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The Aspen Institute Italia Seminar on Values and Society

In memory of Ennio Presutti *

2007 saw the inauguration in Italy of the Aspen Seminar on Values and Society, based on the widely-acclaimed Aspen Seminar program that has been a cornerstone of the Aspen Institute tradition in the United States

Conducted in English, the initiative is aimed at Aspen Institute Italia members, Friends of Aspen, Aspen Junior Fellows, young leaders from abroad and other interested persons. Based on an analysis and discussion of works by classical and contemporary writers, the participants engage in debate on the great universal values and their relationship with the burning issues of today. The seminar agenda is structured along the lines of the initiative’s five focus topics:

  • human nature and society
  • social conflict
  • differences within and between societies
  • regulatory limitations
  • leadership and civil society

Around 25 people participate in each seminar. The debate is significantly enriched by the diversity of the geographic, personal and professional backgrounds of the participants, which contributes towards cultivating an international outlook on entrepreneurial and cultural leadership and promoting open discourse between different cultures, with the aim of identifying and building on shared ideas, knowledge and interests.

The purpose of the seminar is not to arrive at agreed solutions, but rather to highlight the complexity of contemporary world phenomena, and to stimulate the kind of in-depth cultural analysis which gives rise to the emergence of universal values and ideals capable of inspiring a modern and informed approach to leadership. The discussion is prompted and guided along by expert Aspen Institute moderators.

Debating readings from classical authors such as Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Confucius, Rousseau, Bacon and Hayek encourages an exploration of the sources for an innovative methodological and conceptual approach, whilst the analysis of texts by contemporary writers such as Martin Luther King, Václav Havel and Paul Rusesabagina elicits discussion on present-day challenges and highlights aspects of their growing interdependence. The performance by participants of extracts from works such as Sophocles’ Antigone also provides a further opportunity to recap and reflect on ethical issues and the conflict between moral and civil law.

The seminar is a residential event, it's generally held in the spring each year (from 6pm on a Thursday to 1pm on the following Sunday).

Aspen Institute Italia advises that those expressing an interest in participating will not automatically be entitled to receive an invitation. The Institute reserves the right to approve any such requests based on available spaces.

The seminar participation fee covers the cost of meals, overnight stays, reading material, documentation, and taking part in communal activities.

For information or to express interest in participating in the seminar, please contact:

Francesco Leopardi Dittaiuti

Phone: +39 06 4546891


* Co-Founder and former Vice Chairman (Treasurer) of Aspen Institute Italia; President, Friends of Aspen