Report: Aspen Young Leaders Program March 2017

The fifth edition of the Aspen Young Leaders Program took place on March 2-5, 2017. More than thirty young leaders in business, public administration, the NGO sector, media, and science from Central Europe gathered in the remote reaches of Western Bohemia, to get inspired by experienced professionals and reflect on the role and challenges of leadership in today’s world.

For four days the group engaged in interactive workshops, lectures, and discussions with experts from various fields. Speakers included Natalie A. Jaresko, Former Minister of Finance, Ukraine, Milan Vašina, CEO, T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom, Branislav Kleskeň, LEAF, Yemi A.D., Choreographer, Director and Dancer. They talked about current global challenges, such as the future of the European Union, obstacles in education or the role of digital technologies in today’s societies.

Discussing the current challenges in Europe with focus on V4 were Former PM of Slovakia, Mikuláš Dzurinda, Natalie A. Jaresko, Former Minister of Finance, Ukraine and Zsuzsanna Szelényi, Member of the Hungarian Parliament.

Other guests shared their personal story and experience with leadership in practice. VIGO Investments CEO Pavel Řehák, T-mobile CZ & Slovak Telekom CEO Milan Vašina and the founder of on-line grocery Rohlí Tomáš Čupr described what it takes to build a successful company and keep enjoying your job 99% of the time.

Radka Dohnalová from ATAIRU, Managing Director of Municipal Library of Prague Tomáš Řehák and the computer scientist Tamar Newberger were discussing among others obstacles for female leaders in the world or the role of emotions for the personal leadership skills.

Education objectives or teachers’ influence on students were among the topics discussed with Bob Kartous from EDUin, LEAF Director Branislav Kleskeň and Veronika Pavlíková Klindová from Teach for Slovakia in the education lecture.

During the workshop part, the participants were able to present projects they currently work on and to discuss specific problems they encounter. The aim of the workshop was twofold: the participants got to know one another better and they could find ways of potential cooperation among each other.

For participants to get the inspiration from different sectors such as art, Aspen Institute CE invited the choreographer and director Yemi A.D. to speak about the creative approaches to leadership and the power of personal brand. Yemi’s speech was enriching and very powerful for all participants. The speech was followed by the lecture of political marketer Alexander Braun about running a successful political campaign in today’s world and importance of storytelling in the political marketing.

Last but not least the participants were challenged with the serious issue of dealing with the death and personal reflection on the topic. Irena Závadová from the Cesta Domů center, which provides expert care to terminally ill persons, was speaking about prolonging the life at all costs and modern approaches to the palliative care.

The participants came back enriched with practical knowledge and self-reflection skills as well. An empowerment workshop was again among the highlights of the program. Networking and informal activities, such as visiting the alternative space of DEPO2015 in Pilsen, were also included.

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