The Aspen Public Service Leadership Program is a fellowship-based leadership program dedicated to the most promising leaders of the public sector in Romania, launched by Aspen Institute Romania in 2018.

The aim of the program is to motivate, educate, update and inspire promising representatives from various institutions in Romania, who can become promoters of change and improvement in the public sector.

PARTICIPANTS: 20-25 participants, aged between 25 and 45 years, with a high level of English fluency and a diverse background in terms of gender and political affiliation, selected through a complex selection process based on nominations.

The participants may be members of the legislative system, professionals from the local or central public administration (government, city halls and municipalities, local and county councils), universities or promising members of political parties. They must assume the role of decision-makers, whether they are already in office or are preparing for a public office, to be promoters of nonpartisan dialogue to the benefit of the citizen and of good governance and they must be able to engage in the reform of the areas that are essential for the development of Romania, disregarding their political and ideological affiliation.

During the years 2021 and 2022, the program doubled its impact and organized two cohorts within its 3rd and 4th editions: Spring Cohort (online) and Autumn Cohort (in person).

The total number of fellows (graduates of all the editions of the program) has reached the number of 125 individuals, who are engaged with the Aspen community through various activities and events.

EDITION 4 (2022):

In 2022 the program reached its 4th edition, structured in two cohorts: Spring Cohort (online) and Autumn Cohort (in person).

The 4th edition of the program was organized in partnership with the Aspen Institute USA (for Module 1) and with Institut national du service public – INSP France (former École Nationale d’Administration – ENA), for Module 2.

The online Spring Cohort targeted mainly the representatives of the public institutions with impact in the local and regional development of Romania (prefectures, municipalities, county councils, regional development agencies, universities, county hospitals etc.), while the Autumn Cohort (in person) prioritized the representatives of the central public administration (Parliament of Romania (MPs), ministries, regulatory authorities, supervisory and control authorities, political parties etc.).


Two modules, three to four-day long, organized entirely in English.

  • Module 1, organized in partnership with the Aspen Institute USA:

The foundation of each edition of the program is the Aspen Seminar, a Socratic debate based on a series of readings, from the greatest thinkers of past and present. Through debates guided by skilled moderators, on topics like liberty, equality, ethics and responsibility, participants are offered a neutral space to test their beliefs, in a both personal and collective leadership journey and are challenged to reflect on how timeless values are shaping their decisions and our society at large.

  • Module 2, organized for the last four editions in partnership with Institut national du service publicINSP, France (former École Nationale d’Administration – ENA):

The Module combines expert presentations, group work, experience-sharing sessions, case studies and workshops on various topics such as: digitalisation, sustainable development and innovation, crisis management, negotiation and public speaking, public and private partnerships and interactions, impact assessment and making an impact in public policy-making, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, etc.


  • IOANA CHIRIȚĂ, Judicial Counsellor, Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority, Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2019:

The Program featured significant interactivity, allowing me to analyze myself and build on my strengths while minimizing my vulnerabilities. In my opinion, the common ground of this Program is to help each participant to not only improve their skills as a leader but to become a better person, professionally and personally. I strongly encourage everyone interested in this Program to embark on this journey and to enjoy this experience to the fullest, as this is a unique program for public sector employees.

  • ANDREI POP, Member of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies (2016-2020), Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2019:

I’ve been thrilled with the quality of speakers and experts that have spent time with us. An entirely new network of colleagues who share the same goals and values but with different views of implementation of the greater good. A journey of guidance to us as individuals has been invaluable on all sorts of levels and I had the reconfirmation that positive action, kindness, trustworthy, competence and hope are essential basics to build a better society. At some point in one seminar I had only one thought in my mind: Yes, WE CA N!

  • PAVEL POPESCU, Member of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2019:

The Aspen Public Service Leadership Program provided me a new set of skills that I was not able to discover alone. Aspen Institute Romania is the place where visionary people meet, discuss and find solutions for the real problems of the world. It`s the place where you can start to think big.

  • ALEXANDRU ROJA, Lecturer, West University of Timișoara, Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2019:

The Aspen Public Service Leadership Program experience was a return to my inner values, and then a journey with colleagues to discover authentic values that leaders should constantly learn and practice. Together with the trainers and organizing team, we learned the skills and competencies necessary to become authentic leaders in our organizations and communities.

  • SIMINA TULBURE, Member of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2023:

The Aspen experience shapes a profound exercise of introspection and proposes a very valuable effort to strengthen one’s perspectives of public action. By stimulating both the competence, the cultural capital, and the spiritual identity of the beneficiaries of its programs, Aspen crystallises generations of transformational leaders, able to inspire by their own example and to create ecosystems of sustainable reform in their communities. Access to a network of exceptional individuals and the opportunity to develop close ties with them are factors that further enrich the experience. I highly recommend not only this opportunity, but this leadership pattern too!

  • VLAD COPCEAC, Head of Unit, National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM), Aspen Public Service Leadership Program Fellow 2023:

First part (module) was a journey that I ended up enjoying, it was about a journey that took us forth (trying to figure our own gooseberries) and then all the way back to our anchors. And contemplating on that winding road made it easy for us to see the right direction we should take. In just 4 days we moved from individuals to a group and I really had fun being part of a team.

The second part took further our quest to innovate and change public service while keeping in mind that greater good we spoke about. Crisis management part made us (hopefully) more prepared for any types of disruptions, one key idea being that we should avoid expert blindness and the impostor syndrome.

The Aspen Public Service Leadership Program is kindly supported by:
Banca Comercială Română (BCR)
Enel Romania