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.

Program Manager

Location: Washington, DC
Salary: 87,400-96,600

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.


The Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program focuses on the challenge of sustaining strong citizenship in America and coherent national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality. 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. In practice, our work is grouped into several major initiatives. The team member in this role will focus on one such initiative, the Better Arguments Project.

The Better Arguments Project is a national civic initiative created to help bridge divides – not by papering over those divides but by equipping people to engage more constructively across differences of opinion. Many Americans have recognized the need to heal schisms, repair the social fabric, and restore trust and civility in public discourse. We believe American civic life doesn't need fewer arguments; it needs better arguments. We aim to make that possible. Our efforts began with a deep exploration of the question: What is a Better Argument? We synthesized our findings into an engagement framework, which includes five key operating principles. We translate these principles into practice through resources, trainings, a fellowship-style program, and in partnership with local groups around the country, by grounding our approach in the context of real issues. This work is in partnership with Facing History & Ourselves and The Allstate Corporation.


We are seeking a team leader who is passionate about both teaching and learning, and who believes in the power of responsible civil discourse. The Manager will lead workstreams related to developing learning experiences and content for the Better Arguments Project. The Manager will be responsible for the design and implementation of practical exercises, trainings, teaching/facilitation models, and experiences that seek to share and teach our unique content, frameworks, and core beliefs about Better Arguments.

This is a new position that provides an opportunity for a passionate and innovative individual to shape new approaches and content for a national civic initiative. The Better Arguments Project has been steadily growing on a national level for several years, and we seek the right individual with educational content development and experiential learning expertise to work alongside our programs team and help us take our work and impact to the next level.

The Manager will work in collaboration with other Better Arguments Project team members within the Aspen Institute and at partner organizations.


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

Content and Experiences (60%):

  • Create practical resources. The Better Arguments Project offers a portfolio of “Methods”, which are practical exercises designed to help individuals and/or groups practice the skills and habits associated with engaging in Better Arguments. Each “Method” is a practical exercise that focuses on a specific aspect of the Better Arguments framework. This helps users grapple with and practice complex concepts such as “Take Winning off the Table,” the first principle of a Better Argument. The Program Manager will lead the development of these resources, working in partnership with the Better Arguments Project team and partners to take them to the next level.
  • Design and conduct live trainings. The Better Arguments Project regularly offers two types of trainings: Better Arguments 101 and Principles to Practice. Better Arguments 101 is a one-hour introduction to the Better Arguments Project framework. Participants reflect on the role of arguments in a healthy democracy and learn the Three Dimensions and Five Principles of a Better Argument. Principles to Practice is a two-hour immersive and interactive workshop in which participants learn to put Better Arguments principles into practice, as well as reflect on opportunities and challenges related to bridging our nation’s divides. Principles to Practice trainings are new each time, with each session focusing on specific components of the Better Arguments framework. The Better Arguments Project also conducts customized trainings for partners on a case-by-case basis. The Program Manager will lead the development and facilitation of these trainings, working in partnership with the Better Arguments Project team and partners to take them to the next level.
  • Update and lead the Better Arguments Ambassador Program. This fellowship-style program trains leaders in the Better Arguments Project’s framework and equips them with the skills and resources needed to design and implement their own Better Argument. Over a series of nine weekly sessions, Ambassadors engage in peer-to-peer learning with a diverse cohort of ambassadors, representing a range of identities, locations, and professions such as civics, education, and faith, all of whom are taking this step to improve our civil discourse. At the end of the experience, each Ambassador is tasked with designing a capstone project to bring Better Arguments concepts to their community or context. This program is completely free, and each participant receives a stipend to assist with the costs associated with implementing their capstone project. The Program Manager will lead the development and implementation of this program, working in partnership with the Better Arguments Project team and partners to take it to the next level.
  • Translate the Better Arguments framework into specific contexts. We know that the Better Arguments framework has unique applications in certain settings, such as classrooms, faith spaces, and workplaces. In certain cases, we may wish to develop specialized approaches to address the specific needs and opportunities in these unique contexts.

Strategy and Processes (20%):

  • Develop policies and procedures to optimize, streamline, and standardize practices related to educational content and learning experiences that can be adopted as needed by other team members.
  • Manage certain aspects of budgeting and reporting.
  • Explore avenues to broaden reach and increase impact of educational content and learning experiences.
  • Participate in organizational planning.

Partnerships and collaboration (20%):

  • Coordinate with other Better Arguments Project staff to build and manage relationships with project advisers, partners, and funders, as well as the broad network of Better Arguments users or prospective users.
  • Coordinate with other Better Arguments Project staff to manage relationships and scopes of work with contractors as needed.
  • In certain cases, represent the organization to external stakeholders.


  • A deep commitment to the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program’s mission and point of view about civic engagement and civil discourse.
  • A deep commitment to values of equity and inclusion.
  • A genuine desire to make an impact.
  • 4+ years of relevant professional experience working in an education or program design role, preferably in the realm of civics, history, or current events. Among possible backgrounds we are looking for: candidates who have worked for program-focused organizations within education systems; K-12 or Higher Ed; corporate or campaign organizing or training; organizing that is centered around content and curriculum.
  • 1+ years of experience managing volunteers, vendors, budgets, and/or serving successfully in roles with limited oversight.
  • Experience designing program experiences and/or trainings for teens and adults.
  • Experience with facilitating and training small to mid-size groups.
  • Familiarity with assessment and evaluation tools and techniques.
  • 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.
  • Experience with graphic design is a plus.


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


  • 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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