Facets of Liberty Fellowship

The first part of the Fellowship commitment begins with a seminar series and an individual project. During this experience, personal transformation takes root, Fellows build trust with one another, and they begin to explore how their leadership can have a generational impact in South Carolina. Long after the seminar experience is completed, the Fellowship provides an infrastructure of connections that supports and inspires Liberty Fellows as they act individually and collectively to confront the status quo.

Explore the different facets of Liberty Fellowship below. 

The Seminar Experience

Liberty Fellowship seminars are an opportunity to explore both the personal and professional dimensions of leadership. Seminar participants are invited to answer the question: “How do I lead well and live justly in a good society?”

Fellows emerge from the seminar experience with:

  • greater self-knowledge and an authentic leadership style rooted in core values
  • increased self-directed vision and the ability to inspire others
  • enhanced abilities to deal with ambiguity, complexity, and change
  • improved capacity to work with diverse groups towards a common purpose
  • a council of dedicated peers from diverse sectors

Fellows participating in seminars are required to complete readings, participate in dialogue with their peers, and critically examine their core values.

Fellows do not pay to participate in seminars. Fellows are expected to participate 100% in all seminars. No late arrivals or early departure are allowed. Everything shared in the seminar setting is confidential. Dates for the Class of 2023 seminars can be found here.

Initial Seminars

Once accepted to a Liberty Fellowship Class, Fellows are required to complete five, multi-day seminars over an 18-month period. Four of the seminars are held in South Carolina, and Fellows select their fifth seminar from among several Aspen Institute Globalization Seminars in the U.S. and abroad.

The Challenge of Leadership

A five-day seminar focusing on the qualities of leadership necessary to master the forces of change. Fellows discuss their own leadership challenges and develop criteria for effective, enlightened leadership.

The Aspen Seminar

A six-day seminar that gives the Fellows the opportunity to explore the concept of “the good society” and their leadership role in making it a reality. Set on Pawleys Island, Fellows present and discuss prospectuses for their leadership projects.

Leading in an Era of Globalization

A six-day seminar exploring the challenges of leading in an increasingly complex and intertwined world. This seminar is offered in a variety of locations around the world and taken with other Fellows from across the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Time is set aside for Fellows to discuss progress in the implementation of their leadership projects.

The Promise of Leadership

A four-day seminar in which Fellows explore the concepts of legacy and life balance and share the progress achieved, challenges encountered, and lessons learned from their leadership projects.

The Call to Action

A four-day seminar focusing on strategic collective action by the Fellows as they tackle South Carolina’s biggest challenges.

Readings

In preparation for the seminars, Fellows are required to explore an eclectic mix of readings that speak to the heart of issues faced by leaders throughout history, such as:

→ What is the life well lived?
→  How do you make decisions when choices are gradations of bad and worse?
→  How do you find the courage to speak and act when silence is so comfortable and safe?

Required readings span time, place, and culture. Speeches, business essays, and portions of plays or novels and film are all fair game. Whether they were scrolled in 347 BC or typed months ago, the readings are germane to decisions Fellows make every day.

Dialogue

Liberty Fellows are unafraid to examine diverse values and beliefs with their peers.

Each Class is intentionally crafted so that Fellows are different from one another. This intentional difference is called the “mosaic.” Visible and invisible differences abound around the seminar table – one Fellow may be from generations of wealth and another from generations of poverty. Perhaps one holds a Ph.D. and another never finished college.

As Moderators facilitate candid dialogue grounded in the readings, the seminar setting is a safe, confidential space for Fellows to cross barriers of divergent political, social, and ethnic views. Even Fellows with trepidation at the thought of dialogue with those viewed as adversaries learn to value and respect differing perspectives.

The process of candid dialogue develops trust and understanding among Fellows. The bonds forged around the seminar table are deep, honest and provide a resource of easy access to natural allies and those whom Fellows would never have encountered in another setting.

Self-Reflection

Liberty Fellows are values-based leaders.

Successful and ambitious Fellows may rarely have had the luxury of deep introspection as they went about advancing careers, nurturing a family or relationships, and actively giving back to the community.

Becoming a Liberty Fellow leaves no choice on self-reflection. How leaders think, how leaders make decisions, and how they value choices are embedded in readings, discussions, and projects. Fellows look at past, present, and future decision making in a fresh light. As they compare notes among themselves and look at hard decisions made across time and cultures, they are able to clarify the values that guide their leadership.

Individual Projects

During the initial seminar series, each Fellow identifies and begins a personal leadership project with support from Fellows and Mentors. These projects mark the beginning of each Fellow’s lifelong commitment to action and their impact on future generations in South Carolina.

Over the years, Fellows have worked individually and collectively to confront some of the most difficult challenges in society.

Explore some of our Fellows’ projects. →

Building the Next Generation of Leaders for South Carolina

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Helping South Carolina Farmers Be Well

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Kids on Point working to close the opportunity gap in Charleston

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Broadband for All South Carolinians

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Lifelong Action

The foundational seminar experience and individual projects are just the beginning of the lifelong Fellowship experience. Liberty Fellows regularly hold check-ins with their Classes to stay in touch personally, and the full Fellowship convenes at regular intervals to discuss statewide issues and identify opportunities for action.

To broaden connections beyond individual Classes, opportunities are provided for Fellows to be matched with one another at random for individual conversations. Existing Fellows also have the opportunity to reengage in text-based dialogue and values exploration through the Continuing the Journey Seminar.

The personal transformation that takes place in the Fellowship experience and the strong bonds and trust forged among Fellows creates the ability to work individually and collectively to confront society’s most difficult challenges.

Liberty Fellows also become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network – a community of more than 3,000 leaders in 50 countries – that offers additional opportunities for engagement and action.

Do You Know the Next Liberty Fellow?

If someone you know is driven by passion, leadership, and making South Carolina better for everyone, consider nominating them for our next class of Liberty Fellows.