Law and Public Policy

Society of Fellows Day in New York

December 6, 2013  • Patrick Kelly, Guest Blogger

Members of the Society of Fellows (SOF) — a community of engaged supporters of the Aspen Institute — recently gathered in New York City at the Metropolitan Club for the Society of Fellows Day in New York. This half-day session provided a forum to explore the Institute’s policy work on business, environment, arts, sports, and education.

After a welcome from Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, Institute Executive Vice President Elliot Gerson provided an overview of more than 30 of the Institute’s policy programs, which serve as nonpartisan forums for analysis, consensus building, and problem solving on a wide variety of today’s leading issues. 

SOF member Merilee Bostock

SOF member Brian Selander and Aspen Institute Japan Director Yoshihiro Hashimoto 

“The Sustainability Challenge: The Role of Business” was led by Nancy McGaw, deputy director of the Business & Society Program; David Monsma, director of the Energy & Environment Program; and moderated by Bill Mayer, chairman emeritus of the Aspen Institute, and partner of Park Avenue Equity Partners. There was agreement that sustainability is woven into the fabric of corporate DNA.

Aspen Institute Executive Vice President Elliot Gerson with Institute Trustee Anna Deavere Smith

“Arts and Social Change—Addressing our Nation’s Toughest Issues with Creativity” was a fascinating, timely discussion featuring two of the Institute’s arts directors: Trustee and ADS Works Director Anna Deavere Smith, and Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel. The session was highlighted by Deavere Smith reading from Harry Belafonte’s libretto “1963.” This moving dramatic reading connected Fellows to the critical role artists played in the 1963 March on Washington. It underscored the significant part that artists play in national matters.

Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program Director Tom Farrey

“The Sand Lot and the School Yard: Innovations for Kids in Sports and Education” featured Tom Farrey, director of the Sports & Society Program, and Vanessa Rodriguez, chief talent officer at Newark Public Schools. Rodriguez is also an Aspen-Pahara Education Fellow. For today’s youth, aligning best practices with one-on-one involvement are paying dividends — from neighborhood parks to national reform.

Patrick Kelly serves as Deputy Director for the Society of Fellows. The Society of Fellows Day in New York was offered exclusively to the Society of Fellows. If you are interested in joining, please contact Peter Waanders at 970-544-7912.