Careers at the Aspen Institute
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Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Senior Program Manager

Location: Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Citizenship and American Identity

The Citizenship and American Identity Program explores the question of what it means to be American, and how to promote a shared sense of national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality.

We are living through a period of radical concentration of wealth and opportunity in the United States. This severe inequality undermines democracy and erodes the spirit of common cause, mutual responsibility, and reciprocity vital to a republic. In a centrifugal time when this country has never been more diverse and polarized and when its role in the world is rapidly shifting, the question of what it means to be American – and how we create a sustainable story of “us” – is of prime consequence.

The program encompasses a range of cross-partisan activity, from workshops and public forums to leadership convenings and seminar-style discussions. Across our forms of public engagement, we focus on three dimensions of citizenship: values, systems, and skills. The values segment focuses on articulating (and updating) an ethical and creedal framework for American civic identity. The systems segment includes policy proposals, cultural initiatives, and multi-sector collaborations to build social cohesion. The skills segment teaches leaders to construct coalitions and a sense of shared fate across increasingly rigid class and race divides.

Basic Function

The Manager will work in collaboration with the Associate Director and Executive Director to manage the initiative: “Who Is Us?: A Project on American Identity”. Through this initiative, the Manager will explore how Americans from a multitude of backgrounds are grappling with the question of what it means to be American today, and ultimately how this impacts the way American democracy functions. On the basis of this input, the Manager will work with the Citizenship and American Identity Program to make actionable recommendations in terms of values, processes, and skills that will help put a more inclusive American identity into practice in a range of contexts and institutions. By articulating an inclusive sense of what it means to be an American and a vision of our collective future, we can in turn enhance the quality of our democratic life.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Essential duties and responsibilities are as follows. Other responsibilities may be added as necessary.

Program Execution

  • Manage a multi-phase, multi-site lifelong learning research project, engaging with national and local initiatives as well as funders and other experts to ensure that all parties understand the goals of the work and the work remains on track in terms of deliverables, budget, and timing.
  • Develop project plans consistent with the phases of the project and execute on grant deliverables and funder reporting requirements. Deliverables for this project include a series of stakeholder interviews and roundtables to solicit input from experts and practitioners across sectors, a series of action-research partnerships to solicit input from Americans on-the-ground, and a set of public-facing materials and events.


  • Identify key advisers and conduct interviews.
  • Identify opportunities to supplement interviews with focus groups or data.
  • Synthesize findings and recommendations.
  • Present findings and recommendations at events and in writing.

Events and Communications

  • Identify opportunities to communicate the results of the project and raise the profile of the work to ensure that the lessons of the project reach key audiences.
  • Host and represent the Citizenship and American Identity Program at roundtables, convenings, and at public events related to the project.
  • Assume responsibility for all event execution details and planning.
  • Oversee production of all event related printed materials (program guides, playbook, event décor, etc.).
  • Maintain all event web content and printed materials and manage the consultants and vendors that assist us to produce professional and creative marketing pieces.


  • Build and manage relationships with project advisers and funders.
  • Manage relationships and scopes of work with contractors as needed.

Skills, Education and Experience:

  • Master’s degree or higher in relevant social science or public policy or legal discipline is preferred
  • At least 5 years of experience in applied policy research or program design and implementation/evaluation
  • Able to effectively engage people from communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in narratives about American identity, incorporating awareness of the implications of historic and current discrimination for developing effective civic practice and knowledge.
  • Experience establishing project plans, timelines, and management systems to ensure projects stay on schedule and in line with stated project goals
  • Experience working with philanthropic investors
  • Ability to recruit and manage the work of external consultants, as needed, and to build productive professional relationships with external partners and colleagues
  • Ability to set priorities and meet deadlines
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to synthesize information across multiple data sources
  • Ability to conceptualize and draft a variety of written products for multiple audiences
  • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a close-knit team
  • Experience demonstrating strong attention to detail and excellent organization


  • Position may require travel. Amount of travel varies depending on time of year and requirements of specific project phase.

To Apply:

Cover letter should highlight applicant’s interest and specific qualifications for this position. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Position Type

12-months with the possibility of extension

Flexible work arrangements are available to accommodate a modified work schedule.

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.


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