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The Aspen Institute Italia Seminar on Values and Society

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        The Aspen Institute Italia Seminar on Values and Society, inspired by the traditional and much-acclaimed central program of the Aspen Institute in the United States, has been held in memory of Ennio Presutti since 2007.

        The event, which is held in English, is for Aspen Institute Italia members, Friends of Aspen, Aspen Junior Fellows, young foreign leaders and a selection of external figures who, in exploring and discussing works by classical and contemporary authors, debate the great universal values and their relevance to current issues. The seminar focuses on five themes:

        1. human nature and society;
        2. tensions in society;
        3. differences between and within societies;
        4. the limitations of rules;
        5. leadership and civil society.
        A moment in the seminar
        A moment in the seminar
        The moderators
        A moment in the seminar
        A moment in the seminar


        The seminar is residential, with a maximum of 25 participants, from a broad range of geographical, generational and professional provenance. The variety of approaches and points of view promotes the internationalization of business and cultural leadership and sparks debate among different cultures, in an effort to identify and to enhance common ideas, knowledge, skills and interests.

        The seminar sets out not to achieve unanimous answers but to highlight the complexity of phenomena in the contemporary world and to stimulate the kind of in-depth cultural exploration that can generate universal values and ideals capable of inspiring modern, aware leadership. The debate is promoted and guided by expert Aspen Institute moderators.

        The debate – on works by such classical authors as Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Confucius, Rousseau, Bacon and Hayek – promotes an examination of the sources for an innovative methodological and conceptual approach. The analysis of contemporary authors such as Martin Luther King, Vaclav Havel and Paul Rusesabagina sparks a debate on the challenges facing us today and highlights the aspects of those challenges’ growing interdependence. The performance by participants of part of Sophocles’ Antigone offers an additional opportunity for synthesis and reflection on ethical issues and on the clash between moral and civil law.