ADL and Aspen Institute Launch Civil Society Fellowship to Help Create Next Generation of Community Leaders

April 25, 2019

Calls for Nominations Open for First Cohort of Multi-Year Leadership Development Program for Emerging Civic Leaders from Across U.S.

ADL: Stephen Cohen

Aspen Institute: Philip Javellana  

New York, NY, and Washington, DC, April 25, 2019 – ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and the Aspen Institute today announced the formation of the Civil Society Fellowship: A Partnership of ADL and the Aspen Institute, to prepare the next generation of community and civic leaders, activists and problem solvers from across the political spectrum. Civil society encompasses a broad array of concerns that requires the participation and mutual understanding of all, regardless of political labels.

Nominations for the first cohort of this multi-year, non-resident leadership training program can be submitted at

The Civil Society Fellowship will empower fellows through values-based leadership seminars, on-site learning and exposure to a diverse network of leaders to accelerate the creation of more engaged and cohesive communities in the United States. Fellows will participate in five seminars over a period of two-and-a-half to three years. Two seminars will be held in Aspen, CO or Wye River, MD in addition to three remote sessions that will take place in Europe, the Middle East and the American South. These remote sessions are core to the experience and intended to expose fellows to divergent solutions and perspectives on major issues such as immigration, social movements and economic inclusion. In addition, a required leadership venture will translate the fellows’ insights into action by challenging them to tackle a societal problem of their choosing.

“The fellowship will bring together diverse individuals from across the country and across the ideological spectrum to turn their ideas into actions that will strengthen American civil society, community leadership, and democracy,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Both ADL and the Aspen Institute share a deep concern for the core values of American democracy. By tapping into the capabilities and legacies of ADL and the Institute, this collaboration has the potential to magnify the impact of fellows to make progress on some of the most important issues facing society.”

“Our political landscape is more divided than ever, but we face challenges that demand broad-based solutions,” said Marc Rowan, philanthropist, co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and the fellowship’s lead benefactor. “The next generation of leaders needs to step back from their positions to come together, share insights and build mutual respect in a non-partisan environment that fosters new approaches and bold ideas to unite the country.”

“This fellowship represents the alignment of the Aspen Institute’s and ADL’s commitments to civic values and a working civil society,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute. “This will require the inclusion of many diverse perspectives, and great collaboration among community leaders today and tomorrow. I’m excited to launch this fellowship and equally excited about expanding it and increasing its impact in the future.”

The Civil Society Fellowship is seeking nominations for a diverse group of participants. Building on the Aspen Institute approach to leadership development, fellows will be exposed to a diversity of thought and will commit to dialogue and personal reflection. The fellowship seeks candidates between 25 and 45 years old who have already demonstrated a capacity to build a community, movement, organization or an idea. Each class will consist of 20 to 22 individuals and will span two-and-a-half to three years. Diversity is a critical goal and it is encouraged that fellows challenge one another’s ideas respectfully. Nominees that express hate or intolerance toward others based on particular ideas or identities will not be accepted.

The fellowship will be led by Nike Irvin, an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow, who will serve as managing director.

An Executive Committee is charged with oversight of the program; an Advisory Committee of national leaders representing diverse perspectives will help in recruiting nominees for each cohort.

Executive Committee:

  • Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, ADL
  • Nike Irvin, Managing Director, Civil Society Fellowship
  • Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President for Program, Ford Foundation
  • Dan Porterfield, President & CEO, The Aspen Institute
  • Marc Rowan, Co-Founder, Apollo Global Management

Advisory Committee:

  • Abdullah Antepli, Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs, Duke University & Adjunct Faculty of Islamic Studies
  • Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution Fellow & Stanford Public Policy Faculty
  • Mindy Finn, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Stand Up Republic
  • Dolores Huerta, Activist & Founder, Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • David Krone, Former Chief of Staff to Senator Harry Reid
  • Johnnie Moore, Founder & CEO, The KAIROS Company
  • Farah Pandith, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School Harvard University & Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Jonah Pesner, Senior Vice President, Union of Reform Judaism & Executive Director of the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism
  • Sonal Shah, Founder & Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact, Georgetown University
  • Trabian Shorters, Activist & Founder, BMe Community
  • Shamina Singh, President, Center for Inclusive Growth & Executive Vice President of Sustainability Mastercard

For more information on the Civil Society Fellowship and to submit nominations visit

About ADL
ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

About The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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