Report: Aspen Young Leaders Program 2022 October

Twelfth Edition of the Aspen Young Leaders Program

Thirty-four young Central European leaders gathered on October 9-12 for the Aspen Young Leaders Program happening in Tále, Low Tatras, Slovakia. This year’s twelfth edition connected leaders from the arts, sports, security, public administration, business, academia as well as the NGO sector. Young leaders appreciated the interactive dialogues and workshops, during which they shared their own stories and experiences as well as moderated discussions about today’s world challenges.

The diversity among the participants contributed to fruitful discussions, open dialogue, and exposure to new topics. The young leaders were pushed to self-reflection and although they came from different backgrounds and different countries, it was crystal clear that they shared a similar set of values. Sharing their own experiences gave an impetus to meaningful discussions about their job experiences and their missions in professional life.

The program itself was introduced by Milan Vašina, Executive Director of Aspen Institute CE, and Pavel Řehák, President of Aspen Institute CE. 

At the first session we were glad to welcome Vladimír Bilčík, who shared his expertise and his own experience about leadership in politics. The main focus was on the politics of the Central European region from the point of view of the European Union.

The second day was kicked off with a deep discussion moderated by Milan Vašina and Pavel Řehák about values-based leadership. The participants discussed what important values a true leader, in their opinion, should have. 

We consequently addressed the current economic crisis and its forecast for the near future with Zdeněk Tůma, who is a Supervisory Board Member of the Aspen Institute CE, as well as the Chair of the Supervisory Board of ČSOB and former Governor of the Czech National Bank.

In the afternoon, the program focused on media bias and a disinformation panel discussion. The speakers in the debate were Magda Jakubowska, Vice-President of Res Publica Foundation, Flóra Dóra Csatári, Journalist and Researcher and Martin Milan Šimečka, Journalist & Writer.

Later in the evening, there was a session dedicated to a discussion based on the documentary Cooking History by Peter Kerekes. The documentary focuses on the colorful spectrum of personal experiences of war-time chefs. The participants had a chance to discuss and ask about all the details with the author himself via online stream.

The next day started with a moderated discussion with Pavol Draxler, Security Manager at Binary Confidence, which focused on the topic of Technologies, Cybersecurity & Values, Artificial Intelligence, and what comes hand in hand with its utilization.

All those difficult topics which were covered in the previous days were lightened up by outdoor activities which encouraged the participants to step out of their comfort zone. Five activities with different levels of difficulty helped everyone master their resilience and decision-making skills.

The program itself was concluded by the last interactive workshop prepared by Tereza Růžičková, psychologist, researcher and mental health activist. The main focus of the workshop was to enhance mental health and mental hygiene.

Last but not least, the whole program ended with an overall evaluation session.

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