past event

2023 Socrates Benefit Dinner

We were delighted to come together for the 27th and Final Socrates Benefit Dinner in Aspen, Colorado on Sunday, July 9th. It was a particularly special evening, marked by the involvement of longtime and notable Socrates alumni and former staff.

The Socrates Dinner also celebrated the launch of the Leonard A. Lauder Socrates International Partners Fund (SIP) which will enable Aspen Institute International Partners’ to host Socrates Seminars abroad and to increase international attendance. The evening marked a chance to celebrate the international reach of the Socrates Program.

It was a pleasure to honor Melissa Ingber for her dedicated commitment to expanding the global reach of the Socrates Program through her service as the former Executive Director of the Socrates Program and the former head of the Aspen Institute International Partners. It also featured a conversation with Former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission Michael K. Powell.

To watch the conversation between President and CEO of the Aspen Institute Dan Porterfield and Michael Powell, feel free to watch the link below:

About the Honoree:

Melissa Ingber is Global Senior Manager at Amazon Devices and Services, where she leads the Community and Emerging Talent team. In this role, she directs academic and apprenticeship programs providing educational experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for students, especially from historically excluded communities. In 2017, Melissa was recruited by Amazon Web Services to create the AWS Institute, a think tank that brings together government, academic, and industry leaders to enlist the power of cloud-based technologies to problem-solve and innovate in areas such as education, digital skills, smart cities, health, food, and housing security.

As Vice President at the Aspen Institute, where she worked from 2008 to 2017, Melissa played a defining role in the trajectory of the Socrates program and the Institute’s international partners, leading a period of global expansion. After helping launch Aspen Mexico, Aspen Central Europe, and Aspen Kyiv, she leveraged those international partnerships to expand the Socrates program globally. While at Aspen, Melissa also served as founding Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative, an international public-private partnership that supports virtual exchange education to build global competence and career readiness skills.

Before joining the Aspen Institute, Melissa led public-private strategy and partnerships in Africa at the World Bank and held positions at the U.S. Department of State, Deutsche Bank, Soros Foundation, U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Korean Embassy.   A New Orleans native, Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and Master’s degrees in international relations at Columbia University and Central European University in Prague.

About the Event Speaker:

Michael K. Powell is the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and appointed Chairman by President George W. Bush in 2001, serving until 2005.

During his time as FCC chair, Chairman Powell oversaw the rapid transformation of communications markets into the Digital Age.  During his tenure, the Internet came into widespread commercial use, as did smartphones, Wi-Fi networks, and satellite radio.

In his current role as President & CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Mr. Powell leads one of the largest trade associations in Washington, D.C., representing the communications and content industries.  Prior public service includes being Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and served as an armored cavalry officer in U.S. Army.  In the private sector, he practiced law and was a senior advisor in a private equity firm.  Chairman Powell also served on the public boards of Cisco and AOL.

Chairman Powell serves on several nonprofit boards.  He is the Chairman of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, Vice Chairman of America’s Promise Alliance, and serves on the William & Mary Foundation Board. Powell received his bachelor’s degree in government from William & Mary and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.  He holds honorary doctorate degrees from William & Mary, Pepperdine University, and Mayo Clinic Alex School of Medicine.


Event information
Sun Jul 9, 2023
The Doerr-Hosier Center
845 Meadows Road
Aspen, Colorado