Young Leaders Program

The flagship Leadership Program of the Aspen Institute Romania for the last 9 years, the Young Leaders Program, has reached its 10th edition. The 2016 Young Leaders Program will bring increased regional participation and create additional diversity and relevance for a growing Network of Aspen Fellows already covering 14 countries.

What is it about?

The Young Leaders Program gathers each year 20 high profile regional young leaders with a clear two-fold goal: to promote and advance progressive leadership within society; and to develop the regional network of Aspen Fellows, based on shared values and common interests. This Program is designed for people who have the potential, interest and determination to exercise leadership to the highest standards of civic and corporate responsibility and according to the ethical values on which Aspen is based. For this reason we offer a program which challenges people to think about the fundamental concepts on which our society is founded. It also makes participants reflect to the challenges and conflicts that leaders must face in deciding polices and strategies for their organizations and their communities in today’s world.

Who can participate?

The Program addresses people between the ages of 25 and 35 having achieved significant professional positions and accomplished results within their area of activity. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership potential, a record of initiative and entrepreneurship and a proven civic interest. We welcome candidates from: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The program consists of four modules taking place in Romania. Participants are required to have a high level of English fluency, as it is the working language of the program; the Institute will offer accepted candidates a scholarship covering accommodation, meals, moderation and reading materials related costs, leaving participants to only cover their transportation expenses.


Nominations can be made by submitting the following documentation in English: the Nomination Form, a Letter of Recommendation and the candidate’s CV together with a Letter of Motivation. The documents are to be sent to Ms. Catalina Rata, Leadership Programs Officer, at, in PDF format, by January 29th, 2016Interviews will take place February 29 – March 6 in Bucharest. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.


Module I: “The Aspen Seminar” (April 11 – 17, 2016)

A 7 day seminar modeled on the Aspen Institute Seminar in which participants discuss the concepts of political and economic thinking that have shaped modern open societies. Our proven method of text-based dialogue, used for more than 60 years around the world, offers participants a debate forum that guides their reflection on values and solidarity into successful and valuable action, as the main thrusts of societal progress. The readings spark discussions and an interest in exploring and debating topics of liberty and equality; ethics and responsibility; faith and spirituality or freedom and dissent – to name just a few. The texts and the discussions that will emerge will contribute to enhancing the ability of participants to analyze and tackle with increasingly complex and global situations. In the process, the relevance of these ideas for modern, sustainable, valued-based leadership of organizations will also be discussed.

Module II: “Modern Leadership” (June 27 – July 3, 2016)

The second module aims at facilitating the understanding of diverse leadership styles and group synergies, but at the same time providing tools for focus, execution and productivity. The module encompasses assessments of leadership skills, practical trainings in communication techniques and teambuilding activities. All the above, interlinked with a series of Socratic debates on topics of high relevance for today’s state of the world.

Module III: “Leadership Challenges Today” (September 12 -18, 2016)

The third module aims at offering participants a broader understanding of their role as leaders in contemporary society and a higher awareness of societal problems and possible ways to create change through various tools.  It does that through a series of debates on specific topics, moderated by participants themselves and through a hands-on exercise in a disadvantaged community in Romania. During this module, participants will attend sessions designed to help them bring their community service projects one step closer to the implementation stage.

Module IV: “Community Service” (December 12, 2016), Bucharest

Participants are expected to create or endorse an original community service project that they will further develop, individually or in groups. This type of involvement will illustrate the participant’s talent for creativity, persuasion, planning and delivery, team working and overall leadership. Projects may be developmental, communitarian, educational, or environmental. They should not be linked with any single political party initiative. Participants are invited to present their projects to Aspen Romania Members, Fellows and guests at the end of the year.


1. Which are the requirements regarding the affiliation of the Nominator?

The nominator should be familiar with the professional background of the nominee, entitled to outline the candidate’s suitability for the program, in terms of accomplished results in their field of activity, demonstrated leadership potential and proven civic interest.

2. Should the letter of recommendation come from the Nominator or from a third party Referee?
The Letter of Recommendation and the Nomination Form should be signed by the same person.

3. Are there any CV formats preferred?
There are no CV formats preferred.

4. Are the 4 documents (Nomination Form, Letter of Recommendation, Letter of Motivation and CV) supposed to be sent by the applicant in one file or should the Nominator send the Nomination form and/or letter of recommendation separately?
The application file (consisting of all four documents, in PDF format) can be sent either by the person making the nomination or by the candidate.

5. Which are the stages of the selection process?
The selection process for candidates having submitted their application files involves the following steps: the documents’ screening phase and the interviewing phase. Firstly, all submitted files will undergo a screening phase, in which members of the Aspen community will analyze the candidate’s overall leadership potential, motivation, vision and record of initiative. Candidates who successfully pass the document screening phase will proceed to an interview with the Aspen Selection Committee, consisting of Aspen Members, Aspen Fellows and HR professionals.

6. Are the participants expected to participate in all 4 modules?
The selected candidates are expected to fully take part in all four modules of the program. Please be advised that for the selected candidates an attendance commitment is required.

More information here