Inspired by their similar history and ethos, Cumberland Lodge and the Aspen Institute are joining forces this year to launch a new and exclusive, residential seminar on leadership and civil society.

The first, week-long seminar on 'Leadership, Civil Society and the Future of Democracy' will take place at Cumberland Lodge from 25 April until 5 May 2019.

It will bring together an international delegation of senior leaders from business, government, civil service, the arts, NGOs, charities and academia.

The programme will compare and contrast the contemporary British context with that of continental Europe and the United States. Participants will explore how leaders can promote progress towards more cohesive societies, by examining the cultural components of civil society and the values that underpin them 

They will also take part in guided discussions about the future of democracy and the various socio-political challenges that democracies face today. This will involve studying excerpts from classic and contemporary authors, with expert moderators.

'The world that might be'

Dr Todd Breyfogle, Managing Director of the Executive Leadership department at the Aspen, said: ‘This is an exciting—and timely—opportunity to step back from the political, economic and social maelstrom, and to take stock of the values that undergird a civil and just society. For seven decades, Aspen and Cumberland Lodge have been challenging leaders to be more reflective about the decisions that shape society. This inaugural seminar is an opportunity for participants to think carefully about the world in which we live and to imagine creatively the world that might be.’

Launching the new collaboration, our Programme Director, Jan-Jonathan Bock said: 'Both our organisations were established in response to the Second World War. The 1930s and 40s had illustrated that democracies struggled to match the authoritarian promise of order, so the need for better leadership was obvious on both sides of the Atlantic. Our joint seminar will continue this conversation on the role of leaders in civil society and the future of democracy, using philosophical reflections to tackle contemporary challenges.’

Shared history and ethos

Founded a couple of years after Cumberland Lodge was established in Windsor Great Park, the US-based Aspen Institute offers a renowned seminar programme that has been challenging leaders from every sector for many decades to think more deeply, listen more attentively, and to develop the critical habits of judgment that contribute to ethical decision-making and wellbeing.

Similarly, Cumberland Lodge exists to empower people of all backgrounds, ages and perspectives, through dialogue and debate, to promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies.

For many decades, we have been equipping and inspiring leaders and people of influence from all sections of civil society, as well as young people with leadership potential, to tackle the causes and effects of social division.