A Place Where the Human Spirit Can Flourish
In the years immediately following World War II, Chicago businessman and philanthropistWalter Paepcke was inspired by philosopher Mortimer Adler’s Great Books seminar at theUniversity of Chicago to create in Aspen, Colorado, “a place where the human spirit canflourish.” In 1950, he established the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar to help businessleaders look with fresh eyes at their lives, their work, and the world of which they were a partin order to become “more self-aware, more self-correcting, and hence, more self-fulfilling.”Today, the vision and reach of the Aspen Institute extend far beyond its original roots.In policy programs, seminars, public events, and new leadership initiatives around the world,the form and force of the Institute have grown to confront contemporary challenges and mat-ters of collective concern. But in all of its work since its inception the Institute has remainedcommitted to the power of thoughtful dialogue, enduring human values, nonpartisan research,and the search for common ground.Over the years the Institute has attracted statesmen, CEOs, Supreme Court justices,technology pioneers, scientists, scholars, Nobel laureates, artists, musicians, and other lead-ers, all of them seeking to resolve dilemmas, advance policy solutions, examine the socialand moral values underlying human problems, and strengthen their own capacity for self-knowledge and mutual understanding. Like the individuals who founded the Aspen Institute,they want to bridge the gap between the ideal and the real.Since its creation more than half a century ago, the Aspen Institute has rarely stood still. At a time of great change and transformation, it continues to try to anticipate and shape thecourse of that change, serving as a place where major social concerns can be clearly seen,debated, and examined from different perspectives, all in the interest of the public serviceand a better future.