Aspen Institute Partners with Community banks of Colorado to Offer the Classics in Socratic Approach

November 5, 2007  • Institute Contributor

Aspen Institute Partners with Community banks of Colorado to Offer the Classics in Socratic Approach 

Aspen, CO. November 5, 2007—T he Aspen Institute has received funding from Community Banks of Colorado as part of its Community Touch Leadership Program to give four Roaring Fork Valley high school students the opportunity to participate in the Institute’s leadership seminar, the Great Ideas Seminar. The four-day seminar is dedicated to enhancing leadership and problem-solving skills for area high school students. Parents, students and school officials alike have enthusiastically endorsed this program, which includes students from Aspen, Basalt, Roaring Fork, and Glenwood Springs high schools, as well as Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The seminar involves students in the 11th grade.  Students are chosen by a designated official from each school.

“This seminar is modeled after our flagship program, the Aspen Seminar (formerly called the Executive Seminar),” notes Cristal Logan, the director of community programs for the Institute.  “For more than five decades leaders from around the world have come to discuss the same topics that these students will discuss. It’s really a unique opportunity and it’s right in their backyard,” she added.

The seminar incorporates the discussion and analysis of excerpts from the Great Books series with the practice of applicable leadership and problem-solving skills. The method of Socratic dialogue and the emphasis of discussion and debate allow the course to delve into the core of human values of our culture, the origins of American democracy, and what it means to pursue Aristotle’s concept of “the good life.”

“For these 25 high school students, the Great Ideas Seminar is a wonderful intellectual resource in the valley. We hope that the students challenge themselves with the ideas discussed to see themselves as future community leaders,” added Howie Mallory, Executive Vice President of Community Banks of Colorado-Aspen.

Moderated in traditional Aspen Institute Socratic style by expert moderator Lee Bycel, students read selections by such authors as Mortimer J. Adler; Plato; Aristotle; Hobbes; Confucius; Mary Midgley; Wole Soyinka; Arthur M. Okun; Rousseau; Rachel Carson; Tocqueville; Thucydides; Machiavelli; Vaclav Havel; Virginia Woolf; and others.

For more information, please contact Ms. Cristal Logan at 970/544-7929 or at

The four year Community Banks of Colorado Leadership Program is designed to provide leadership training to individuals who will positively impact their communities. The Leadership Program will require intensive academic, programmatic and community service participation.  In order to ensure that students are able to focus their attention on developing crucial leadership skills, the program will fund tuition, room and board for recipients who have applied for the Colorado College Opportunity fund. This will be the second year that Community Banks of Colorado is offering scholarships to graduating seniors.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership programs in Africa, Central America and India.


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