The Aspen Institute Announces the Aspen Action Forum

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July 29 – August 1, 2014
Annual event focuses on disruptive leadership 

Aspen, CO, July 28, 2014 — The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the second annual Aspen Action Forum. More than 320 attendees comprised of Fellows from the Aspen Global Leadership Network, other action-oriented leaders from Aspen Institute programs, partners, and invited participants will gather at the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, CO from July 29 through August 1, 2014. This year’s Forum will focus on participants committing to an action to proactively address challenges they see in society, with a particular theme of “disruptive leadership.” The Forum will give some of the world’s most innovative leaders an opportunity to explore disruption and how they are leading or responding to it. 

“Action Forum participants are challenging the status quo in their companies, governments, organizations, and communities to build that elusive thing that we at the Aspen Institute call a ‘Good Society,’” explained Peter Reiling, executive vice president, leadership and seminar programs at the Aspen Institute. “We are incredibly grateful to Lynda and Stewart Resnick for their leading support of action-oriented change-makers through this event.”

Woven into the design of this four-day event is programming that facilitates open dialogue, builds trust, and leads to action. Attendees participate in readings-based seminars, interactive roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, and “Action Workshops” offering counsel to those facing hurdles as they tackle big issues in their communities, countries, and the world. There will also be recognition of exceptional leaders coming out of the Aspen Global Leadership Network who are making a difference in the world through their leadership projects, with the announcement of the 2014 John P. McNulty Prize laureates.

Attendees are asked to make a formal pledge to do something about a societal challenge that moves them, be it to start something new or expand the reach on something in progress.  More than 400 Action Pledges have been made since the inaugural event in 2013.

2014 participants are already making new pledges in anticipation of the event. Here are just a few: 

  • KIRSTEN SAENZ TOBEY (United States) will improve access to healthy food and healthy habits among over 250,000 students in underserved US communities by 2016.
  • KC HARDIN (Panama) will help the four gangs in Panama City, Panama, demobilize and integrate into formal society in the next two years.
  • ALICE RAY (United States) will provide 50,000 teens and 25,000 veterans access to PocketBuddy, an app that provides secure, confidential motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior skill training to promote personal strengths and address negative effects of post-traumatic stress, whether in urban teens or returning military.
  • STEPHEN KEHOE (United States) will develop emerging market business models to help provide 300 million unbanked people with access to payment accounts by 2020.
  • JB SCHRAMM (United States) will work to add 10+ million more American college degree and credential holders by 2025.

Updates on Action Pledges made at the 2013 Action Forum show that many previous pledges are well on their way or are being exceeded: 

  • BETH GALANTE (United States) pledged to bring energy security to 10,000 low-income families in Louisiana by 2020. Through PosiGen Green Grants, Beth has provided energy security to more than 3,500 low-income Louisiana families by putting solar panels on their roofs, making energy efficiency improvements to their homes, and educating them on how to reduce their energy costs even further. Many have seen their energy costs slashed by more than 50 percent.
  • BRUCE ROBERTSON (South Africa) pledged to register 15,000 farming families to produce organic agriculture in previously war-torn northern Uganda. He has far exceeded his pledge registering 32,600 organic farmers. He now pledges to have registered 60,000 organic farmers by 2016. 
  • MANOJ KUMAR (India) pledged to educate 100,000 girls in India by 2020 through a program which places underprivileged girls in schools, equips them with the uniforms, books, shoes, and other needed supplies. He has reached 92,450 girls and is on track to make it to 100,000 by the end of August.

To view a full list of participants and read about more Action Pledges, visit www.aspenactionforum.org.  

The event also offers the “The Leadership in Action” series of public interviews, panels, and discussions on a variety of current topics highlighting extraordinary leaders at the Aspen Action Forum. Speakers include: Michael Sandel, author & Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor of government, Harvard University; Suzanne Malveaux, anchor, CNN; Anthony Foxx, United States secretary of transportation; and Adam Lowry, co-founder of Method. These sessions will be open to the public and video will be streamed live. Public tickets to the series are available through the Wheeler Opera House and at www.aspenshowtix.com. The full list of public ticketed events is available here. A schedule of live video can be found here

Stay engaged with the event online in many ways:

EDITOR’S NOTE: There are a limited number of press passes available to public events. To apply, please contact Jennifer Myers at jennifer.myers@aspeninstitute.org, 202-286-1680 cell.

Major funding provided by the RESNICK FAMILY FOUNDATION.

Additional sponsorship provided by: David M. Rubenstein, The Skoll Foundation, Accenture, Michael Klein and Joany Fabry, The John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation, Margot and Tom Pritzker, Gillian and Robert Steel, The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, The Ithaka Foundation, Liberty Fellowship, The Rodel Foundations, Irja Brant and Alireza Ittihadieh, The Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation. 

The Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) is a growing, worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sector — currently, nearly 1,900 "Fellows" from 48 countries — who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy, and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the dozen Aspen Institute leadership initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India, China, and the Middle East. 

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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