What Participants Say about the Aspen Seminar
“I am convinced that the week I spent at the Executive Seminar was the most profoundly transformative experience of my adult life. The Seminar challenged fundamental aspects of my worldview in a magnificently executed fashion that felt incredibly natural as the week progressed. I’ve pledged my life in service to our great nation and the values it represents, but until attending the Seminar, I could not intelligently articulate what those values were, or how, when, and why they are in conflict. I can think of no finer experience to impart to those who earn the privilege of leading our men and women in uniform. I find it hard to express the depth of my gratitude to the Lauder family and thank you profusely for funding such an incredible gift.”
-Lt Col Mason Dula, Lauder Scholar
“The dynamic of the group was an important catalyst for this reflection, during our formal sessions, but also in our more informal time during meals and on hikes. Our group included business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and educators, and as such offered a variety of perspectives. These perspectives – which as the CEO of a business I don’t often get – confirmed some of my hypotheses, but also challenged me to think more expansively. This has impacted many of the decisions I have since made, both in how I spend my time personally, and in the hopes I have for my business.”
-Russell Richmond, CEO, Objective Health
“I took the Executive [Aspen] Seminar more than 20 years ago and it changed my life. It challenged me to think about fundamental ideas in new ways, and it began my long affiliation with the Aspen Institute. It’s that experience that brings me back to Aspen every year for more.”
-Wolf Blitzer, CNN
“Excellent value relative to the week investment of time….To my mind, this is the definitive course on leadership.”
William Wrigley, Jr., President and CEO, William Wrigley, Jr. Company
“Participants in the seminar were not provided with clear-cut, prescriptive solutions to the challenge of leadership. Indeed, the very nature of the endeavor ensures that what each participant contributes to the seminar, and takes away from it, will be as varied as the range of challenges the modern world presents to those who exercise leadership. What the seminar provided was a better appreciation of the complexities of human thought and the fact that disagreements over goals and the ways in which they are to be pursued are rooted in the nature of man.”
-Ethan S. Rafuse, a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and author, editor, or co-editor of eleven books (Read his full testimony on the Wharton Leadership Program website)
“It is uncanny that the same existential questions that mankind has wrestled with for millennia are at the root of many of modernity’s issues. We did not study the past at the Aspen Seminar, we learned about ourselves. And just as many before us, each of us must evolve the conversation by making our unique, personal contribution to it.”
Theodore R. Johnson, writer, former White House Fellow and naval officer (Read his full testimony on the Aspen Idea blog)
“In the 1990’s, when I was at the State Department, I had the opportunity to participate in the Aspen Institute’s premiere week-long Aspen Seminar in Colorado. The seminar is specifically tailored for corporate and other top leaders. The focus is leadership and community. I must say, looking back, that week remains a remarkable highpoint for me, a fascinating, informative experience that has had significant impact on me and my leadership skills.”
–John Wolf, President, Eisenhower Fellowships, Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary of State.
Michelle Brafman identifies the Aspen Seminar experience in Politics Daily.
Former Wall Street Journal publisher and columnist L. Gordon Crovitz recommends the Aspen Seminar in his 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.
New York Times correspondent Andrew Revkin comments on the contemporary relevance of the Aspen Seminar.
“It gave me goose bumps….I was absolutely enthralled.” More on humanistic learning and Socratic goosebumps in Aspen:Part I and Part II.
Yoshito Hori, Chairman and CEO of GLOBIS Group; President, Globis University, Managing Partner, Globis Capital Partners
“[The Aspen Seminar] helped me better understand my own government decisions and actions….I recommend the Aspen Seminar to everyone.”
-Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
For anyone in business, government, or the media, these seminars provide the depth, insight, and context to think better and work smarter. Great books, great ideas, great discussion-great experience.
-Jonathan Alter, Senior Editor, Newsweek
[The Aspen Seminar] imposed the discipline I needed to read and think. It provided me the gift of other bright and passionate people with whom to explore ideas. Invaluable!
-Barbara Dyer, President, Hitachi Foundation
I fully expect that the [Aspen Seminar] experience will turn out to be one of the most significant events in my life. It is rare for executives to take time out…to purposefully consider their goals in the context of a broader society….The [Aspen Seminar] set me on a path that I consider to be worthy and exciting.
-Lynn Utter, Chief Strategy Officer, Coors Brewing Company