Welcome Remarks: 2023 Summer Celebration

August 22, 2023  • Daniel R. Porterfield

Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield delivered the below remarks at the 2023 Summer Celebration on August 5, 2023 in Aspen, CO.

Good evening everyone. It’s my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 29th Annual Aspen Institute Summer Celebration.

Thank you to all who have prepared this event, especially our Institutional Advancement team led by Cynthia McKee, Stephenie Maurer, Desiree Beebe, and Dianna Shypailo.

Thank you to our trustees, especially our Chair, Margot Pritzker.

And thank you to all who have supported tonight’s program. Especially:

  • Melony and Adam Lewis
  • Jackie and Mike Bezos
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Penny and Jim Coulter
  • Judy and Leonard Lauder
  • The Crown Family
  • The Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Bonnie and Ken Davis
  • Joan Fabry and Michael Klein

The Aspen Institute came into the world nearly 75 years ago when a group of thinkers and doers from civil society and the business world gathered here in the Colorado mountains to discuss nothing less than the future of humanity.

They did so with a shared belief in human dignity and a social order defined by freedom, justice, opportunity, and democratic fellow-feeling.

From that first convening, we have pursued a bold purpose, formalized by our Board of Trustees this year, which is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world.

Across these decades, this institution has grown with the times and brought programming to every country and community.

We are so grateful for your steadfast support. Thanks to the people in this room, and many who join us in spirit, we have become a highly-trusted global convening and leadership organization.

After a spectacular summer of programming, today our Board of Trustees met to adopt and endorse our new five-year strategic plan for the Institute as a whole. We’ve identified three priorities:

  1. Helping to rebuild trust in institutions and one another;
  2. Building an interconnected community of the tens of thousands of Aspen Institute-cultivated leaders worldwide; and
  3. Opening our doors more widely to youth, young adults, and young professionals.

We are excited about the momentum that this plan will generate and deeply grateful to our Board, our staff, our supporters, and our broader community for the faith we all place in the Aspen Institute’s strength as a convener of record and an engine of collaboration and leadership.

In the spirit of the Aspen Institute’s commitment to values-based leadership, we gather tonight to recognize the achievements of two iconic leaders and journalists, Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt, whom we will honor with this year’s Public Service Award.

Throughout their respective careers, Judy and Al have exhibited an extraordinary dedication to civil discourse and truth-seeking. As partners in journalism and life, their accomplishments span decades and personify lifetime achievement.

A steadfast pillar of American journalism, Judy has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, through which she has been able to guide the political discourse with fairness and objectivity. Atop her many achievements, including serving as anchor for networks like CNN, NBC, and PBS, she is also a fervent advocate and champion for women pursuing careers in media.

Al has provided crucial perspectives on critical issues facing this country throughout his career, working with some of the most trusted publications and institutions such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, The New York Times International Edition and more. His expertise and perspective on political matters have been guiding the nation’s leaders for more than 50 years.

We look forward to celebrating Judy and Al with all of you tonight and to the evening’s featured conversation, moderated by Founder of MamaDen and former Correspondent for CBS News, Julianna Goldman.

I now invite you to enjoy your meals and take pleasure in each other’s company.