past event
Around the Institute

2021 Socrates Emerging Governance Leaders December Seminar


Emerging Governance Leaders Seminar

This annual series features seminars beginning on Friday afternoons and concluding on Sunday afternoons, following a closing lunch. Our partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Democracy Fund covers seminar tuition lodging, materials, meals, and an outing at James Madison’s Montpelier for Congressional staffers.

Article 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The creation of this legislative body marked a departure from past governance systems and the start of the “American experiment.” 230 years later, how do the foundations of the U.S. government inform and influence the role of Congress today – and the responsibilities and expectations of those who serve within? In this seminar, we will examine governance systems, the creation of Congress, and precedent-setting legal interpretations of the role of Congress. This seminar will build on these foundations to consider governance and responsibilities in pursuit of an inclusive republic.

This professional development experience will focus on three aspects: 1) developing skills that are applicable to the legislative body; 2) building informal networks that are key to career advancement and support, and 3) and providing participants access to a range of Aspen Institute programming. This opportunity will provide staffers with experiences and tools to help them thrive in their current roles and better position themselves for longer, more impactful careers in the U.S. Congress.

The seminar will be moderated by Dr. Michelle L. Chin, the academic director for the Archer Center. Dr. Chin teaches the undergraduate policymaking class for the Archer Center, a class she has taught since fall 2014. 

Eligibility and How to Apply

If you have been a staffer in a Congressional office or committee for 3 years or less and are interested in this seminar, please email with your CV or resume.

Health and Safety Guidelines for In Person Events

The Aspen Institute is committed to creating a safe seminar experience for all participants. Please see our COVID-19 safety guidelines here.

These guidelines will be regularly updated to meet the latest health and safety guidance of the CDC and local authorities. If you anticipate any issues or have any concerns, please contact us at

Event information
Fri Dec 17, 2021 - Sun Dec 19, 2021
James Madison's Montpelier
11350 Constitution Hwy
Montpelier Station, VA 22957