Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
We understand that living our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is not work for one time, but for all time, for the good of all and in service to the enduring mission of the Aspen Institute.
The Aspen Institute was founded in 1949 in a moment of humanistic optimism after a period of world war, genocide, and nuclear devastation. In the year after our founding, our first Trustees stated that the essence of the Institute’s ideals “is the affirmation of [human] dignity.”
Our enduring purpose, in the service of human dignity, is to drive change toward a free, just, and equitable society—domestically and around the globe. This requires us to live the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in everything we do.
Fulfilling our mission also means working to better understand and acknowledge America’s long history of racism and systemic injustice and embracing our responsibility to address and transform these realities both within our organization and in society at large. We must continually examine our history, internal culture, and practices, and are committed to holding ourselves accountable. Our mission calls on us to recognize, value, and celebrate the identities, experiences, agency, and perspectives of all people. By fostering a community of diverse talents, voices, and backgrounds—which requires constant commitment—we live and renew our mission and values.
To achieve our mission, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism across our myriad endeavors—from program design, policy development, convenings, network-building, and leadership initiatives to internal matters such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff.
This commitment is both deeply enriching and unavoidably challenging, requiring inclusive dialogue, open-mindedness, reflection, evaluation, and change on profound matters of identity and justice. The steps needed for progress are not always clear and people of principle may not always agree about the best path forward. Bias, privilege, power imbalances, racism, and discrimination are pervasive factors that can be difficult to confront—within society, within institutions, within others, and within ourselves. Meeting this challenge requires leadership, staff, and all members of our community to engage thoughtfully with one another and always promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. Doing so enhances both the impact of our work and the quality of our workplace.
As a result, we understand that living our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is not work for one time, but for all time, for the good of all and in service to the enduring mission of the Aspen Institute. We embrace this commitment to addressing injustices with humility, optimism, and determination—now and always.
Dan Porterfield, President and CEO
and the Senior Executive Team