past event

SOF Symposium: Leadership and Values in an Election Year: Principles and Policies for a Good Society

Join us as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Aspen Institute by returning to the fundamental question that inspired our founding: what constitutes the “good society?” Looking back through history to the intellectual pursuits of ancient philosophers and brilliant contemporary leaders, we will reflect on the values we hold dear, as individuals and collectively, and the promise of our future. In an era of unprecedented and fraught partisanship, cultural division, and global unrest, all intensified by the 2020 elections in the United States, there is no better time to convene for this important dialogue on how we can achieve the “good society.”

Curated exclusively for members of the Society of Fellows, this symposium will use early and modern texts to facilitate a highly participatory dialogue that grapples with important and timely questions. Led by longtime Executive Seminar moderator and Managing Director of Executive Leadership Seminars at the Aspen Institute Todd Breyfogle, this three-day program will challenge perspectives, expand philosophical horizons, and illuminate the fundamental questions we should continually ask ourselves, especially in this notable election year.


Todd Breyfogle is managing director of the Executive Leadership Seminars for the Aspen Institute, overseeing a number of seminar offerings, including the Aspen Executive Seminar on leadership, values and the good society—since 1950 the heart of the Aspen Institute’s humanities-based executive leadership development programs.

Breyfogle moderates seminars for the Aspen Institute and has published and lectured widely on the great books, political philosophy, theology, literature, and liberal education. He serves on several non-profit boards, is a recipient of research and curriculum grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arts and Humanities Research Board (UK), and the Templeton Foundation, and is editor emeritus of The American Oxonian, the quarterly publication of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. He is the editor of Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern (University of Chicago Press, 1999), co-editor of Philosophy, Politics, and the Conversation of Mankind (Colorado College, 2016), and author of “On Creativity, Liberty, Love and the Beauty of the Law” (Bloomsbury, 2017). Before joining the Aspen Institute, Breyfogle was a Fellow and Program Officer at Liberty Fund (where he gained extensive experience organizing and facilitating great books discussions) and taught in and directed the Honors Program at the University of Denver. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the Iliff School of Theology and as a visiting lecturer in philosophy and religion at the University of Tulsa. He has lectured at universities in the US, UK, Canada, Romania, and India, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Dartmouth, Concordia, Wesleyan, and the University of Chicago. He currently chairs the board of the American Academy for Liberal Education, serves on the board of the Alliance for Liberal Learning, and in 2012 was elected to the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In 2015 Todd was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to the Order of St. John, an 11th century Order of Chivalry of the British Crown.

A Colorado native, he earned his B.A. at Colorado College (Phi Beta Kappa) in Classics-History-Politics. He attended Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), where he read Ancient and Modern History and Patristic and Modern Theology. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought (as a Century Fellow and Javitz Fellow).

Event information
Tue Feb 18, 2020 - Fri Feb 21, 2020
Aspen Meadows campus
Aspen, CO