Student Conferences

The Adam Smith Institute holds a number of conferences each year, both for sixth-formers and undergraduates. These conferences are a great way to learn more about free market economics and libertarian ideas. They are completely free of charge, and we usually throw in a few free books too.


Independent Seminar on the Open Society

ISOS – the Independent Seminar on the Open Society – is a one-day conference for 200 sixth-form students. Named after the seminal book The Open Society and its Enemies by the philosopher Sir Karl Popper, ISOS explores the principles and practicalities of an open, free and tolerant society. The programme is designed to mesh in with A-level and AS-level syllabuses in politics and economics. Speakers deliberately pitch their talks at a standard of difficulty and technicality that will be comprehensible, but challenging, to students at these levels, whilst challenging attendees and introducing some new ideas. The afternoon of ISOS is given over to a debate between two speakers, with plenty of time given for interaction from the floor.

The most recent seminars have featured, amongst much else, Dr Madsen Pirie on the common mistakes policy makers and economists tend to make, Douglas Carswell MP on his idea of iDemocracy, Bioethicist Professor John Harris on the right to sell kidneys for money, and Philip Booth from the IEA on whether the UK is solving its debt problem. Recent debate topics have included ‘This House Believes That We Should Legalize Marijuana’ and ‘This House Believes That The Most Effective Poverty Reduction Strategy Is More Government Intervention’.

ISOS is held in Westminster in both the Autumn and Spring terms, with at least one held in a city other than London

To find out more about the ISOS programme or to suggest a city for us to visit, please get in touch at

The Liberty Lectures

Every summer, we hold a more advanced conference – called The Liberty Lectures – for current University students or those about  to start. This takes the format of four, forty -minute sessions over a day. In 2013 LSE professor Chandran Kukathas spoke on the link between liberty and multiculturalism, Theodore Dalyrmple on the link between modern culture and poverty, philosopher and consultant Jamie Whyte on the failures of evidence-based policy, and KCL professor Adam Martin on growth and international development.

Videos of previous lectures, and of our other events, can be found on our YouTube video channel.