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Friends of Aspen Programs

Friends of Aspen members participate in and help shape the Institute’s activities through several specific initiatives, during which they hold closed-door debates with Institute members and representatives from the institutional, business, and academic spheres.

The topics discussed vary widely, thereby exposing members of the group to multiple viewpoints and different perspectives, with some of the more recent issues covered including:

  • the positive economy and the circular economy;
  • technological innovation and its impact on businesses and on people’s lives;
  • the Made in Italy brand and raising its international profile;
  • culture and art viewed from various standpoints; and
  • cities and urban living models for systematically and comprehensively addressing the challenge posed by the interdependence between cultural, social, and economic factors.

A selection of pertinent texts and documents along with previously unpublished material is specially compiled and sent out to participants in advance of events, while other reading matter is handed out during events to delve further into and expand on the topics discussed.

At least five events are scheduled every year: the Annual Conference, usually held in June, and the group’s annual Meeting, which takes place in the fall, often feature international guests to add even further breadth to the discussions, and the Half-day Workshops, at least three each year, which are often hosted by an organization represented in the group and offer the opportunity to share one’s own personal or business experience as a constructive and informative example. Whenever possible, the examination of the topic explored is rounded off by a visit of the locality or organization that has hosted the workshop.

Lastly, there are also Breakfast Talks, short and unstructured breakfast sessions devoted to sharing the content of the Institute's international conferences, which are summed up by a member of the group who attended, for the benefit of other members who did not take part.

The frequency of these events and the possibility they afford for further exploring certain issues over a period of years has allowed the group to track their evolution, observing changes over time in the values, rules, culture, and people that drive business, as well as in the ability of Italian firms to operate in a global market.