April, 2016

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Society of Fellows
April 2, 2016 - April 8, 2016
Aspen, CO
This seminar is a unique opportunity to step away from the demands of the present and reflect with other leaders in moderated, text-based Socratic dialogue on the concept of a good and just society: What is it? How does it become a reality? What is our role in making it happen? The settings in Aspen, Colorado and on Maryland's Eastern Shore are ideal for rejuvenation of the mind, body, and spirit of participants who emerge personally renewed and professionally focused. Read More
Society of Fellows
April 5, 2016
Aspen, CO
Aspen Words

Sandra Cisneros’ works include two highly acclaimed novels, a short story collection, two poetry collections, and an adult picture book. The first female Mexican-American writer to be published by a mainstream publisher, Cisneros’ debut novel The House on Mango Street won the American Book Award, has sold more than six million copies, and is considered a literary classic. Her most recent book is A House of My Own—a richly illustrated compilation of true stories that span three decades of her life. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Lannan Literary Award, the Thomas Wolfe Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral and Macondo Foundations, which serve creative writers. She lives in Mexico.

The reading and talk will be followed by a Q+A and book signing. Explore Booksellers will have boo ks for purchase at the event.

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April 6, 2016
Washington, DC
Economic Opportunities Program

Due to overwhelming interest in this event, we are currently at capacity for registrations. We invite you to register for the waitlist above, or watch the event live from this page on April 6, 2016, at 4:00 pm EST.

About the Event:
Retail has long been one of the most influential industries in the United States. Currently the retail industry employs more than 15 million people, and even with economic changes, such as the rise of online shopping, it is projected to continue growing. Because it employs such a large portion of the American workforce, even small changes in the retail industry have immense potential to help expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income workers. What can the retail industry, related industries, nonprofits, philanthropy, and other members of the private sector do to enhance economic opportunities?

We are pleased to invite you to an afternoon discussion with Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer of Walmart, and Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. They will explore the private sector's role in expanding economic opportunities for frontline workers. The discussion will be held in the Aspen Institute offices in Washington, DC, and followed by an evening reception.

Featured speakers:

Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart, President of the Walmart Foundation

Kathleen McLaughlin is the chief sustainability officer for Walmart, and the president of the Walmart Foundation. Walmart uses its strengths to create economic opportunity for individuals and foster inclusive economic development; enhance the sustainability of food, apparel, and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthen the resilience of local communities. Last year, in addition to business initiatives investing in people and businesses in supply chains, the company surpassed over $1.4 billion in giving worldwide, including $1 billion of food donations. McLaughlin joined Walmart in 2013. Before that, she spent over 20 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, and she also earned a Master of Arts from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. 


Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute

Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He is the author of several books, most recently, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014). Isaacson has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine. Early in his career, he worked at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held until 2012. He is vice-chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world.  He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, and the Overseers of Harvard University.  From 2005-2007, after Hurricane Katrina, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

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Aspen Wye Fellows, Society of Fellows
April 10, 2016 - April 12, 2016
Wye River, MD

*This event is open to Society of Fellows members and Wye Fellows only. For more information regarding hotel reservations, please contact Judy Price @ judith.price@aspeninstitute.org.

Explore the competing politics and passions of Vengeance and Forgiveness. Whether to pursue justice or yield to mercy, these issues challenge each of us as individuals and members of society. This Symposium will explore topics such as how we as individuals should treat others who have clearly done us wrong, or how we as a society should treat those who kill indiscriminately to make a point, be they Islamic extremists or the Charleston Emanuel AME Church group prayer shooter.

This day and a half symposium will delve deeply into this central human quandary. Watching scenes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, learning about the healing of the 9/11 Memorial, and exploring the Charleston community’s path to forgiveness will serve as the basis of the dialogue. Through readings, multimedia presentations, lecture and group discussion, the session will offer a timely exploration of timeless issues in a riveting interactive format moderated by Dr. Carol Adelman and Dr. John Simpkins.

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April 11, 2016 - April 17, 2016

*This event is by invitation only

The Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) is a nonprofit organization that identifies and motivates effective and successful young leaders across Central America, who are capable of guiding their countries as they struggle to align the social and economic demands of the region with local visions of a "good society." CALI's inaugural class was launched in 2004. The program consists of a set of four, five-to-six-day seminars over 18 months, which explore the unique challenges of leadership in our times, and the journey of each leader as they plan their leadership into the future.

Moderators include: Harry Stachan, Diego de Sola, and Stace Lindsay

To learn more about CALI, visit www.centralamericaleadership.net

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Society of Fellows
April 11, 2016
Washington, DC

The emerging gig economy touches an ever wider variety of jobs – from on-call drivers and home healthcare workers to independent accountants and freelance writers. As more Americans earn paychecks in the contingent workforce, they are adapting to new rules and facing new risks – whether they realize it or not. The lack of traditional employee benefits, like retirement savings, threatens a significant blow to their overall financial security.

With the changing nature of work in America, the 20th century formula for providing protections and benefits to workers is falling behind 21st century innovation, and we must develop new solutions that can meet the long-term needs of workers and businesses alike.

How can we adapt our 20th century system for the 21st century workforce?

The Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program’s and the Future of Work Initiative, will host a cutting edge conversation to explore the urgent retirement challenges facing on-demand workers, and innovative solutions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This event will specifically explore how we might adapt the social contract for workers in America in a way that can make retirement benefits and protections more portable.

Featuring Keynote Remarks from:

The Honorable Phyllis C. Borzi
Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, US Department of Labor
Followed by A Moderated Question and Answer Session with:
Ida Rademacher
Executive Director, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program

And a Panel Discussion that will Include:

Anthony Bunnell
Chief Product Officer, Honest Dollar

Shelby Clark
Chief Executive Officer, Peers

Brigitte Madrian
Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management, Harvard Kennedy School

Panel Moderated by: 

Margaret "Peggy" Collins
Finance and Investing Reporter, Bloomberg News and Businessweek


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April 15, 2016
Washington, DC

*This event is by invitation only.

Aspen Institute Board of Trustees Annual Spring Board Meeting

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Socrates Program
April 16, 2016
Washington DC, DC, United States

Race and Policing

Moderated by Michel Martin, host of Weekend All Things Considered on NPR and Susan Sturm, George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, and Director, Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia Law School

Police encounters with people of color have come to frame public understanding of race, as well as many communities’ experience of government. Police interactions with communities have become polarized and defined by mistrust, particularly with the reduction in available community policing funding over the past few years. Innovation and creativity in police approaches to community relations have become increasingly difficult. At the same time, the recent deaths of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and Laquan McDonald while in police custody, among others, have garnered mass media attention and protests on an unprecedented scale, and have recast the issues of police misconduct, racism, and discipline into the national spotlight.  Through the Socrates Social Justice Seminar, we will bring a group of young local leaders together to discuss values based approaches for police activity and community interaction, and ideas to advance constructive relationships and interactions between police and communities, reduce bias, and create a level playing field for all communities. The group will use carefully selected texts as background readings as well as an expert-moderated discussion to explore visions of policing that produce desired relationships between police and communities, with a focus on the following four areas in detail: police practices, recruiting from local communities, police-community relations and community justice. We will work to highlight innovations, ideas, and policies to improve the system on both a local and a national level.

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Aspen Wye Fellows, Society of Fellows
April 17, 2016
Wye River, MD

Chamber Music Concert by the "Trio Mesama," an Honors Ensemble of Peabody Conservatory of Music students - Melissa Johnson Lander, Clarinet; Mauricio Rey Gallego, Cello; Sahun Hong, piano.

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April 18, 2016
Washington, DC, United States
Health, Medicine and Society Program

Public Health Grand Rounds at the Aspen Institute invites you to a lunchtime conversation, Precision Medicine: the Promise, the Journey, the Future, with Dr. Eric Lander, President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Eric Lander is the founding director and serves as a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. One of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project, he and his colleagues have a long-standing interest in applying genomics to understand the molecular basis of human physiology and disease.

Over the past 15 years, Lander and his colleagues have created many of the key tools of human genomics and have applied these tools to pioneer new ways to understand the basis of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases. The work includes mapping and sequencing of the human, mouse, and other genomes; understanding the functional elements encoded in genomes through comparative analysis; understanding the genetic variation in the human population and its relationship to disease susceptibility; understanding the distinctive cellular signatures of diseases and of response to drugs; understanding gene regulation; and understanding the mutations underlying cancer.

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Aspen Community Programs
April 18, 2016
Aspen, CO, United States

This seminar explores several vectors of the human journey in search of meaning. The curriculum comprises three, three-month thematic modules: The Journey Inwards, The Journey Outwards, The Journey Upwards. These modules will be anchored by plays and sonnets from William Shakespeare while additionally drawing upon texts from the ancient to the contemporary—companions helping us navigate the choppy waters of our own values and beliefs.

Dates and Times: Monday nights from 6:30–9:00 p.m. October 19, November 16, December 14, January 11, February 8, March 14, April 18, May 16, June 13.

Fee: $225 includes all sessions, reading materials and refreshments. 

Athens to Aspen is now full. 

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Society of Fellows
April 19, 2016
Washington, DC
Economic Opportunities Program

Related Resources

Susan Crane and John Colborn, “Apprenticeship: Training that W​o​r​k​s, Published by the Aspen Institute and SkillUp Washington, February 2016.
John Colborn and Nneka Jenkins, “Recasting American Apprenticeship: A Summary of the Barriers to Apprenticeship Expansion Research P​r​o​j​e​c​t, Published by Skills for America’s Future at the Aspen Institute, November 2015.
Matt Helmer and Dave Altstadt, “Apprenticeship: Completion and Cancellation in the Building T​r​a​d​e​s​, Published by the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative, October 2013.

Due to overwhelming interest in this event, we are currently at capacity for registrations. We invite you to register for the waitlist above, or watch the event live from this page on April 19, 2016, at 12:00 pm EST.

About the Event
We often hear that good jobs require college. For many, however, the road to a college degree presents more challenges than opportunities. The costs of a four-year degree have soared, often leaving students with crippling debt, whether or not they are able to complete their degrees. At the same time, not as many jobs require a four-year degree as we once thought, meaning many students face the same low-wage job opportunities they faced before. We need another approach. This event will highlight a forthcoming book by Dr. Katherine Newman and Hella Winston, Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the Twenty-First Century. In it they argue that by committing to a targeted investment in vocational training institutions, we can provide opportunities for individuals to develop skills, access middle skill jobs, avoid crippling debt, and meet technical skill needs in critical industries. Opening comments about the book will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Newman and experts in policy, education and training, and business. Book sales will follow the event.

Featured speakers:

Katherine S. Newman is the author of twelve books on topics ranging from urban poverty to middle class economic insecurity to school violence. No Shame in My Game: the Working Poor in the Inner City received the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Prize and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Book Award. Newman, who has held positions at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Princeton, is currently provost and professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California - Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology from the University of California - San Diego.


Michael G. Johnson is the CEO of Johnson Talent Development (JTD), a coaching firm focused on the development of next generation leaders. Previously, he served as the chief human resources officer at UPS, where he was integrally involved in defining, influencing and operationalizing global talent and leadership strategies aligned to UPS business strategies. With over thirty five years of experience, he has worked in all aspects of HR, including: recruiting and hiring, talent management, leadership development, engagement, workforce planning and succession planning. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from DePaul University. He has completed HR Executive Management programs at the University of Michigan and Emory University.


Andy Van Kleunen is the chief executive officer of National Skills Coalition, which he founded in 2000 in collaboration with leaders from community-based organizations, businesses, unions, community colleges, workforce boards and research organizations.  An expert on state and federal workforce policy, he oversees all aspects of the Coalition’s efforts, including building alliances with new partners and advising state and federal policy initiatives. Previously, Andy was the director of workforce policy for the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, where he worked with employers, unions and client advocates to improve job quality and training for low-wage workers within the nation's long-term care sector. Andy holds a master’s degree in urban sociology from the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and honors studies from Villanova University.

Sandi Vito  is the director of the 1199SEIU/League Training and Upgrading Fund, the Greater New York Education Fund, and the Registered Nurse Training and Job Security Fund. Jointly governed by labor and management, the three organizations provide frontline healthcare workers an array of education and training benefits, including foundational skills, health certificates and degrees. Previously, Vito served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. In 2008, she served on the Presidential Transition Team for the US Department of Labor. Vito has a bachelor’s in economics from Richard Stockton College and studied Urban Studies and Community/Regional Planning at Temple University.

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Public Programs, Book Talk, Society of Fellows
April 19, 2016
New York, NY
Aspen Words

The Aspen New York Book Series is presented by New York Public Programs in partnership with Aspen Words.

Authors Lev Grossman, Hannah Tinti, and Mark Tompkins will discuss the genre of fantasy writing, moderated by Carole DeSanti, Vice President, Executive Editor at Viking Penguin. 

**Registration Required.
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April 21, 2016 - April 24, 2016
Oslo, Norway
Aspen Strategy Group

*This event is by invitation only.

The Aspen Ministers Forum is an initiative of former foreign ministers from across the political spectrum. Building on a history of constructive negotiations and issue resolution, the senior statesmen are uniquely positioned to leverage their experience and insight to foster a more collaborative transatlantic exchange.

The Aspen Ministers Forum seeks to develop concrete, non-partisan recommendations to address common global challenges. Through its members in-depth understanding of foreign policy, and continued influence as opinion leaders, members of parliament, and advisers to governments and political parties, the group has addressed such issues as Iraq reconstruction, the fight against terrorism, Middle East peace, humanitarian intervention, and reform of the transatlantic architecture.

Each meeting includes a group outside experts from the executive and legislative branches of government, think tanks, academia and the media. Working materials and policy papers are developed by group members and an array of both established and rising policy experts. Some of these materials and other pertinent resources are available through the website of the Aspen Strategy Group, under whose auspices the Aspen Ministers Forum convenes.

You can read more about the beginnings of the Aspen Ministers Forum in the feature piece "Albright's Dream Team" in the Summer 2012 issue of The Aspen Idea.

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Book Talk, Society of Fellows
April 21, 2016
Washington, DC

*This event is by invitation only.

The Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series will feature Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University, on her new book "Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

About Fast Forward:
Important conversations about leaning in, work/life balance, and empowering women and girls around the world have energized a generation of women. Fast Forward, by two women leaders whose experience spans corporate America, public service, and global diplomacy, takes the next step. Through interviews with a network of more than seventy trailblazing women, Fast Forward shows women how to accelerate their growing economic power and combine it with purpose to find both success and meaning in their lives.

Companies, countries, and organizations the world over are waking up to today’s new reality. Women control the lion’s share of purchasing power and are increasingly essential to competitiveness. The age of women’s transformative economic influence has finally arrived, and women are using their power for purpose, redefining what power and success mean in the process. Through clear, practical advice and personal stories of women around the world — including Hillary Clinton, Geena Davis, Christine Lagarde, and Diane von Furstenberg — Fast Forward shows every woman how to know her power, find her purpose, and connect with others to achieve her life’s goals.

About Melanne Verveer:
Melanne Verveer is a co-founder of Seneca Women and executive director of Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security. In 2009, President Obama appointed her the first-ever US ambassador-at-large for global women's issues. She is a co-founder of Vital Voices, an international nonprofit that invests in emerging women leaders.

During the Clinton administration, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. She also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women, and was instrumental in the adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

Ambassador Verveer has a BS and MS from Georgetown University. In 2013, she was the Humanitas Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development. She holds several honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the US Secretary of State’s Award for Distinguished Service.

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April 21, 2016 - April 23, 2016
London, United Kingdom
Homeland Security Program

Above, watch videos of all of the discussions from the 2016 Aspen Security Forum: Global event.

The Aspen Institute is excited to announce the debut Aspen Security Forum: Global (ASF: Global), which will bring together government officials, industry executives, noteworthy journalists, leading thinkers, and concerned citizens from around the world to discuss the most pressing issues of the day in international security. With the aim of complementing the US-focused discussion at the Aspen Security Forum, ASF: Global will feature primarily international speakers and moderators, and its programming will closely mirror that of the original: two and a half days of single-track programming, each session a discussion of one or a panel of speakers with a moderator.

For more information about speakers, agenda, and registration, please visit the ASF: Global website here

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April 25, 2016
Chicago, IL
Financial Security Program

As millions of Americans live longer, and save less, the US workforce is veering toward a severe retirement crisis. In Illinois, more than half of the private sector workforce – roughly 2.5 million people and 1.7 million in the Chicago region alone – lacks an employer-based retirement savings plan.

Illinois was the first state in the nation to tackle this problem directly with the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, a groundbreaking new system for retirement savings that is projected to reach more than one million Illinoisans beginning in 2017. Based on cutting-edge research, it offers automatic workplace enrollment and payroll deductions that could dramatically increase workers’ savings. Other states, including California, Oregon, Maryland, and Connecticut, are moving forward on similar programs, so the lessons learned in Illinois could be magnified across the country.

With so much at stake for Illinois workers, and the nation as a whole, the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program, in conjunction with the Secure Choice Board, will bring together a diverse array of business, academic, and nonprofit leaders to offer ideas, insights, data, and other resources that will help ensure a successful rollout of this exciting new initiative.

Featuring opening remarks from:

Ida Rademacher
Executive Director, Financial Security Program, The Aspen Institute

The Honorable Daniel Biss
9th Senate District, Illinois State Senate

The Honorable Michael W. Frerichs
Illinois State Treasurer

Followed by keynote remarks from:

Dr. Richard Thaler
Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
And a panel discussion that will include:

Pete Isberg
Vice President of Government Affairs, ADP

David Madland
Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor, American Worker Project, Center for American Progress

Lucy Mullany
Financial Empowerment Policy Project Lead, Heartland Alliance

Martin Noven
Senior Director, Government Markets, TIAA

Moderated by:

Jeremy Smith
Associate Director, Financial Security Program, The Aspen Institute


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April 25, 2016 - April 26, 2016
Washington, DC

*This event is by invitation only.

The FunderXChange is designed to connect members of the philanthropic community to the best information on emerging and established two-generation approaches. An additional goal is to connect funders with one another for shared learning and potential collaboration.

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Society of Fellows
April 26, 2016
New York, NY

*This event is by invitation only.


This Society of Fellows Discussion Reception will feature Andrew Ross Sorkin, Financial Columnist for The New York Times and a Co-Anchor of CNBC’s "Squawk Box," in conversation about the state of the US economy and the future of capitalism. 

The event is generously underwritten by Ilona Nemeth and Alan Quasha, and is part a series of Society of Fellows Discussion Receptions in New York City. 

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April 27, 2016 - April 30, 2016
Charlotte, NC
Education and Society Program

*This event is by invitation only.

This is a network of Superintendents of large urban school districts.


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Society of Fellows
April 27, 2016
Corte Madera, CA

*This event is by invitation only.

What's next for the global ecosystems we depend on?

Featuring Jon Foley, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences. Dr. Foley will lead a conversation on the complex relationship between global environmental systems and human civilization.

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Aspen Wye Fellows, Society of Fellows
April 28, 2016
Wye River, MD

*This event is by invitation only.

Nancy Izzo-Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, will shed light on perhaps the greatest refugee humanitarian crisis since World War II. Ms. Izzo-Jackson oversees the Offices of Assistance Programs for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas in the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. One of America’s experts on refugees, she is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and a tenured member of the U.S. Foreign Service, having served with distinction in Liberia and Sri Lanka.

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April 29, 2016
New York, NY
Business and Society Program

Aspen's preeminent International MBA Case Competition asks future business leaders to innovate at the intersection of corporate profitability and positive environmental, social and ethical impact.

Join us to hear the winning team present live over breakfast at the Yale Club of New York City at 8:00AM on April 29th.

This program engages over 1,000 students at 25 business schools located around the world to reflect on the role of business in society.

Register online here.

Program Highlights: 

Back to School! See the winning MBA team's case presentation -- drawn from five finalist teams representing leading universities from around the globe. The brand new case study produced for this year's competition was authored by our partners at the Yale School of Management. Guests will hear from the winning team, celebrate the 2016 Case Competition finalists and meet a remarkably diverse group of MBA students competing for a prize pool of almost $35,000.

Conversation on 21st Century Leadership: Discussion with thought leaders on the roles of business and higher education in societal change.

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April 30, 2016 - May 8, 2016
Havana, Cuba
Global Alliances Program

The week of April 30, 2016 the Aspen Institute and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement will co-lead a Partnership Opportunity Delegation (POD) to Cuba, where participants will engage in meetings and conversations around investment and innovation focused on early technology, hospitality, alternative energy, and waste management. 

Participants will also participate in InCúbate2016, the country's first ever Pop-Up Innovation Space -- an exchange between American and Cuban entrepreneurs.

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Society of Fellows
April 30, 2016 - May 6, 2016
Wye River, MD
This seminar is a unique opportunity to step away from the demands of the present and reflect with other leaders in moderated, text-based Socratic dialogue on the concept of a good and just society: What is it? How does it become a reality? What is our role in making it happen? The settings in Aspen, Colorado and on Maryland's Eastern Shore are ideal for rejuvenation of the mind, body, and spirit of participants who emerge personally renewed and professionally focused. Read More