Giancarlo Ibargüen has passed away. Objectivism and liberty have lost a powerful ally and a great friend.
Ibargüen served as rector (i.e., president) of Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City from 2003 to 2013. The university was founded in 1971 by the legendary businessman and activist for liberty, Manuel F. Ayau. During Ibargüen’s tenure, he was a driving force in making that university internationally known for its embrace of classically liberal ideas and famous in its own country for its quality of education.
Among his many accomplishments, Ibargüen is notable to the Atlas Society for his sponsorship of Objectivist ideas in the academic arena. UFM features an Ayn Rand study hall. Objectivist speakers, including David Kelley and myself, made regular appearances at UFM during Ibargüen's tenure. In 2007, UFM held a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Atlas Shrugged, with a lecture by Kelley and the unveiling of "Atlas Libertas," a huge frieze by sculptor and UFM teacher Walter Peter Brenner. Objectivist ideas and their value were openly discussed in campus sessions, including a weekend course on Objectivism (“La estructura lógica del Objetivismo”) that I taught in 2010. When I arrived in Guatemala that year, I was immediately invited to take part in a monthly intra-faculty debate on the ethics that best support liberty: the ethics of Adam Smith, Ludwig Von Mises. . . or Ayn Rand! If only every university faculty held such a debate.
UFM professors and students have been frequent participants in our own activities. And UFM now offers a Master's Degree in Objectivist Philosophy.
Taken at a mere 53 years of age due to a degenerative illness, Giancarlo Ibargüen's passing is a loss to the values we hold dear. But he has already done so much that his influence will extend far into the future.
The UFM website today features an emblematic quote from Ibargüen with this theme: "Tengan fe en el hombre." It means: "Have faith in Man." What a fine principle to have lived by!
At the Atlas Society we promote the world view that begins with faith in Man. It is the idea that each of us is our own moral justification. Our philosophy aims to help each individual flourish and live. Join us in that cause, the cause that Giancarlo Ibargüen did so much to advance, and that still has so far to go.