Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Presidential Advisor David Gergen and Chancellor of DC Public Schools Michelle Rhee Develop Ideas for Innovative Leadership

Mayor Reed and Rhee to Headline Socrates Society Forum for Young Leaders’ at its Annual Benefit Dinner at the Aspen Institute

Mayor Kasim Reed and Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, will headline the Socrates Society Forum for Young Leaders’ annual benefit dinner on Saturday, July 3 in Aspen, Colorado. The 2010 annual Socrates benefit dinner will feature a conversation on leadership and social innovation hosted by Aspen Institute Trustee David Gergen, who is also a professor of Public Service at Harvard University, CNN commentator and former White House advisor.

“I am looking forward to talking with Mayor Kasim Reed, leader of one of the most vital cities in the country,” said David Gergen. “I hope to learn about how he is tackling some of the challenges facing Atlanta, such as the city’s fiscal situation, and hear his views on school reform and coalition-building in the rapidly growing and incredibly diverse urban environment.”

Mayor Reed, who is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow, and Michelle Rhee, appointed by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty to lead the district’s public schools, will participate in the discussion moderated by David Gergen. This benefit dinner provides a forum for young emerging leaders, such as Reed and Rhee, to come together from different professional sectors to analyze contemporary issues through expert-moderated dialogue.

“It’s critical that Mayors and superintendents have discussions about the joint goals and actions that can make cities great,” Michelle Rhee said. “I’m excited that Mayor Reed is interested in school reform and I want to learn from the efforts he is pursuing in Atlanta.”

The Aspen Institute’s mission is twofold—it fosters values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and provides a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: through seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events.

“The Aspen Institute and the Socrates Society have long been out front in the area of responsible and innovative leadership in our country,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “For me, it is an honor to participate in this important discussion on issues vital to the future of our nation and our world. I plan to bring back a host of innovative ideas to help make Atlanta an even greater City.”

The Annual Socrates Society benefit dinner is a unique seminar that allows progressive and results-driven leaders to discuss and offer practical solutions for issues that have an immense impact on our society. Each year recognized leaders, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, representatives of government, international, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, academics and journalists, discuss current and provocative topics. Past topics include bioethics, energy security, the future of democracy, religious fundamentalism, globalization, media and values, repairing the US economy, and innovation.

"The Socrates Society offers thoughtful programs to emerging young leaders to explore contemporary issues through values-based Socratic discussion,” said Melissa Ingber, Director of the Aspen Institute's Socrates Society. “Mayor Reed, an Aspen Institute Rodel fellow, and Michelle Rhee, are innovators and public leaders who address leadership challenges daily. Their conversation, moderated by David Gergen, will provide valuable experiences on leadership and innovation for those attending our benefit dinner, an event that enables us to provide scholarships to Socrates seminars so that we can ensure diversity in the voices around the table."

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