Spring 2024 Virtual Teen Socrates Seminar – The Power of the Human Spirit

Event information
Mon May 13, 2024 - Thu May 16, 2024
4:00pm - 6:00pm MDT
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The Aspen Institute offers its Teen Socrates Seminar to teens between the ages of 15-17 from the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond. Students convene to take part in this transformational experience and come away with a new perspective on their lives, their futures, and society.

This four-day virtual seminar is dedicated to enhancing leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking skills for high school students in a setting conducive to thought and fellowship. Students are challenged to think more critically and deeply about their values and ideas, and those that make the good society. Our proven method of text-based dialogue offers participants a neutral forum in which to reflect on timeless human values, pursue common ground, and cultivate a richer understanding of the human condition. Participants emerge from the seminar with a new perspective as they confront the difficult choices of our ever-changing world.

Each seminar convenes a diverse group of students for lively, intensive roundtable discussions led by a skilled moderator. Classic and contemporary texts reflecting the breadth of human civilization form the starting points of a rich conversation in which the questions posed by the group are frequently as illuminating as the varied, timeless wisdom of the texts.

Moderated in the Aspen Institute Socratic style by expert moderator Allyson Breyfogle, students read selections by such authors as Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Mary Oliver, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.

The Aspen Institute is committed to bringing together students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which adds depth and richness to the dialogue. Thanks to the generosity of the Wall Family Foundation, we are able to offer scholarships to those in need of financial assistance.

A past high school participant wrote, “The experience I had at this seminar is almost indescribable. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I will carry this wisdom and passion for knowledge with me for the rest of my life. Thank you!” 


The Power of the Human Spirit

Monday, May 13
Session I: Creation and Destruction
4:00-6:00 pm MDT

Tuesday, May 14
Session II: Adventure and Rest
4:00-6:00 pm MDT

Wednesday, May 15
Session III: Treasures and Loss
4:00-6:00 pm MDT

Thursday, May 16
Session IV: Time and Eternity
4:00-6:00 pm MDT

Fee: $50, includes all sessions and readings. Scholarships are available. Registration is now open here

All sessions will take place on Zoom. Registered students must commit to attending all four days of the seminar. 


About the Moderator

Allyson Breyfogle has spent her career in public education as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and clinical professor of education in urban districts. 

Born in New York City but raised in France, Breyfogle earned her Baccalaureat in Literature and Philosophy before studying as an undergraduate at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, and at the University of Colorado – Boulder, where she earned a B.A. in English Literature and a Certification in Elementary Education. She received her M.A. in Literacy, with a K-12 Reading Endorsement, from the University of Colorado and earned her Principal License from the University of Denver Ritchie Program.  

In 2010, Breyfogle received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, allowing her to spend six months in India at the Regional Institute for Teaching–Mysore, working with teachers, teacher-educators, and future teachers. As part of her Fulbright grant, she lectured across India and conducted over 70 video interviews on the purpose of education in a globalizing world. She has given numerous presentations at professional meetings, co-directed a grant on teaching social studies using the Socratic discussion method, and has moderated professional development seminars for K-12 teachers. She has also developed and moderated seminars for middle school students, using selections from classic and contemporary texts to spark deep discussions about character and core values. 

In addition, Allyson previously served as a consultant for the Children’s Literacy Initiative and for the International Rescue Committee for whom she wrote curriculum for schools in Niger. She currently works as a transition coach, helping people gain clarity in times of transition.