ICAP Aspen Program
EACH YEAR, THE ICAP SELECTION COMMITTEE examines applications solicited nationally to find 24 to 34 ideal candidates for the program---accomplished international affairs professionals with 5 or more years of experience, advanced degrees, language skills, committed to increasing diversity in US leadership, anxious to mentor those junior to them in both pre-professional and professional roles and willing to commit themselves to helping other ICAP alumni and advancing the goals of ICAP. All applicants to ICAP are considered, whatever their race, ethnicity or religion, as long as they are strong advocates of and willing to work for diversity and inclusion.
The inauguration of the program involves an introductory day in Washington, DC, and a week in Aspen at the Aspen Institute, where participants can remove themselves from their jobs and focus on themselves, fellow participants, their careers, broad policy questions and the future. Career advisors, senior mentors (officials from government, non-profits and the private sector) and university faculty all assist them in these reflections. Strong bonds are formed among the participants and mentoring relationships develop with senior officials. These last through the months and years following Aspen.
Following this period in Aspen, a series of activities, organized largely by the ICAP Alumni Association (see www.icapaa.org), are designed to retain and strengthen the impact of the program---a listserv, a newsletter, the Alumni Association itself, a springtime reunion meeting each year in Washington, DC, policy forums, periodic meetings and workshops conducted by senior officials, social gatherings and on-going career advising. In the spring, there is also an annual Conference on Diversity in International Affairs, jointly sponsored with GAP and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), held at the DC offices of the CFR. In recent years, there have also been some conferences focusing on the importance of diversity in our national security leadership, jointly sponsored by and held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. As a consequence, most of the alumni of the program remain in contact and supportive of each other---an important network for career and personal assistance. The 40 or so senior mentors and staff also remain part of that network.
ICAP has had considerable success in providing assistance over the past 26 years to an extremely talented cadre of young professionals as they move through their careers. As the network grows and more and more alumni of the program achieve senior positions themselves, we can expect that ICAP will play an increasingly important role in enhancing the quality and diversity of US leadership in international affairs.
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