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|Type||Research institute, think tank|
|Headquarters||1 Dupont Circle NW Suite #700|
President & CEO
The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1950 as the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies. The organization is dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues". The institute and its international partners promote the pursuit of common ground and deeper understanding in a nonpartisan and nonideological setting through regular seminars, policy programs, conferences, and leadership development initiatives. The institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado (its original home) and near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at the Wye River in Maryland. It has partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Paris, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, Prague and Bucharest, as well as leadership initiatives in the United States and on the African continent, India, and Central America.
The Aspen Institute is largely funded by foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, by seminar fees, and by individual donations. Its board of trustees includes leaders from politics, government, business and academia who also contribute to its support.
On July 27, 2008, the Aspen Institute Board of Directors approved a new mission:
The Aspen Institute does this in four ways:
The Institute was largely the creation of Walter Paepcke, a Chicago businessman who had become inspired by the Great Books program of Mortimer Adler at the University of Chicago. In 1945, Paepcke visited Bauhaus Artist and Architect Herbert Bayer, AIA, who had designed and built a Bauhaus-inspired minimalist home outside the decaying former mining town of Aspen, in the Roaring Fork Valley. Paepcke and Bayer envisioned a place where artists, leaders, thinkers, musicians could gather. Shortly thereafter, while passing through Aspen on a hunting expedition, Oil industry maverick Robert O. Anderson (soon to be Founder & CEO of Atlantic Richfield) met with Bayer and shared in Paepcke's and Bayer's vision. In 1949, Paepcke organized a 20-day international celebration for the 200th birthday of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The celebration attracted over 2,000 attendees, including Albert Schweitzer, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein.
In 1950, Paepcke founded the Aspen Institute; and later the Aspen Music Festival and eventually (with Bayer and Anderson) the International Design Conference at Aspen (IDCA). Paepcke sought a forum "where the human spirit can flourish", especially amid the whirlwind and chaos of modernization. He hoped that the Institute could help business leaders recapture what he called "eternal verities": the values that guided them intellectually, ethically, and spiritually as they led their companies. Inspired by philosopher Mortimer Adler’s Great Books seminar at the University of Chicago, Paepcke worked with Anderson to create the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar. In 1951, the Institute sponsored a national photography conference attended by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Berenice Abbott, and other notables. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Institute added organizations, programs, and conferences, including the Aspen Center for Physics, the Aspen Strategy Group, Communications and Society Program and other programs that concentrated on education, communications, justice, Asian thought, science, technology, the environment, and international affairs.
In 1979, through a donation by Corning Glass industrialist and philanthropist Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. the Institute acquired a 1,000-acre (4 km²) campus on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, known today as the Wye River Conference Centers.
In 2005, it held the first Aspen Ideas Festival, featuring leading minds from around the world sharing and speaking on global issues. The Institute, along with Atlantic Monthly, hosts the festival annually.
Today, the Aspen Institute seminar programs include sessions such as Global Values and Leadership and Pursuing the Good Life.
The Aspen Institute has more than 20 policy programs that work to advance public and private sector knowledge on policy issues confronting society, convene leaders and experts from relevant fields to reach solutions. The programs explore topics such as prospects for peace in the Middle East; communications, media, and information policy; economic opportunity in rural America; social innovation through business; the nonprofit sector; creating smart solutions to help Americans save, invest and own; and community initiatives for children and families.
The Aspen Institute leadership initiatives include programs for young, government, and civic leaders spanning a number of countries. Through these programs, the Institute is identifying young men and women between the ages of 30 and 45 who have already achieved a level of success and encouraging them to reach yet further.
Board members include Madeleine Albright, Javier Solana, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Mercedes Bass, Miguel Bezos, William Budinger, Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Stephen L. Carter, Cesar R. Conde, John Doerr, Thelma Duggin, Jane Harman, Yo-Yo Ma, Olara A. Otunnu, Giulio Tremonti, Vin Weber, Sylvia Earle, David Gergen, Kenneth L. Davis, Salman Khan, Shashi Tharoor, Michael Žantovský, David H. Koch, Queen Noor of Jordan, and Condoleezza Rice. Walter Isaacson is President and CEO.
|Funding details as of 2013:||