meaning of ‘social’ liberalism.
- Book on the dynamics of the Dutch labour market. The focus is on the impact of technological developments and how these shape the the relation between employers and employees and the types and bumber of jobs. It aims to present a liberal view on ‘work’ in a changing labour market. Publication is expected in the spring of 2019.
- The Telders Foundation works on a poster with an infographic on privatisation. It will serve as a guide into the conditions for a succesful privatisation process.
Next to publications, activities of the Telders Foundation include conferences and seminars, such as a conference on China in spring 2019, the bi-annual Telders Tables (dinner with a speaker) and the annual Telders Lecture.
Within the liberal network, how would you describe your mission and role as a think-tank?
Our mission and role is to research societal issues from a liberal perspective, as well as to promote such research. We do so in order to develop liberalism (in the continental European sense of the word) in general, and to support liberal thought for the political party VVD. Within ELF, we are interested in collaborating with members, with a view on knowledge exchange and developing liberal thought.
One of your focuses is publishing policy papers and books on political and societal topics. Among the topics you discuss, readers may find issues such as market economy, environment, crime fighting and defence policy. How do you organise the promotion and outreach of your publications?
Anyone interested in our work can become ‘friend of the Telders Foundation’ for a minimum of 75 euros per year. Friends of the Telders Foundation will receive all publications of their choice in print, as well as invitations for our conferences, lectures and Telders Tables, which they can attend for free or a reduced entrance fee.
Also, anyone interested can subscribe to our email news letter, which serves as a vehicle to inform about our work and promote our activities. We use Twitter to announce our activities and publications. We organise seminars (sometimes in cooperation with the VVD) once a new book or policy paper is published, which helps to reach the focus group of experts and politicians.