Alumni Activities 2018

Reunion of 2018´s Leadership Class

Leadership Seminar Group No. 23 just couldn’t get enough of one another! On December 19, 2018, the group followed State Secretary Christiane Wirtz’s invitation to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. They enjoyed a guided tour before heading over to Gendarmenmarkt to enjoy some Glühwein and conversation on one of the city’s most famous Christmas markets.  

American-style Thanksgiving Dinner with the Harvard

Alumni Club and German Stanford Association

Happy Turkey Day! On November 22, 2018, the Aspen Leadership Program, the German Stanford Association and the Harvard Alumni Club hosted an American Thanksgiving Dinner, complete with the traditional main course: turkey. However, the evening not only featured good food and celebration. Prof. Amir Eshel of Stanford University, Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies, and Dr. Thomas Sparr, director of the Suhrkamp Verlag publishing house, discussed the recently published book “Zeichnungen”, featuring Gerhard Richter’s “Birkenau” cycle and a series of poems written in accordance by Amir Eshel. The conversation was moderated by Rüdiger Lentz, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany. Pianist Shihyun Lee’s performance of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s “Lieder ohne Worte” rounded off the evening. 

Leadership Alumni Workshop with SAP on values-based

Leadership in the Digital Era

On November 20, 2018, the Aspen Leadership Program was delighted to host a workshop on the topic: “Are we surrendering values-based leadership to digitalization?”, initiated by Dr. Kay P. Hradilak, Aspen Leadership Alumnus, Member of the Friends of the Aspen Institute and Business Chief Consultant for SAP Germany. Digitalization is the new epicenter of our workplace and society. Algorithmic assessments are constantly gaining importance in the recruitment, evaluation, and leading of personnel. Quantitative optimization and efficiency are a permanent priority. Are they slowly advancing to becoming an end in themselves? Should there be “lines in the sand” regarding digitalization? Is machinelike efficiency the goal of employee management? In short, what would we consider to be an ideal relationship between digitalization and values-based leadership? These and many other questions were discussed in an interactive format in the AppHaus Berlin. 


Alumni Talk about Inner Leadership in a Digital World

Together with 7Mind

Leadership in the everyday has many faces. It includes not only goals, visions, and values, but also direct human contact and interaction. To demonstrate leading qualities, one must also learn not to neglect one’s own personal needs. Our daily routine usually leaves little room to reflect our needs and our inner leadership. How do we successfully include rest and awareness into our extremely full agendas?

These and many other questions led Jonas Leve and Manuel Ronnefeldt to found 7Mind, a Berlin start-up which seeks to integrate awareness and peace into our (digital) lives via meditation. On October 10, 2018, they presented us with their findings and demonstrated practical exercises for every day in the Digital Hub Cologne. Together, we discussed and experienced first-hand how meditation and awareness regarding ourselves can be the cornerstone for better values-based leadership. 

Discussion with our Leadership Alumnus and Board of
Trustees on US Foreign Policy under the Trump
Administration and its Implications for Western Values

On September 4, 2018, the Aspen Leadership Program and Till Staffeldt, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Leadership Seminar alumnus, were pleased to host a moderated dialogue on the topic „First-ism vs. Multilateralism: Donald Trump’s Revolution of Foreign Policy and its Implications for the Western Community of Values“ with Omid Nouripour, Member of the German Bundestag, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, Editor for Foreign Policy, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Dr. Gunther Hellmann, Professor for Political Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt and board member of the Friends of Aspen.
Donald Trump’s presidency marked a radical rupture in transatlantic cooperation and communication. The increasing loss of trust in US decision-makers has caused many to perceive this moment as decisive for the future of Europe and Germany within it. How will and should Europe position itself on the international stage? These and many other questions were discussed in the Villa Bonn in Frankfurt am Main.


Alumni Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Anja Mihr on

human-rights based Leadership

On June 21, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a Leadership Alumni Brown Bag Lunch on the topic „Is human rights-based Leadership possible?“ with Dr. Anja Mihr, Aspen Leadership Seminar alumna, founder and director of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Center on Governance through Human Rights.

Dr. Mihr presented our Alumni some of the most revealing ideas on human rights-based governance beyond state institutions. If it is true that parliamentarian democracy and national constitutions have significantly failed to face challenges caused by climate change, migration, globalization or cyber war; and if state institutions are no longer guardians of social welfare, security, equality and justice, what kind of governance regime may fill the gaps and replace the state? During this brown bag lunch, we will discussed some of the emerging concepts on how global values and human rights norms have dramatically changed our understandings of leadership, governance and management. 


Meet and Greet at the Pan Am Lounge with the

Leadership Class of February 2018

The Aspen Leadership class of February 2018 met at The Pan Am Lounge on June 17, 2018 on the occasion of a follow-up Meet & Greet event. A particular thanks to owner Natascha Bonnermann, who hosted the get-together in an entirely unique, exclusive event venue at the heart of West Berlin. Once a place of leisure for pilots and stewardesses in the employment of the legendary Pan American World Airways as well as a rendezvous for a whole host of international jet-set guests from the worlds of entertainment and politics, the Pan Am Lounge embodies the spirit of optimism integral to the West during the 1960s and throughout the Cold War era. Pristinely restored down to the smallest detail of its furnishings and interiors, the tenth-floor penthouse Lounge with panorama terraces overlooking the capital city conserves and champions the valuable memory of this important era. This unique atmosphere made the reunion for our Alumni an unforgettable evening. 

Aspen Leadership Philosophy Roundtable
in Frankfurt am Main

On May 25, 2018, the time had come: Former Leadership Seminar participants coming from Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Cologne gathered for a philosophical roundtable which took place – for the first time – outside of Berlin in Frankfurt am Main. Starting from an excerpt of Democritus the Villa Bonn provided the optimal space not only to talk about values-based leadership but also about ethical issues such as true cognition, adequate human behavior, and the influence of happiness, justice, and humanity in daily life.


The Aspen Institute Germany and The Next We gather

to draft a Manifesto on Future Leadership

The Aspen Institute Germany and TheNextWe initiated the drafting of a Manifesto for Leadership-Mindset-Change. Leadership Alumna Insa Klasing (class of Nov. 2017), CEO & Co-Founder of TheNextWe, a Berlin based Startup driving mindset-change, kicked off a joint dialog on "Renewing deeply held leadership values in an ever faster changing world". The result is a manifesto for a future leadership culture consisting of five core values that will adapt Germany's competitiveness in times of big data, artificial intelligence and automation to upcoming challenges.


Meet & Greet with our Aspen Leadership Class 2017

On May 5, 2018 the Aspen Leadership class of November 2017 had its first Meet & Greet in a special and non-traditional environment: on boat! A very special thank you to Dr. Friedrich Kuhn, who hosted the class on board and drove through Berlin. The unique location was perfect for giving our Leadership Alumni time for fruitful exchange and networking. 

Joint Alumni Get-Together on Digital Culture

in the United States and Germany

On April 19, 2018, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted for the first time a joint get-together with the alumni of the Aspen Leadership Program and the “Bundestag and Congress Staffers Exchange”. In a discussion with Tyson Barker, Program Director and Fellow at the Aspen Institute Germany, Steven Hill, Journalist-in-Residence, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) and Stephan Humer, Head of the Department of Internet Sociology, Hochschule Fresenius – University of Applied Sciences talked about „The Digital Culture in the United States and Germany”. Steven Hill and Stephan Humer discussed the differences within the German and American society regarding digitalization. The discussion particularly addressed the cultural reasons of the different development in both countries as well as the future vision of digitalization.


Book Presentation with our Leadership Alumni Andreas Krebs

and Paul Williams at Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus

On January 22, 2018, Andreas Krebs, Managing Director at CologneInvest, and Paul Williams, Managing Partner at Paul Williams & Associates, presented their new book “Die Illusion der Unbesiegbarkeit: Warum Manager nicht klüger sind als die Incas vor 500 Jahren“ at Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus. In a conversation with Rüdiger Lentz, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany, the two internationally experienced managers discussed the crucial components of lasting business success, the reasons for sudden failures, and how leaders can succeed in keeping organization on course for further success.