2022 Resnick Aspen Action Forum


2022 Resnick Aspen Action Forum
Emergence: Into the Future of Our Making

From July 27 – 30, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum convened more than 400 Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellows, other distinguished leaders, and young people in-person for the first time in nearly three years. The theme for the week: Emergence: Into the Future of Our Making. Days were filled with inspiration, reconnection, and commitment to tackling the greatest challenges of our time.

Find Inspiration: All Talks and Panels from the Plenaries are Available Online

We heard from inspiring leaders like Andy Karsner, Henry Crown Fellow, climate advocate, and senior strategist at Moonshot- X on the key ingredients for the leadership the world needs to solve our most intractable challenges and Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change on the pathways to racial justice in the United States.

Dar Vanderbeck, Vice President of the AGLN, gave her inaugural address to the community on the power of our collective grief and the soul tending work that is coming together at the Action Forum. There were panels on gender justice, community organizing, tensions in our shared global future, and the youth perspective on the greatest challenges of our time. Leaders and Fellows across the AGLN recommitted to impact with Action Pledges to address climate change, health equity, food insecurity, youth career development, justice, protecting democracy, and more.

We offer you highlights from the week to stay inspired. Give yourself a moment to pause and explore what was shared below.

Making Sense: What Have We Learned? | Opening Plenary

To open the 10th annual Resnick Aspen Action Forum, we will explore the experiences – both difficult and joyful – of our community from the last two years. How do we think about our personal journeys in the context of the collective experiences we’ve lived through? What have we learned about our ability to adapt? What have we learned about the human spirit? And as we strive to emerge, how do our values show up to guide us? The program includes:

  • (00:01): Opening Video featuring reflections from Fellows across the AGLN on the theme: Emergence: Intro the Future of Our Making 
  • 03:24): Action Pledges from the AGLN community to accelerate youth career development in South Carolina, increase health care access, fight food insecurity, and combat climate change through new food technology
  • (11:32): Reflections from Tommy Loper, Co-founder of the Resnick Aspen Action Forum and Vice President, Leadership Programs, Aspen Institute on 10 years of the Action Forum and the intentions for the week ahead
  • (30:20): An address by Lynda Resnick, Lifetime Trustee, Aspen Institute and Co-owner, the Wonderful Company on supporting action and impact through the last ten years of the Resnick Aspen Action Forum and her personal commitment to supporting communities in California’s Central Valley | WATCH
  • (49:30): A rapid fire talk by co-founders of Glasswing International, siblings Celina De Sola and Diego De Sola, Central America Leadership Initiative Fellows on how they’ve activated millions of volunteers in El Salvador to support basic needs like education
  • (00:58:16): Dar Vanderbeck’s inaugural address to the AGLN community as Vice President on how grief can propel the world into a better future – if we realize it is shared. Dar also reflected on the most sacred work of this community in overcoming the myth of separateness that exasperates our greatest challenges | WATCH
  • (1:10:44): A panel with Fellows from across the AGLN on the context they’re emerging into featuring Arturo Condo, President, Earth University, Central America Leadership Initiative Fellow; Tom Fisher, Author and Emergency Medicine Physician, University of Chicago, Health Innovators Fellow; Jennifer Zhu Scott, Executive Chairman, The Commons Project, China Fellow; and moderated by Margot Pritzker, Aspen Institute Trustee and Chair of Leadership Programs
  • (1:34:52): Madhu Natraj, Kamalayan Bajaj Fellow, led participants through a somatic experience to center the mind, body, and spirit

“This practice of witnessing each other, of knowing, of tending to one another’s souls in moments of uncertainty, in the in-between, at inflection points – this is the work that tills the soil for a new world to emerge.” – Dar Vanderbeck, Vice President, Aspen Global Leadership Network

Courage in Action: The John P. McNulty Prize

The John P. McNulty Prize celebrates individuals who answered a call in their own lives to consciously turn their talents and resources to creating change. We heard from the three winners of the 2022 Prize on how they’re leading to end malnutrition, spearheading the movement for guaranteed income projects, and providing essential clean water access.  In a panel discussion, the Winners also shared insights from their moments that galvanized their decisions to lead, defying conventional wisdom, and advice to overcome paralysis and move to action. | WATCH

“I like to operate in a space of what is possible, rather than what is obvious.” – Aisha Nyandoro, Ascend Fellow, 2022 McNulty Prize Winner, Founder, Magnolia Mother’s Trust

Emerging Into What? | Plenary

The foundations on which our societies, economies, and livelihoods have been called into question. Global disruptions have created a collective inflection point that presents both opportunity and peril. How do we make sense of our new contexts? How can we imagine new systems and opportunities that create more equitable outcomes? The program includes:

  • (0:00): Action Pledges by Aspen Institute Programs: for the first time, policy program leaders from across the Aspen Institute participated in the Action Forum to connect the dots between their initiatives and the work of Fellows, particularly to find alignment with Fellows’ social impact ventures. They presented Action Pledges to move the needle on meeting the greatest challenges of our time and keeping themselves accountable to the work ahead
  • (20:38): A rapid fire talk by ‘Tokumboh Ishmael, Finance Leaders Fellow, Founder, Yellow Cowries, on how she’s building financial literary skills in Nigeria through games and gaming
  • (30:18): A keynote address by Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute: Dan’s address highlighted the need for institutions to resonate with people by fostering trust and working through essential tensions – from resolving short term versus long term problems to the balance between values-based leadership and systems change. He also recognized that through dialogue and action, a staple of the Aspen Institute’s method of leadership development, there is greater connectedness and solidarity that presents a key opportunity for the Institute moving forward | WATCH
  • (45:11): A panel on the tensions and moral challenges in our shared global future: Hear from Marla Blow, President and COO, Skoll Foundation, Henry Crown Fellow; Yulia Tychkivksa, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Kiev, and Shane Tedjarati Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tribridge Group, Henry Crown Fellow and co-founder of the Middle East Leadership Initiative and Founder of the China Fellowship Program at the Aspen Institute; moderated by Dan Porterfield, President and CEO, Aspen Institute | WATCH

The Future of Gender Justice and Women’s Rights | Plenary

Around the world, women are fighting for the same things: the right for autonomy, dignity, and authorship over their own lives and livelihoods. In the United States, we are seeing the emergence of a new context for women’s rights that will have ripple effects on all other parts of society, and as we widen our aperture, we see themes in the global struggle for gender justice repeat again and again. Explore the current context in the fight for women’s rights and how freedom for those on the margins makes us all free. The program included:

  • (3:47): A panel on the future of gender rights featuring Lindi Angela Dlamini, Chief Executive Officer, GBVP Response Fund1, Africa Leadership Initiative – South Africa Fellow; Suzanne Biegel, Founder and Chief Catalyst, Catalyst at Large, Catto Fellow; Laurie Zephyrin, Vice President of Advancing Health Equity, The Commonwealth Fund, Health Innovators Fellow; moderated by Alexis Ettinger Chief of Staff and Managing Director, Aspen Institute | WATCH
  • (43:44): A talk by Jessica Sager, Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Founder of All Our Kin on the important work of supporting family child care educators

Emerging Solutions: What’s Working? What Can We Learn? | Plenary

Explore the importance of community and the idea of “allyship,” in context of solving some of our greatest problems. What happens when we move together? What can we learn when we work side-by-side with those with whom we may not completely agree, but whose values align with ours? The program includes:

  • (00:17): Action Pledges from the AGLN Community to create spaces for dialogue for rising leaders, reshape education in Central America, end the cycle of poverty in California’s Central Valley, and support victims of human trafficking 
  • (14:13): A keynote by Rashad Robinson, President, Color of Change on the pathways to racial justice in the United States, the meaning of true allyship, and changing the narrative | WATCH
  • (50:20): A panel on allyship and stepping up into community organizing featuring Sheila Marcelo, Co-founder, The Asian American Foundation, Henry Crown Fellow; Antonio Saad, Executive Director, ToDoPanama, Central America Leadership Initiative Fellow; Rashad Robinson, President, Color of Change; moderated by Heather Sonn, Africa Leadership Initiative – South Africa Fellow and Aspen Institute Moderator

Emergence: Into the Future of Our Making | Closing Plenary

The closing of the Action Forum considered “the future of our making.” What are possible outcomes for our shared destiny? How do our leadership and actions now play a role in shaping the future we all share? We will hear from those who are boldly exercising their leadership to bring about change and our rising youth leaders on their worries and hopes for the future they challenge all of us to make. The program includes:

  • (00:01): Action Pledges from across the AGLN to establish strong institutions for dialogue and leadership development in Lebanon, diversify corporate and non-profit board leadership, and a community pledge to seek justice for Fellows currently jailed in Nicaragua as political prisoners
  • (24:09): A keynote by Andy Karsner, Senior Strategist, Moonshot- X, Henry Crown Fellow on the great mosaic we are a part of and his experiences leading as a climate advocate in some surprising places – including on the board of ExxonMobil | WATCH
  • (53:51): A poetry reading and panel on the youth perspective on the greatest challenges ahead and the leadership needed to solve them with Youth Action Participants from Nigeria, Lebanon, and the United States
  • (1:30:20): Final farewell by Dar Vanderbeck, Vice President of the AGLN, and a thank you to Tommy Loper, Vice President, Leadership Programs at the Aspen Institute for his 10 years of service leading and designing the Action Forum