The Aspen Institute

The mission of the Aspen Institute is to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.

Learn the Aspen Insitute through a letter from its President:

Dear Aspen Friends and Partners,

At certain points in our lives, many of us feel the need to reflect on what it takes to lead a life that is good, useful, worthy, and meaningful. Perhaps we have noticed ourselves trimming our principles and making too many compromises in our careers, and we want to reconnect with our values. Or perhaps we yearn, in a world filled with clashing opinions, to understand the great ideas and ideals that have competed throughout the progress of civilization.

Aspen’s seminars, programs and leadership initiatives offer a chance for restorative reflection on the meaning of the good life, leadership, and sound public policy based on nonpartisan principles and timeless ideas. The endeavor is particularly relevant today. We have passed through a period in the 1990s when we saw the consequences, in both the business and political arenas, of becoming unhinged from underlying values. We face a world in which the biggest threat, to nations and to communities, is a lack of tolerance and understanding.

Our core mission is to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.

We help people become more enlightened in their work and enriched in their lives. Together we can learn one of the keys to being successful in business, leadership and life: balancing conflicting values in order to find common ground with our fellow citizens while remaining true to basic ideals. Walter Isaacson, President & CEO.

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Aspen Institute Seminars

Aspen Institute seminars start where traditional leadership programs leave off, bringing together diverse groups of experienced leaders to learn from each other and from the greatest thinkers and leaders of all time. In an environment conducive to reflection and dialogue, participants wrestle with fundamental questions about the nature of value-centered leadership. Skilled moderators lead small groups in Socratic, roundtable discussions. Through the seminar experience, participants come to a new awareness of the organizations they lead and the values they find important. They return to their organizations with renewed energy, inspiration, and commitment. See the list of our seminars in the menu at left.

Public Programs

The Institute hosts a variety of public programs in Aspen, Colorado, and Washington, DC, and occasionally on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Recent events have included the 3-day convocation Einstein: A Celebration; The Aspen Ideas Festival, an annual weeklong event inaugurated in 2005; the McCloskey Summer Speaker Series throughout the season in Aspen; and a monthly evening book series and one-day conferences in Washington, DC.

Aspen Community Programs

The Aspen Institute offers programs in Aspen throughout the year that are open to the public. These community programs include free lectures; seminars for adults and high school students; book discussions; contemporary foreign policy discussions; and special events. Fees for these events are kept low to accommodate a diverse audience. There are scholarships available for most programs.

See also the event-calendar.

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