The Milton Friedman Prize


The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The 2016 prize, a cash award of $250,000, was presented at the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Biennial Dinner on May 25, 2016 at the Waldorf-Astoria New York.

The late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman agreed in 2001 to lend his name to the prize, which has become the leading international award for acknowledging contributions to the promotion of individual liberty. In a statement at the time he said: “Those of us who were fortunate enough to live and be raised in a reasonably free society tend to underestimate the importance of freedom. We tend to take it for granted. It has made us in the West more complacent, so having a prize emphasizing liberty is extremely important.” Dr. Friedman died in 2006.

Flemming Rose • Winner of the 2016 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty

Flemming Rose, Danish journalist and author of The Tyranny of Silence, received the 2016 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. In 2005, Rose, then an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, sparked worldwide controversy when he commissioned and published 12 cartoons meant to depict the prophet Muhammad. The illustrations, intended to draw attention to the issue of self-censorship and the threat that intimidation poses to free speech, provoked deadly chaos in the Islamic world and put Rose in the center of a global debate about the limits to free speech in the 21st century.

Vicente Fox • Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Dinner
Special introduction by Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Vicente Fox is the former president of Mexico. Fox began his career as a businessman, working his way up to serve as the chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company in Mexico and Latin America, and later being elected governor of Guanajuato. When elected to the presidency in 2000, he broke more than 70 years of single-party rule in the country by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—the longest-ruling party in the world at the time. His presidency is considered a key moment in Mexico’s democratization, and his tenure was characterized by economic stability. After leaving office, Fox and his wife Marta Sahagún founded Centro Fox, a nonprofit based in Guanajuato. In recent years he has been an important and outspoken voice for market liberalism, against Latin American populism, and for ending the failed war on drugs, which has had devastating effects on Mexican society.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady is the Americas columnist for the Wall Street Journal and has been a member of its editorial board since 2005. She writes primarily on Latin American politics, economics, and business. She joined the Journal in 1995 and was named a senior editorial-page writer in 1999. She has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Inter American Press Association’s Daily Gleaner Award for editorial commentary in 1997 and an honorary doctorate from Francisco Marroquín University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Assumption College and an MBA in financial management from Pace University.

Members of International Selection Committee for the 2016 Prize:

Gurcharan Das
Former CEO
Procter & Gamble India

Peter Goettler
Cato Institute

Karen Horn
Former Economics Editor
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Ethelmae Humphreys
Chairman of the Board
TAMKO Building Products, Inc.

Giancarlo Ibárgüen
Member of the Board of Trustees
Francisco Marroquín University, Guatemala

John Mackey
Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Whole Foods Market

Herman Mashaba
Former Chairman
Free Market Foundation
South Africa

Ruth Richardson
Former Minister of Finance
New Zealand

Vernon Smith
Nobel Laureate
Professor of Economics and Law
Chapman University

Friedman Prize