Press Release and Picture Courtesy of College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks hosted the 2021 Spring Forum on Free Enterprise on March 9, 2021, virtually and at The Keeter Center on the College campus.
This year, administrators chose the Honorable Newt Gingrich as the keynote speaker for the Spring Forum on Free Enterprise. He spoke about the current state of citizenship in America, the importance of free enterprise to America’s future, and the current battle between capitalism and socialism in our nation, especially among young people.
The purpose of the Forum was to introduce viewers to the history and guiding principles of two competing economic systems affecting America’s political landscape: capitalism and socialism. The discussion challenged participants to examine the underlying assumptions and moral outcomes of both systems.
“Socialism is a great threat to America’s traditional form of government,” said Vice President of Cultural Affairs and Dean of Character Education Sue Head. “Currently, there is an abundance of misinformation about socialism and the real implications of a socialist agenda. As an institution of higher education, it is incumbent on the College to expose our students to all sides of the issue, so that they are better informed to make decisions.”
The Keeter Center for Character Education hosted the annual forum. Traditionally, a prominent national figure discusses important and timely issues related to the College’s mission and values.
College of the Ozarks students, including those enrolled in free enterprise, a requirement for all business majors at the College, microeconomics and macroeconomics courses, School of the Ozarks high school students, as well as guests from other institutions, participated in an in-depth, non-partisan study of free enterprise versus socialism.
The College successfully livestreamed the sessions across campus to many C of O students, and School of the Ozarks students also participated via livestream.
Every year, College of the Ozarks offers “Big Question” courses to encourage College of the Ozarks students to grapple with the ethical implications of issues that affect their generation and generally discuss issues that involve poverty, community, faith, science, vocation, and citizenship. One of those classes for spring, “Capitalism vs. Socialism,” complemented the Spring Forum event. Students in the class also participated in the live stream.
Panel Session: Lives Under Socialism
The forum included a panel of College of the Ozarks graduates from Albania, Cuba, Romania, and Venezuela discussing the impact socialism and communism have had on their nation, communities, and families. The discussion gave the graduates and one former faculty member an opportunity to speak on their experience under foreign government systems.
Gerti Xhembulla was born and raised in the socialist nation of Albania, where his family was condemned as an enemy of the state. Xhembulla currently serves southwest Missouri as a real estate agent.
Daniel Tirle, Esq., was born in Romania soon after the Romanian Revolution, experiencing the aftermath of the Communist regime as the country struggled for democracy and prosperity. After graduating from College of the Ozarks, Tirle became an attorney and a minister in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A native-born Cuban, Bob Texidor fled the Castro revolution with his parents in 1960. He served as a teacher for around 40 years and is now helping to cultivate a Christian sports ministry in Cuba.
Gabriela Urbano, from Valencia, Venezuela, experienced the change of the Venezuelan government to a Socialist regime. Choosing to continue her education in the United States, Urbano graduated from College of the Ozarks in the spring of 2020 and now works as a marketing and design coordinator in Springfield, Missouri.