Skip to main content


Season 4 - Episode 4
Universidad Francisco Marroquín: An entrepreneurial university

Gabriel Calzada is president of the world’s only libertarian university, Universidad Francisco Marroquín, whose mission is to teach and disseminate the ethical, legal, and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons. He was also founding president of Juan de Mariana Institute in Spain, which is a two-time recipient of the Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award.

* * *

It might be surprising that the world’s only libertarian university is located in Guatemala. As its president Gabriel Calzada tells it in this thoughtful interview, Universidad Francisco Marroquín was created back in 1971 by an entrepreneur who asked himself why his country was poor, and realized that no one knew the answer. He came to the conclusion that the problem was a lack of liberty, and he set up this institution to share that insight.

Today, the quality of education delivered by this unlikely university is very high—and its teachers practise what they preach. Says Calzada, “We try to train our professors in giving liberty to the students, in giving responsibility to the students, so the students are responsible for their own education.” The school also has an aggressive scholarship program for poor but intelligent and motivated kids.

Gabriel Calzada is also famous for debunking Spain’s green jobs program. “So many subsidies were going into the creation of green jobs, so we said, let’s calculate, let’s see how many green jobs are we really creating, and how much does it cost, and where does this money come from?” The results: Every job created by the program came at a cost of 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy.

Calzada loves the natural world, but he is not content with good intentions, and it turns out that the free market is the environment’s best ally. This is not surprising, since the top-down approach to society is generally very damaging, as Venezuela’s recent history so clearly demonstrates. As Calzada points out, the bottom-up approach harnesses people’s motivations and passions, allowing them to create and collaborate on their own goals, which is why it works so much better.

Links of interest
Gabriel Calzada | Universidad Francisco Marroquín

Listen to the podcast headphones20.png