Around the Institute

A New Generation of Change

October 1, 2019  • Institute Staff

“My understanding of what a leader is has completely changed,” said Aroob Ahmad, an Aspen Young Leaders fellow from Newark at her fellowship graduation in July. “Sometimes being a leader means taking a step back and letting someone more suited take charge.” Two classes of the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship graduated this summer, one in Newark, New Jersey, and one in the Mississippi/Arkansas Delta, the first ever from that region. Aspen Young Leaders fellows complete a 15-month program exploring leadership, meeting with community innovators, and working together to address compelling issues in their home regions. The fellows put their new leadership skills into action with a group Community Impact Project. The Newark fellows (@NewarKulture) created a campaign and docuseries that focused on homelessness, environment and art, education, and immigration and xenophobia. In a documentary, the Delta fellows showcased the everyday issues youth face while also shedding light on the innovative ideas that new organizations are using to tackle them. They also held an open-mic night for youth artists and activists and created a socialmedia campaign called “Rewriting the Delta.” At the graduation ceremonies, the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship announced a new partnership with the online tutoring company Wyzant to make ondemand tutoring available to all fellows and alumni. What’s more, the fellowship program announced it will give fellows the opportunity to apply for financial resources to advance their community projects and will organize a multigenerational seminar for alumni and their families in early 2020.