About Socrates

View our Socrates 20th anniversary magazine piece

View our Socrates One Pager

The Aspen Institute Socrates Program provides a forum for emerging leaders from various professions to convene and explore contemporary issues through expert-moderated dialogue. Socrates also provides the opportunity for participants to enter into a diverse professional network, and into the broader range of the Aspen Institute’s programs.

Socrates seminars enable participants to explore current, pressing leadership challenges. Discussions are built around contemporary texts, and are led by expert moderators who engage and encourage participants to share their views. Seminars are designed to be values-based Socratic explorations to facilitate an exchange of ideas. At the core of Socrates is a remarkable group of emerging and recognized leaders including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, representatives of government, international, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, academics and journalists. Participants are provided ample time for interaction, relationship-building and outdoor activities outside the seminars.

Socrates programs include: weekend-long seminars in Aspen (one in the winter and one in the summer); day-long salons in major U.S. cities including New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; and custom seminars which include the Senate Socrates seminars at the Institute’s Wye River campus in Queenstown, Maryland. Past seminars topics include the US economy, bioethics, energy security, technology and privacy, the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan, religious fundamentalism, education innovation, globalization, health reform, China and America, sports and society, green investing, immigration, and sustainable communities.

Members of 2017-2018 Socrates Steering Committee:

Laura Lauder General Partner, Lauder Partners, LLC
Atherton, CA

Frank Williamson Managing Partner, Oaklyn Consulting
Chattanooga, TN

Meg Sullivan Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer, Paul Hastings
New York, NY

Peter Hirshberg Founder, Maker City Project
San Francisco, CA

Libbie Prescott Deputy Director and Chief Technology Officer, National Security Technology Accelerator
Washington, DC

Teddy Zmrhal Senior Managing Director, Salesforce
San Francisco, CA

Welby Leaman Senior Director of Global Government Affairs Walmart
Washington, DC

Ken Sawyer Co-Founder and Managing Director, Saints Capital
San Francisco, CA

Bill Resnick, MD, University of Los Angeles-California
Los Angeles, CA

Neil Jacobstein President, Singularity University
Mountain View, CA

Scott Sillers Member, Board of Trustees, Health Professions Education Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Meg Sullivan Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer, Paul Hastings
New York, NY