"One of the most worthwhile experiences in my life so far."
- Dolores Kleine-Besten, Director, Deutsche Bank AG
You can expect an extraordinary Seminar. You will enjoy the magical atmosphere of Gut Klostermühle together with 16 fellow Seminar participants from very different professional backgrounds coming together from Germany, Europe, and abroad. The Seminar is guided by two expert moderators from the U.S., the UK, or Germany.
The Seminar’s language is English. However, if you feel the need to ask a particular question in German or would like assistance with translation, one of our moderators, who is German, will be happy to help.
The Aspen Leadership Seminar provides values-based leadership. It is not a seminar about leadership management or skills. Values-based leadership emerges through an inside-out process. When we are unsure about our values, it is hard to imagine how we can stand up for our beliefs. How can we speak out if we do not know what is important to us? How can we act according to our convictions if we have but a vague idea of what they are? Leading a life that is congruent with their own beliefs and values gives leaders the authenticity and credibility that their constituents desire.
The Seminar targets decision-makers from all fields who fill leading roles within society. As leading roles come in very different shapes, with very different responsibilities, we actively seek to make our cohorts as diverse as possible. We target leaders with demonstrated open-mindedness and sensibility for the challenges of responsible leadership.
Participants emerge from the Seminar with a deeper understanding of their own values and how they translate into their leadership style and decision making. They often find the Seminar to be a life-changing experience. Participants return from the Seminar personally renewed, professionally refocused, and often with new, meaningful friendships.
The Aspen Institute provides a rich and varied Leadership Alumni Program to ensure that our alumni have the opportunity to stay connected not only with Aspen, but also with one another as well as Seminar attendees of different cohorts. Past alumni events have included moderated dialogues, philosophical debates, rooftop meet-and-greets, boat tours, panel debates, workshops, and many more.
Preparing the readings is crucial to coming fully equipped. We highly recommend that you thoroughly read the texts before arriving at the Seminar, preferably in the order outlined in the agenda. Former participants told us that working through the literature took them about five full days. We also recommend taking notes or highlighting important statements or paragraphs because the Seminar sessions are strongly text-based. The Seminar’s language is English. Therefore, it might be helpful to read the texts in English in addition to German.
No. The Seminar is a unique experience that can only be fully appreciated when participants take part in the Seminar as a whole. As the individual sessions build on one another and the group’s takeaways, the Seminar would lose its informative and reflective value by part-time attendance.
Yes. Participants or their employers must cover their own travel expenses as well as room and board on Gut Klostermühle, which is an all-inclusive package for the duration of the Seminar.
Part of the Seminar’s objective is forging new relationships as we value their worth for the reflection and questioning of one’s own stances. Outside the Seminar sessions, participants will have ample opportunity to connect with one another and exchange ideas i.e. during meals, in the evenings, or during our traditional walk around the lake.
We wholeheartedly encourage leaders without a background in philosophy to attend the Seminar, as it provides one of the few opportunities in life to engage with philosophical literature and topics and broaden one’s horizon without any prior knowledge. The Seminar sessions and discussions are deliberately based solely on the readings provided by Aspen to ensure equal opportunity for all to participate in the debate.
Seminar participants are leaders from a diverse array of backgrounds in terms of occupation, nationality, education, age, and gender. We invest a great deal of time in the process of selection of Seminar participants to ensure that everybody encounters someone they would not have met otherwise. We strongly encourage international attendees. Our Seminar participants so far have included entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, artists, managers, non-profit employees, and many more.
The Aspen Institute Germany has a fund for Leadership. It is able to provide on a limited basis different types of scholarship. Scholarship opportunities especially address participants from NGOs, the public sector, women, arts and culture, academics, and participants from the Western Balkan states and East Europe.