Socrates Winter Seminars
The Socrates Program is excited to host our annual Winter Seminars this February 16th-19th in Aspen, CO. Seminar tuition is $2,500. Limited scholarships are available by application. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please do so here. We will be hosting three incredible seminars with new and veteran moderators. Registration for two seminars are now open. Stay tuned to learn about our exciting third seminar to be announced soon!
Our National Purpose
The United States is at an inflection point – we are more divided than we have been in decades, trust in government and institutions is at an all-time low, and talk of disunion is rising. In this time of fear, anger, cynicism, and polarization, is it possible to humanize our politics and kindle faith in the American experiment? How can we close the great gap between our country’s creed and our actual deeds? In this engaging seminar with one of the country’s leading practitioners of civic renewal, participants will grapple with what it means to be an American now and how to kindle a sense of common purpose in our fractured nation.
Moderator: Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, which works to build a culture of powerful and responsible citizenship in the United States. He also directs the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker; The Gardens of Democracy (co-authored with Nick Hanauer); You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen; and his most recent, Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy — a New York Times New & Notable Book. He has been selected as an Ashoka Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is featured on the PBS documentary American Creed and is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic. Liu served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He was later appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. He and his family live in Seattle.
Artificial Intelligence – Are We at an Inflection Point?
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly ubiquitous across society, the debate over its promise for good versus its potential for harm has amplified. AI is leading to revolutionary advances from discovering new lifesaving drugs to personalizing education. At the same time, the explosive introduction of new generative AI technologies has begun to blur the lines between truth and fiction with audio and visual deepfakes. Large language models ‘hallucinate’ with authoritative-sounding yet false information. Meanwhile, the debate rages about whether AI could ever be sentient and, if so, whether that evolution to sentience has already begun. This seminar will explore the state of AI technology today and whether we are at an inflection point for its impact on society.
Moderator: Cara LaPointe is a futurist who focuses on the intersection of leadership, technology, policy and ethics. She spent over two decades in the United States Navy, most recently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems.
The Year that Broke Politics: What the 1968 Election can teach us about 2024
The 1968 presidential race was a contentious battle between Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Republican Richard Nixon, and former Alabama governor George Wallace. In a moment of fractured politics, dominated by fear of social change with voters fearful on unrest and rising crime, voters turned to the anti-establishment Wallace. The 1968 presidential election shares many similarities with 2024: an incumbent deeply unpopular, especially in his own party. The opposition party seeking to nominate the first person who has a reasonable chance. How does democracy work when voters are deciding not on someone they love, but the least of bad alternatives? Is democracy undermined when powerbrokers collude to ensure the election is won by a candidate that suits their desires rather than the will of the people? What can we learn from the 1968 election?
Moderator: Luke A. Nichter is a Professor of History and James H. Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman University. He is a New York Times bestselling author or editor of eight books, including, most recently, The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968 (Yale University Press).
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Socrates seminar?
The Socrates Seminar is a roundtable discussion / collaborative weekend-long event for participants from different fields. Participants are asked to contribute their understanding of and reactions to carefully selected readings, with the guidance of moderators who are experts in their sector. This is not a panel discussion, nor is it a tutorial where the experts share their knowledge. The roundtable discussion format is a multilateral debate moderated by the moderator(s). The seminars are held on Aspen Meadows Resort campus.
How many seminars can I participate in?
You will register for one seminar of up to 24 participants for the entire weekend. Meals and programming will be enjoyed with the entire group which includes participants from all three concurrent seminars.
What if my preferred seminar is sold out?
Unfortunately, each seminar is capped at a certain amount and we might not be able to accommodate your request. We urge you to apply as soon as possible but if you would like to discuss the seminars further, please reach out the Socrates Team directly via email and one of our team members will assist you.
What does tuition cover?
Tuition includes seminar attendance and materials and meals during the program, which begins at 6pm on Friday evening and ends at 12 pm on Monday.
Are scholarships available?
Scholarships for tuition assistance are available through the Socrates Program. The application can be found here. Please note: Scholarships are awarded on a rolling bases. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
Can I bring a guest?
If you would like to bring a guest to join you for meals, you are welcome to for $600.00. These both can be purchased as add-ons when you register.
What transportation will be provided at the event?
If you are a guest of the Aspen Meadows Resort, they will take care of your arrival and departure transportation to and from the airport. If you are staying at an alternative location, taxis and a free local bus are available.
The Aspen Meadows offers a complimentary shuttle that runs into Aspen every 30 minutes.
What is the timing of the seminars and programming for the weekend?
You can view the tentative agenda below, which has the set times for the seminars and meals (the event locations and optional activities will be added closer to the event). To join for the whole experience, you will want to arrive in Aspen by 6pm on Friday and depart after 12pm on Monday.
In the morning until 1 pm daily, you are welcome to explore and engage with everything Aspen has to offer. We have partnered with Blazing Adventures to offer some special trips to Socrates participants.
What is the dress codes for the seminar?
Although we do not require a specific dress code, most people dress business casual and comfortable in the seminar rooms and bring something a bit more dressy for the evenings. We recommend that you dress for warmth and comfort in both the Winter and Summer. Please wear sturdy shoes that will allow you to walk through snow.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.