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Aspen Institute

Aspen Institute, formerly known as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, is dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. The Institute and its international partners promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values through seminars, policy programs, conferences, and leadership development initiatives. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It has international partners in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi. The international non-profit organization was founded in 1950 by Walter Paepcke, the chairman of the Container Corporation of America. The idea to create the Aspen Institute, an ideal gathering place for thinkers, leaders, artists, and musicians, was drafted in 1945. As an initial step to make the dream real, Walter Paepcke organized an international celebration to mark Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's 200th birthday at Aspen. It attracted several prominent intellectuals and artists and also paved the way for internationally renowned festivities such as the Aspen Music Festival and the annual International Design Conference. A year after this event, Walter Paepcke constructed the Aspen Institute, a dream come true. Over the years, the institute underwent tremendous changes by adding new organizations, programs, and conferences. A wide range of programs for accomplished young business, government, and civic leaders are offered through Leadership Initiatives. The Africa Leadership Initiative, Central America Leadership Initiative, Henry Crown Fellowship Program, and the Liberty Fellowship Program, are some of the programs sponsored. Additionally, the institute provides a Press Center and Bookstore. It publishes The Aspen Idea, which covers the people, ideas, and diverse goings-on of the organization. Community programs offered include free lectures, seminars for adults and high school students, book discussions, contemporary foreign policy discussions, and special events. The summer programs are designed to incorporate intellectual discussions, through classes and lectures, as well as spiritual pursuits through music and festivals. The organization supports policy programs that explore a wide range of topics such as international peace and security, democracy and citizenship, economic opportunity, social innovation through business, the nonprofit sector, and community initiatives for children and families.