22 years old. Graduated. Elected into Brazilian State Legislature.
Giuseppe Riesgo embodies what Students For Liberty aims to achieve: develop empowered students who become the next generation of leaders of liberty. Yet, he didn’t even want to join Students For Liberty. Giuseppe’s interest in the liberty movement was sparked by Clube Farroupilha, a pro-liberty organization founded by SFL Brazil alumnus Geanluca Lorenzon, which was later associated with SFL Brazil. When Geanluca advised him to become involved with SFL, Giuseppe refused. At the time, he didn’t see the value of the international network that SFL would later provide him.
But as he continued to work with Clube Farroupilha, he quickly realized that SFL provided the opportunity for him to meet more people and have more impact. So, in 2013, he decided to become a part of the coordinator program. Giuseppe went on to become one of the most impactful SFL leaders, organizing events with 700 attendees.
“Students For Liberty taught me essential leadership skills. I learned how to mobilize people and how to convince people to want to work with me. Most importantly, I was trusted with responsibility. I had a large group of people to lead at only 20 years old: from overseeing people to deciding on budgets, these are responsibilities I would never have held at such a young age with any other organization.”
Giuseppe graduated early this year with a law degree from the Federal University of Santa Maria and he was part of Students For Liberty’s Global Top 50 Leaders cohort. In October 2018, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul. At only 22 years old, he now holds elected office in a country that just a few years ago was in the tight grip of socialist policies.
While becoming a part of government is not the usual path for most in the liberty movement, Giuseppe always felt that the ballot was missing the pro-liberty alternative. He never felt there was a right candidate for him to vote for, and he realized other people in the liberty movement felt the same. So he decided to work on using his skills in event and community organizing to try and build institutions that will bring long-lasting change for the ideas of liberty:
“Students For Liberty was very important in helping me develop my leadership skills, helping me grow as an individual, and learning about the principles of liberty. I met thousands of people in SFL, and many of those in my local group, Clube Farroupilha, became an integral part of my campaign staff. I would never win this election if it wasn’t for them!”
While Giuseppe remains cautious about politics, his greatest pride is that people have shown that they support the ideas of liberty and he is confident that the liberty movement in Brazil, and Students For Liberty, are laying a strong foundation for a freer future, even if it takes a few more decades.