past event

Hurst Lecture Series | Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made

Join David Gergen, Professor of Public Service and Founding Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School; Lifetime Trustee, The Aspen Institute, and Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield, as they discuss Gergen’s recent book, Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made, which highlights the fundamental elements of effective leadership through the lives of iconic leaders past and present.
Live event, Paepcke Auditorium

Fee: $30. Tickets on sale Friday, July 15 at, or in person at the Wheeler Opera House box office.

Important Note
All attendees at Aspen Institute in-person events will be required to show they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or if they are exempt from this requirement, take an on-site COVID-19 rapid test and show a negative result before entry. For questions, please email

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You can purchase his book Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders Are Made here. Books will also be available for purchase at the event. Book signing to follow.

“[A] fascinating, multilayered book. . . . inspiring and useful . . . Few books have so much to offer readers contemplating whether to enter the arena. We should hope they heed Gergen’s compelling call to action.”—The Washington Post

“A must read for any American, young or old, who wants our country to live up to its promise. Hearts Touched With Fire is an honest, heartening owner’s manual, one that can shape fresh leaders to guide this experiment we call America. For those who wish to lead the change and restore confidence in America, this invaluable book is the roadmap.”—General Jim Mattis, U.S. Marines (ret.) & 26th Secretary of Defense

“David Gergen knows power, and he understands leadership. From his unique vantage point as an advisor to presidents of both parties—something nearly unimaginable today—he has gleaned a lifetime of lessons about how to inspire and to instruct. Hearts Touched With Fire is an invaluable guide to making things—good things—happen.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of His Truth is Marching On

David Gergen has been a leader in the public arena for more than half a century. He has served as a White House adviser to four US presidents of both parties: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. Gergen then served as the editor of US News & World Report. For the past two decades, he has served as a professor of public service and founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a senior political analyst for CNN where he is a respected voice in national and international affairs.

Dan Portfield, Ph.D., is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He previously served for seven years as president of Franklin & Marshall College. Earlier in his career, he was senior vice president for strategic development and an English professor at his alma mater, Georgetown University, and a senior public affairs official in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Recognized as a visionary leader and advocate for expanding educational opportunity and improving the human condition, Dr. Porterfield was named a White House Champion of Change in 2016. He was awarded a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities from The City University of New York Graduate Center, where he earned his PhD.

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Event information
Mon Aug 1, 2022
5:00pm - 6:00pm MDT
Paepcke Auditorium
1000 N. Third St.
Aspen, CO