The CEI Summit is an annual destination conference featuring CEI experts and guest speakers. The Summit is a private, invitation-only event for CEI friends and supporters. 


June 2 - 5, 2025

Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina
55 West Street, Bar Harbor, Maine

Please contact events@cei.org for more information about the summit or booking in our room block.



“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things. All governments which thwart this natural course, which force things into another channel, or which endeavour to arrest the progress of society at a particular point, are unnatural, and to support themselves are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical.”

-  Adam Smith, 1755 Lectures

The Competitive Enterprise Institute traveled to Edinburgh - to toast our 40th anniversary and the tercentenary of Scottish philosopher and father of economics, Adam Smith - for our eighth annual policy summit. We experienced the "Athens of the North” and soaked in Scottish history and culture on the Royal Mile at Virgin Hotels’ first international property.

Throughout the weekend, CEI experts and guest speakers shared their policy priorities for the coming year in Greyfriars Hall, a former medieval church now part of Virgin Hotels. They discussed Adam Smith's legacy, structural reforms at the Federal Trade Commission, post-pandemic health care policy, challenges and opportunities with spectrum allocation, the lack of economic consequence of the presidency, electric grid reliability, prospects for nuclear power, and critical permitting reforms at the state, national, and international levels of government.

We kicked off the weekend in Old Town Edinburgh with a welcome dinner in Greyfriars Hall. British entrepreneur and author Luke Johnson spoke about the importance of building a culture of invention. On Friday evening, we went to the historic Grassmarket neighborhood for a private dinner in The Caves. This former underground tavern was where Adam Smith hosted his weekly Oyster Club meetings with brilliant thinkers of the day, such as David Hume and Benjamin Franklin. On Saturday, we ventured to the portside district Leith to board the Royal Yacht Britannia. Guests received an exclusive behind-the-ropes tour of the State Apartments. Lord Hannan of Kingsclere delivered the closing address on expanding free trade in the State Dining Room, where Queen Elizabeth II hosted world leaders and celebrities. 


James Broughel, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Michael Cannon, Cato Institute

Daniel Hannan, UK Board of Trade

Melissa Holyoak, Federal Trade Commission

Luke Johnson, Risk Capital Partners

Paige Lambermont, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Kent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Robert McDowell, Cooley

Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Tim Muris, George Mason University

Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Brian Rankin, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Chris Stirewalt, American Enterprise Institute

Kevin D. Williamson, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Ryan Young, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Joel Zinberg, Competitive Enterprise Institute



In search of awe and inspiration, far from the seat of power, the CEI team and friends traveled to south Lake Tahoe for our seventh annual policy summit. Since the program’s launch in 2017, summit destinations have moved steadily westward, with stunning Lake Tahoe wrapping up our first cross-country expedition.

To soak in the surroundings, we kicked off with a beachfront reception and a sunset cruise to Emerald Bay, aboard the Spirit of Tahoe. CEI friends and entrepreneurs Steve and Lana Hardy invited us into the hills of the Eastern Sierra to tour their vibrant 34-acre ranch and Buffalo Creek Art Center, which offers rotating residencies for artists working on three-dimensional pieces in metal, wood, ceramic, or multimedia.

John Tomasi, the inaugural president of Heterodox Academy, joined Kent Lassman on stage opening night to share HxA’s success in promoting open inquiry and viewpoint diversity on campuses around the country. The first morning, we were delighted to welcome two public officials on the program. Congressman Kevin Kiley, representing Tahoe in California’s 3rd congressional district, joined Research Fellow Sean Higgins to discuss how he is prioritizing worker rights in California. Senior Fellow Richard Morrison interviewed Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce about the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement. She cautioned against the growing “ESG industrial complex” requiring companies to make disclosures immaterial to their business. Capping the weekend, the Ghost of Mark Twain, embodied by local legend McAvoy Lane for the past thirty-five years, treated us to stories of his adventures traveling to and residing on the lake he memorably exalted. 

In addition to the conversations around liberalizing free speech, the labor market, and a whole-of-government ESG policy, CEI experts discussed their work exposing the Federal Trade Commission’s rogue behavior, the United States’ inept permitting procedure, and why property rights are intrinsic to a free society. Alex Reinauer, Jessica Melugin, and Ryan Young sang the praises of the consumer welfare standard being abandoned by the FTC and shared how CEI is tracking the agency’s repeated overreach with its Eye on FTC campaign. Mario Loyola debuted a new report on global infrastructure permitting and argued the U.S. must modernize its permitting regime to stay competitive in the world market. Writer in residence Kevin D. Williamson closed our sessions with a historical illustration of why civil rights rely on property rights.

An all-around success, the CEI team returned from the summit inspired and exhilarated by the thoughtful, creative company, conversations, and experience.



The Competitive Enterprise Institute ventured to the Land of Enchantment and Opportunity for CEI’s sixth annual policy summit during Rodeo Weekend—Thursday, June 23 to Sunday, June 26, 2022. Throughout the weekend, CEI experts, friends, and supporters enjoyed vibrant Southwestern art, cuisine, and culture.  

After two years of the pandemic and dysfunctional government regulation, CEI experts and guest speakers distilled lessons from successful efforts to liberalize industries and communities in the Southwest and across the country. Guests gathered each morning in the auditorium of the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of Governors for the policy sessions. CEI experts Wayne Crews, Myron Ebell, Daniel Greenberg, Kent Lassman, Jessica Melugin, Richard Morrison, Iain Murray, and Joel Zinberg discussed their work to reform regulatory overreach, technology, and health policy to aid the nation’s post-pandemic recovery. 

We featured guest speakers from the public and private sectors, including NetChoice President and CEO Steve DelBianco, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak, American Institute for Economic Research and Acton Institute Fellow Samuel Gregg, and Zyvex Labs Founder Jim Von Ehr. Guests stayed at the boutique Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, just off Santa Fe’s historic square. Excursions included the 73rd annual Rodeo de Santa Fe; the immersive art experience at Meow Wolf, “the house that art, fantasy, and mystery built;” and sculptures conjuring America’s West during a private dinner at Gerald Peters Contemporary Gallery. 



The CEI Krewe trekked to New Orleans for our fourth annual Summit for a memorable weekend of liberty and good times in a city that embodies the spirit of laissez faire. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

From Thursday, February 6 to Sunday, February 9, 60 CEI guests and supporters enjoyed a program featuring dynamic speakers, French and Cajun cuisine, and New Orleans art, music, culture, and history, as Mardi Gras season got under way.

CEI scholars Greg Conko, Myron Ebell, Patrick Hedger, Kent Lassman, Angela Logomasini, Mario Loyola, Jessica Melugin, Richard Morrison, Iain Murray, and Ryan Young shared their ideas for liberalizing the energy, tech, and labor sectors and reforming misguided policies on antitrust and trade.

Featured guest speakers included Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger; Kevin Williamson, author of The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics; and Ariel Corporation CEO Karen Wright.

Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina and in the wake of New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, CEI scholars and guests also got a firsthand view of how entrepreneurs, and community organizations are leading the charge to reinvent the city.

Held at the historic Ace Hotel New Orleans, the Summit program included a private dinner and reception at landmarks French 75 and Arnaud’s; a French Quarter walking tour with Chris Rose, celebrated author of 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina; a private tour of the National WWII Museum; a live event painting by New Orleans legend Frenchy; and a private jazz brunch at Three Keys featuring Knockaz Brass Band.

In February 2019, CEI hosted its third annual Summit at the brand-new Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Georgia. Guests enjoyed thought-provoking presentations and engaging conversations with CEI experts and other prominent free-market scholars.

CEI’s Wayne Crews, Sam Kazman, Marlo Lewis, Jessica Melugin, Michelle Minton, Iain Murray, Daniel Press, Ryan Radia, and Marc Scribner delivered in-depth seminars on regulatory dark matter, fintech, energy mandates, and the road ahead for transportation policy.

Guest speakers included former risk manager and Bloomberg contributor Aaron Brown, on cryptocurrency; Reason Foundation Director of Transportation Policy Robert Poole, on his new book, Rethinking America’s Highways; American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow and Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies Peter Wallison, on in his new book, Judicial Fortitude; and editor of RealClearMarkets John Tamny discussed the lasting legacy of economist Warren Brookes.

Attendees also got the opportunity to enjoy a reception at Service Brewing Company, dinner at Garibaldi, and tours of the Benedetto Guitar factory and Bonaventure Cemetery.



In January 2018, CEI hosted its second Summit at the historic Casa Marina resort in Key West, Florida. The theme of the event was Disruption v. Distortion—how we can encourage innovative shakeups in business and politics and limit government’s power to manipulate the economy. CEI’s Ted Frank, Melissa Holyoak, Sam Kazman, Angela Logomasini, Jessica Melugin, Michelle Minton, and Iain Murray discussed innovative approaches for overturning corrupt class action settlements, repealing “sindustry” prohibitions, and liberalizing the sharing economy, among other topics.

The Key West Summit also featured two special guests. Bassem Youssef—known as the “Jon Stewart of Egypt”—shared the story of his valiant defense of free speech, during a dinner reception at the Truman Little White house. The host of a wildly successful political satire show, he and his family fled the country after terminating his show due to overwhelming political pressure to censor its contents and threats of physical and legal violence. Education entrepreneur Rick O’Donnell, the founder and CEO of Skills Fund, gave the keynote speech at dinner on the beach. O’Donnell is turning traditional higher education on its head with a student-financing platform that provides financial services to employers and outcomes-based boot camp programs to students.

Guests enjoyed sailing on the Appledore II schooner, riding the Conch Train, biking around the island, and touring the Hemingway House and Truman’s Little White House.



In June 2017, CEI hosted its inaugural Summit in Washington, DC at the Morrison Clark Historic Inn and the Society of the Cincinnati’s Anderson House.

The program kicked off with remarks from Pierre Desrochers, CEI’s 2017 Julian Simon Memorial Award Winner, and coauthor Joanna Szurmak. Desrochers discussed the continued relevance of Simon’s work and his successful bet against doomsayer Paul Ehrlich. Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Gary Palmer spoke about the challenges of the administrative state and the role of think tanks in the debate. Boom CEO Blake Scholl closed the program with a discussion of our supersonic future. The program closed with a private tour of the Anderson House.