The ASG Rising Leaders Program


The Aspen Strategy Group (ASG) has been strongly committed to cultivating the next generation of leaders in national security and foreign policy—formally and informally—since its inception in 1984. In 2021, we solidified these efforts and launched the ASG Rising Leaders Program for young professionals. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and sectors, all Rising Leaders have one thing in common—their passion for national security and foreign policy. 


The selected members of the year-long class contribute to the conversation on critical foreign policy issues while honing their leadership skills at the renowned, nonpartisan Aspen Security Forum. 


​As a group, Rising Leaders exchange ideas with: world leaders; senior government officials; members of Congress; journalists; prominent thinkers and practitioners in academia, policy, and business; and Aspen Strategy Group members. The program offers an unparalleled opportunity for participants to learn from key decision makers—and each other—under the aegis of the Aspen Strategy Group. The curriculum also includes a writing workshop and the opportunity to work on a group or individual paper. The papers are edited by ASG members and then professionally published as an e-book on our website. 


The ASG Rising Leaders become part of a lifetime network of alumni, which offers the chance to further connect with other diverse and bold thinkers in national security. Over the course of their careers, Rising Leaders will be considered for Forum participation, partnership and publication opportunities, and have a lasting affinity to our public and policy programs. In line with the Aspen Institute’s mission, they will ultimately drive change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the greatest challenges of our time.

Why join the Rising Leaders Program?


Over the course of the program, participants will:

  • Develop and hone their leadership skills

  • Participate in breakout conversations and monthly meetings with high-level officials

  • Attend a writing workshop with an Aspen Strategy Group member or former ASF speaker

  • Contribute to the conversation at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, CO

  • Have the opportunity to engage with world leaders, senior government officials, members of Congress, journalists, prominent thinkers and practitioners in academia, policy, and business

  • Present and publish a relevant policy paper

  • Join a lifetime network of Rising Leaders alumni, which offers the chance to further connect with other bold thinkers in national security

Questions about the program? Please contact

Questions about sponsorships? Please contact Deb Cunningham at


Are full-time students able to apply?

Full-time students are discouraged from applying.

Do I have to be a U.S.-based citizen or permanent resident to be considered for the program?

Yes. Members of the class are required to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident AND must have primary residence within the U.S. for the length of the term.

Is there a fee to participate?

No. If you are chosen to be a member of the ASG Rising Leaders Program, there is no fee required to participate.

​Are full-time employees, including journalists, active-duty military, and government employees eligible to apply to this program?
Yes, but please be aware that any approval requirements from your employer will be your responsibility.

​Are former Aspen Security Forum Scholars or participants in other Aspen-affiliated programs able to apply?


​What if I applied to the Rising Leaders Program last year?

We strongly encourage those who were not selected in previous years to apply again for consideration.

I don't live in D.C. Will I be able to attend the events?

All in-person events will have economy transportation provided or reimbursed by the program. All other monthly meetings and workshops will be virtual.