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The ASG Rising Leaders Program

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We're pleased to announce the Class of 2024!
Read more about this year's cohort here.

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 that brings together approximately 30 young professionals to contribute to the conversation on critical foreign policy issues while honing their leadership skills. 

 

​Over the course of the year-long program, participants have the unique opportunity to learn from key decisionmakers—and each other—under the aegis of the Aspen Strategy Group. The curriculum includes attending the Aspen Security Forum, participating in a multipart Gildenhorn Rising Leaders Aspen Seminar, joining discussions with preeminent foreign policy experts, co-authoring policy papers with their peers for publication, and much more. At the culmination of the program, the Rising Leaders will join a lifetime network of alumni to further connect with other bold thinkers in national security and foreign policy.

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 regular meetings with high-level officials.

  • Write and publish a policy paper.

  • Attend a writing workshop with notable journalists.

  • Contribute to conversations at the Aspen Security Forums in Aspen, CO and Washington, DC.

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

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

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Selection Criteria

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Who should apply?

  • Candidates for the program should be young professionals with approximately five to ten years of experience in their field.

  • Demonstrated interest and involvement in national security and foreign policy, diplomacy, international development, human rights, homeland security, cybersecurity, and/or other related fields.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

  • Must be able to attend meetings and events throughout the year.

Application Process

Initial Application - Applications for the Class of 2025 will open in October 2024

  • All candidates must complete and submit the application form, including one short answer essay question, a brief statement of interest, and resume/CV. All materials must be submitted by the deadline.

  • Recommendation letters should be completed and submitted by the same deadline by a professional or academic contact who can speak to the candidate’s qualifications for the program.

  • Applications will be assessed by the Aspen Strategy Group selection committee. 

 

Interview

  • Candidates selected from the initial round of applications will receive an invitation for a 15-minute interview with a subset of the selection committee.

 

Selection

  • All candidates will be notified by February on the status of their application.

  • If selected, each participant is required to submit a statement agreeing to meet all the expectations of the Rising Leaders Program.

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Questions about the program? Please contact aspenstrategygroup@aspeninstitute.org

Questions about sponsorships? Please contact Deb Cunningham at deb.cunningham@aspeninstitute.org

Frequently Asked Questions

Are students able to apply?

Full-time and part-time students are strongly discouraged from applying. We encourage applications after the completion of studies.

Is there an age limit?
This program is geared towards applicants who are within approximately the first five to ten years of their career.

I am not based in the D.C. area. Should I apply?

Yes. We strongly encourage applicants living outside of the D.C. area to apply for the program. We will provide transportation and accommodation for all in-person events. All other regular meetings and workshops will be held virtually.

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 (green-card holder) 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.

​I anticipate returning to school, changing my job, or relocating to a new city in the next year. Should I apply?

This program is best experienced by those in a settled position where you can fully commit your time and focus to the cohort. We would encourage you to apply in the future once you are in a settled role.

I see that publishing a policy paper is a part of the program requirements. Should I apply if I am not able to publish due to the restrictions of my current position?
We have had previous Rising Leaders in similar situations and are happy work with you on a case-by-case basis to offer flexible arrangements to meet the policy paper requirement.

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

Yes.

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

Those who applied previously are eligible to reapply.

Is in-person attendance mandatory?

All successful applicants must be able to attend the kick-off event in Washington, DC from March 13-15 and the 2024 Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, CO from July 16-19 and in Washington, DC in early December.

With Special Thanks To Our Supporters

The Aspen Strategy Group is deeply grateful to its friends for supporting the Rising Leaders Program. Their generosity and belief in our mission allows the ASG to continue cultivating the next generation of leaders in national security and foreign policy.

Without them, our work would not be possible.

Doug and Kim Beck

Bridgewater Associates

John and Laura Driscoll

Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn

Irene and Joe King

Leonardo U.S. Corporation

Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Ivan Schlager 

Amy and Sean Sebastian

Dawn Sinclair Shapiro and Benjamin Shapiro

Anne and Marcus Wedner

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

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