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Civil Society Fellowship


Selection Process

Nominations Information


The Civil Society Fellowship seeks proven community and civic leaders. The ideal Fellow is at an inflection point in their personal and professional journeys. Being at an Inflection point is different from being ready to change careers, mobilize a movement, or start a new organization. Fellows must be at a stage in their lives when they are ready to explore how to use their skills, experiences, resources and networks to broaden and deepen their impact on their communities and their country.

Note the Fellowship is not currently accepting nominations. If you have questions about the process, email to get connected with our team.

Key Characteristics of a Civil Society Fellow:

  • Ages 25 –50

  • Reside within and work full-time in the United States

  • Capacity to build a community, movement or organization

  • Contributes key element(s) to a diverse class “mosaic” (gender, geography, race, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, and ideological perspective, etc.)

  • Organizational management experience preferred

  • Possesses a “learner’s stance” - curious and open-minded

  • Problem solver

  • A pioneer, eager to innovate

Selection Process

The ideal class will include Fellows from various personal and professional backgrounds whose experiences will help complement, challenge, and inspire each other during the seminars and throughout the Fellowship. Each class of Fellows will be comprised of roughly 20-25 individuals who represent a range of attributes including gender, geography, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, ideology and political affiliation. Each Fellow should have something to teach and something to learn from the others.


In the Aspen Institute tradition, this diversity of talent is called “the mosaic,” and is carefully assembled to provide the greatest benefit to each cohort. Ultimately, many exceptional, impressive individuals are not chosen to be Fellows because they don’t fit the class mosaic for that particular year.

The nomination process is designed as a way for upcoming leaders to be recognized by those in their community. To be considered for the Fellowship, candidates must secure a Nominator. The rest of the selection process is outlined below.


Nominator Best Practices
A nominator provides an in-depth look into the nominee's background, values, leadership ability, and readiness. They must have first-hand exposure to the nominee’s work and an understanding of how that work impacts the nominee’s community.  


Nominators are often the nominee's direct supervisor, board chair, mentor, or colleague/collaborator. We will not accept nominations from family members or spouses.


A Nominator can nominate up to 3 candidates for the Civil Society Fellowship per class.


Nomination Materials
As a part of the nomination form, nominators are asked to submit the following:

  • Nominee's personal and contact information including date of birth and mailing address

  • Nominee's up-to-date resume/CV

  • Letter of recommendation (1-2 pages in length)

Effective Nomination
An effective nomination will use examples of the nominee’s ability to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • A proven leader within and without their organization or movement

  • At the right point in their life and career to step back and think about how to broaden their leadership and impact

  • Not daunted by challenges that may intimidate others

  • Understands and can commit fully to five, weeklong immersive seminar experiences which take the nominee away from work and family life 


Nomination Questions?

More nomination information will be found on our FAQs page. If you have additional questions, please contact us at

Nominator Best Practice
Nomination Materials
Effective Nomination
Nomination Questions
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