Philosophy and Practice Leadership Seminar
This year’s Leadership Seminar will take place in person, from 06 – 09 October, 2022. Click here for more information.
The “Philosophy and Practice” Leadership Seminar is a cornerstone in the Institute’s efforts to create a safe space for meaningful dialogue on the essence of leading in times of crises. The seminar builds purpose-driven leadership that strengthens the individual’s moral compass and sense of responsibility throughout all sectors of society.
By bringing together high-level leaders from politics, business, non-profit organizations, and academia, the participants learn to reflect upon challenges for their own leadership style. The essence of value-based leadership is developed through peer feedback sessions between the participants, thorough academic study with distinguished moderators, as well as external input from high-level decision-makers making difficult decisions in our society today. Moral dilemmas, questions of the individual’s freedom, and societal turbulence are at the core of such contemporary leadership challenges. The seminar links philosophical discourse about values, freedom and responsibility to the individual participant’s everyday decision-making and crisis management in a safe environment.
The first Aspen Seminar was conducted in 1951, bringing together decision-makers from business, politics, academia, the arts, and civil society. Away from every-day life and with sufficient time for reflection, participants were encouraged to discover their own answers to questions posed by great thinkers and engage in an often highly controversial exchange with each other.
In 2011, the Aspen Institute Germany began to offer this unparalleled seminar in Germany. It gives high-level executives the opportunity to exchange ideas with peers from other professions and disciplines they would otherwise not likely acquaint. The leadership alumni provide each other with long-term support as they continue to advance in their careers and have a positive impact in society. With ten years of experience in hosting the “Philosophy and Practice” Seminar, Aspen Institute Germany continues to engage bright minds and establish lifelong connections between the participants and the institute. Throughout the year the alumni are granted access to exclusive events. Connecting peers, making valuable human connections, and exchanging dialogue is a lifelong task of our Institute.
The number of participants of the seminar is limited, and participation is by invitation only.
Speaker Series: Leadership in Times of Crisis
Aspen Germany’s Leadership Program is dedicated to strengthening value-based leadership in society. Through the digital “Leadership in Times of Crisis” event series, the Institute regularly engages in a dialogue with leaders from diverse sectors of society about the challenges and responsibilities they face in today’s world.
The Aspen Idea goes back to 1945, when Chicago businessman and philanthropist Walter Paepcke (1896-1960), son of German immigrants from Mecklenburg, arrived in Aspen, a sleepy town in the mountains of Colorado. Against the background of the human and moral catastrophe of World War II, Paepcke dreamed of “a place where the human spirit can flourish.”
Paepcke was a trustee of the University of Chicago and close friends with its president, Robert Hutchins, as well as with philosopher Mortimer Adler. They had a shared vision: To create a dialog platform for leaders, thinkers, and artists from around the globe, allowing them to step away from their daily routines and reflect on what makes good leaders and a good society.
Their dream came true in 1949 when Paepcke made Aspen the site for a 200th birthday celebration of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The celebration also commemorated the philosophical ties that Germany had, and continued to have, with America and the rest of the world, despite the aberration of Hitler and World War II. The twenty-day gathering attracted such prominent intellectuals and artists as Albert Schweitzer, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein, along with members of the international press and more than 2,000 other attendees.
With that celebration, Paepcke laid the cornerstone of what ultimately became the Aspen Institute. The first Leadership Seminar was conducted in 1951, bringing together decision-makers from business, politics, academia, the arts, and civil society. Away from every-day life and with sufficient time for reflection, participants were encouraged to discover their own answers to questions posed by great thinkers and engage in an often highly controversial exchange with each other.
The Seminar was inspired by the Great Books Seminar held by Mortimer Adler at the University of Chicago. According to Adler, philosophy is everybody’s business and essential to what makes us human. The idea was for the seminar to improve American society by fostering humanistic thought among important decision-makers. In the early days of Aspen, it was also perceived as an intellectual weapon in the Cold War.
The Aspen Seminar has been convening leaders from across society since then. By way of the Socratic method, they reflect on fundamental questions of the human condition to clarify their own values, become more aware of the diversity of views, and improve leadership on a personal level as well as for the greater good of society.
- Junior Program Officer
- Telefon: +49 (0) 30 804 890 28