The second edition of the Leadership & Values Seminar took place at Chateau Mcely from January 23 to 25, 2020. During the two-day text-based discussion seminar participants were challenged by questions about the sources and roots of their values and the way how to apply them. The dialogue was based on readings from the classics of the world’s spiritual heritage to modern authors, which gave participants the opportunity to return to the roots of European thought, to reflect of the role of values and virtues in society, to understand the tension between ideas and material needs competing in a globalizing world, and in the context of present-day Central Europe.
The Aspen Institute branches around the world organize such seminars on value-based leadership for leaders to whom they offer the opportunity to discover new perspectives through dialogue and critical discussion. Leaders from politics, business, academia and the arts debate texts by philosophers, sociologists or politicians, focusing on the values of leadership and the way how to apply them.
The first module, moderated by Filip Karfík, professor of ancient philosophy in Fribourg, was dedicated to Classical Values: Law, Freedom, Virtue, Happiness. Participants discussed how we perceive the ideas of law and justice, virtues and wisdom based on readings of texts by Greek philosophers such as Aristoteles, Plato, Solon and others.
Marek Procházka, founding partner at PRK Partners, led the second part Leadership Issues in Business as an Oxford-style debate with groups arguing for or against free market, regulations, diversity in business and social responsibility of corporations, encouraging the leaders to think out of the box and beyond their believes to try and understand concepts from other school of thoughts.
In the third session, Michael Žantovský, executive director of the Václav Havel Library, introduced the debate Common Central European Roots by defining features of Central Europe and its heritage based on themes arising from texts by the prominent thinkers of the 20th century as Leszek Kolakowski, Czeslaw Milosz, György Konrád, Václav Havel, Milan Kundera, Jan Patočka and T. G. Masaryk. The debate revolved about inferiority and superiority of Central Europeans.
In the concluding session Lessons to Central Europe, moderated by Jiří Schneider, executive director of Aspen Institute CE, the text by Viktor Orbán, Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev inspired the participants to appeal in turning the discussion about values into actions with an impact.