Our Foundations:

Public Policy

The Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership

at the Aspen Institute



Our nation's political leaders are charged with the responsibility to guide and guard our nation. When those political leaders become consumed with partisanship, their ability to guide and guard is deeply compromised. In 2005, the Rodel Foundations joined forces with the Aspen Institute in a project which seeks to reshape the American political dynamic, to restore national purpose and political statesmanship. The project is a fully funded fellowship program wherein emerging political leaders will study our nation's values, democracy, freedom, and leadership in approximately 30 days of seminars and workshops spread over a two-year period. Political neutrality is essential to the educational mission of the program; there is no identification with any political party's viewpoint and no endorsement of specific programs or legislation.


The Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership at the Aspen Institute seek to enhance our democracy by identifying and bringing together America's brightest, young political leaders committed to thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue so that they may achieve their fullest potential in public service. We do this by empowering and inspiring these most promising political leaders to explore, through study and conversation, the underlying values and principles of western democracy, the relationship between individuals and their community, and the responsibilities of public leadership.

About the Program

The Rodel Fellowship program is open by invitation only, to men and women who hold a publicly elected office. Selected annually, each class will consist of 24 Fellows, 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats, identified by the Aspen Institute as America's most promising new public leaders, with reputations for intellect, thoughtfulness, and a commitment to civil dialogue. The two year program consists of at least three weekend-long seminars held at the Aspen Institute's facilities. There will also be week-long seminars in both China and the Middle East where Fellows will meet with regional leaders and learn about the challenges and opportunities those areas pose for the future of America.

The program is led by Mickey Edwards who spent 16 years in Congress as a member of the House Republican leadership, and then taught at Harvard's Kennedy School for 11 years. Mickey's passion is our form of democratic government which depends for its vitality on civil dialog between competing points of view.

Guided by experienced moderators, Aspen-Rodel Fellows will study and discuss a broad range of questions concerning the origin of American values, the tension between principle and compromise inherent in democracy, and the challenges of public leadership. The overseas segments will be a hands-on look at those very different cultures and their ambitions and fears.

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