Our Commitment to Diversity
We understand that living our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not work for one time, but for all time, for the good of all and in service to the enduring mission of the Aspen Institute.
We are pleased and inspired to reaffirm the commitment of the Aspen Institute to the May 2016 Statement of Commitment to Diversity articulated by then-President and CEO Walter Isaacson. This statement calls upon all who are associated with the Institute to recognize and equally value “the agency and perspectives of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, or any other differentiating characteristic.”
Since our founding in 1949, the Aspen Institute has believed in and worked for a free, just, and equitable society––domestically and around the globe. We commit to working proactively to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our endeavors, from our internal organizational practices to our many programs, confident that doing so enhances both the quality of our workplace and the impacts of our work.
Authentically working to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion across all we do––from hiring and retention practices to convening design and leadership initiatives––is deeply enriching and unavoidably challenging. But we strongly believe that it is the right thing to do for the Institute and for society. We recognize that living the values of diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey that requires listening, talking, and reflecting about profound matters of identity and justice. The steps needed for progress may not be clear because unconscious bias, stereotypes, privilege, and structural discrimination are pervasive factors that can be uncomfortable to confront, within others and within ourselves.
As a result, we understand that living our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not work for one time, but for all time, for the good of all and in service to the enduring mission of the Aspen Institute.
One of the core texts in the renowned Aspen Seminar is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. We must never forget that Dr. King and all who joined him protested because the power structures of the day failed to hear, or actively ignored, the cry for justice.
It has been more than 55 years since Dr. King sat in the Birmingham jail for the crime of civil disobedience of unjust laws. So much remains to be done, and so much new work has emerged. We take heart in the final words of his timeless letter, relevant to the struggle against all forms of oppression and discrimination, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
With optimism and determination, the Aspen Institute embraces our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, now and always.
Dan Porterfield, President and CEO
and the Senior Executive Team
Our Commitment to Diversity
As a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas, the Aspen Institute is dedicated to operating in a manner that welcomes and supports diversity and inclusion in all its forms. Diversity and inclusion involves recognizing and equally valuing the agency and perspectives of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, or any other differentiating characteristic. By fostering a community of diverse voices, talents, and backgrounds, we are better able to enact meaningful change on the global stage and ensure that the opportunity for social and political impact is available to all.
To uphold these values, the Institute’s Board of Trustees, management, and staff work to promote pluralism and inclusion within the organization and its constituencies. Each person involved with the Institute’s mission has the opportunity to make an impact—regardless of gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, physical ability, or any other dimension of variation. In hiring, we seek out new and unique voices, and uphold a workplace environment of inclusivity. We recognize that in the analysis of issues and creation of solutions, it is vital to gain insight from the diverse array of perspectives of our stakeholders including staff, partners, and participants.
The value of diversity and inclusion is especially important in the work of our programs throughout the nation and world. Many of the Institute’s policy programs, seminars, and fellowships address these issues of diversity, equity and inclusion through the work they do and by engaging community relationships. Aspen programs allocate and leverage resources, including scholarships and continued engagement with underrepresented communities, to ensure broader representation and participation in our programming. We strongly believe these practices will lead to innovative solutions, new ideas, and more successful outcomes.
We are all responsible for fostering a society of open opportunity, where each person is aided by his or her capabilities and potential, and no one is disadvantaged by belonging to any particular group. At the Aspen Institute, we value the diverse perspectives of our employees, friends, participants, and the communities in which we work, and commit to doing what is necessary to ensure that diversity is a core value that underlies the fulfillment of our mission.
President and CEO