On September 3-5, 2020, took place the fourth edition of the Aspen Seminar for Young European Leaders, organized under the umbrella of the Aspen Initiative for Europe by the Aspen Institute Germany and the Aspen Institute Central Europe.

Initially planned to take place in Dresden, Germany, the Seminar was organized online and brought together 22 participants, aged 25-35 and with diverse personal and professional backgrounds, from all over Europe.

Three fellows of the Aspen Institute Romania’s Young Leaders Program were selected to attend the seminar: Margareta Chesaru (Aspen Fellow 2019, Public Affairs Manager, UiPath), Learta Hollaj (Aspen Fellow 2018, Advisor for Sustainable Development and Partnerships, Cabinet of the Speaker, Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo) and Alina Mîțu (Aspen Fellow 2019, Project Manager, Brand Awareness, Elefant.ro).

Very much oriented at the original curriculum, 22 participants from all over Europe and sectors as diverse as thinktanks and politics, trade and commerce, the media and human rights, history and urban planning, as well as tech and artificial intelligence convened on Zoom to discuss the present state of the continent and its future under the title “Fractured Europe”. Skilfully moderated by long-time Aspen Germany moderators Leigh Hafrey, Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Ruth Girardet, Member of the Council of The Open University, the debate was based on texts as fundamental as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the German Basic Law, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals; included contemporary authors like Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Schneider, and Vaclav Havel and touched on timely topics like surveillance capitalism and “stabilocracies” in Central and Eastern Europe.


Margareta Chesaru:

Extremely thankful for having participated in the Young European Leaders Seminar 2020. Leigh and Ruth did an exceptional job in moderating our sessions, which carried us from classical philosophy to modern political economy thinkers. Pressed by current health restrictions, Ingrid managed to organize a flawless on-line experience. Kudos to the whole Aspen team! In the midst of the current socio-economical challenges, such seminars are crucial. Europe needs young leadership and young leaders need Europe. Thank you Aspen Institute Romania and Aspen Institute Germany!

Learta Hollaj:

I am grateful to the Aspen Institute Romania for nominating me to be part of the Aspen Seminar for Young European Leaders held this year for the first time in an online format. Discussing value based leadership in times of pandemics and great uncertainties and challenges with some inspiring and beautiful minds, is on one hand motivational and on the other hand reassuring of the resilient spirit of our societies. No matter the great dynamics characterizing our everyday lives, taking the time to reflect on our daily actions is genuinely refreshing and it is best done through Aspen Seminars.  

Alina Mitu:

It was a great pleasure to be part of the Aspen Seminar for Young European Leaders 2020. I was honoured to connect with a valuable group of leaders from more than 15 countries, with strong background in politics, business and civil society. The diversity of stories and ideas made the debates very insightful and helped me advance my understanding of EU values, challenges and future perspectives. I am very grateful to Aspen Institute Romania, to the organizers Aspen Institute Germany and Aspen Institute Central Europe, to the moderators and guests, to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful experience.