On Sunday, December 2, one current student and three recent graduates from MICDS celebrated their completion of the inaugural cohort of the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship (AYLF) with a graduation ceremony held at Washington University’s Knight Center. The Aspen Institute’s Youth and Engagement Programs created the AYLF to be a place-based, multisite initiative that develops the next generation of local, purpose-driven leaders.
Sean Buchanan ’19 said, “One of the top things I learned from being in the program was how to be a leader in today’s society. Throughout the two-year fellowship, we read speeches and watched videos of different leaders in our world, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Gandhi. We evaluated aspects of how they each led differently and thought about how we could incorporate those into our own lives.”
This year, 18 fellows represented an array of opinions, identities and perspectives, and all brought something to the two-year journey that is the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship. Graduates of the program are added to Aspen’s Global Leadership Network, which provides access to a variety of successful leaders. Buchanan appreciates the network he found close to home, too. “I got really close with my peers and created lifelong friends and memories,” he said.