Report: Aspen Young Leaders Program 2018

The seventh edition of the Aspen Young Leaders Program was held from  March 15 to 18, 2018. Thirty-five young leaders in business, public administration, the NGO sector, the arts, media and science from Central Europe gathered in the Low Tatra mountains in Slovakia to get inspired by experienced professionals and fellow participants and to 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.

Tanja Vainio, Country Managing Director Czech Republic and Slovakia of ABB shared her personal story and experience with leadership in practice.

The discussion about populism and extremism in society was opened by Péter Krekó, Executive Director of Political Capital and AYLP first edition Alumni, preached caution when political parties confirm all your opinions.

Michał Boni, a Member of the European Parliament, spoke about emotions in modern politics and the necessity to create new trust between politicians and citizens.

In one of the workshops, choreographer Miřenka Čechová helped participants experience how to be a good leader and how to be a good follower.

James Pritts from the Center for Machine Perception at the Czech Technical University raised the question of opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence.

A debate about inclusiveness and its role in society was spurred by Martin Vavrinčík, Director of the Social Integration Program of People in Need Slovakia.

Possibilities for sustainability of prosperity in Central Europe outlined Sergiu Manea, Chief Executive Officer, Banca Comerciala Romana. After that he created a space for live discussion about social capital in the V4 countries.

In another workshop two trainers from Centrum Dohody, Lukáš Rumlena and Tomáš Mertin, encouraged participants to develop leadership through sharing. The groups of discussed some significant leadership issues and attempted to find solutions by sharing their personal experiences.

Participants in Aspen Young Leaders left the program enriched with practical knowledge and self-reflection skills. Empowerment workshops were again among the many highlights of the program. Networking and informal activities, such as a visit to the steel mill in Podbrezová, were also included.

And these are some of the reactions we got from the participants of the Program:

Thanks very much to everyone in Aspen Institute CE for putting these 4 amazing days together. It felt like a different world – it was intense, fun, exciting, challenging all at once. Amazing, once in a lifetime experience that was over little too quickly.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the group, I got so much from the 4 days. I appreciate the work you are doing and hope to stay in touch as much as I will manage. I have already recommended the programme and your events to my colleagues and friends and will surely support it further, it would be nice if they discover Aspen activities for themselves too. Great work you are doing, thank you for that! :-)

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The program is financially supported by


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