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The Aspen Institute was founded by Walter Paepcke, a Chicago businessman, in 1950 after he was inspired by the natural beauty of Aspen, Colorado. The basic mission of the Institute is "to foster enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues." With locations around the United States and various partner locations in Europe and Japan, the Institute sponsors a number of ongoing seminars, policy programs, and leadership initiatives. While the site does provide information on seminars and the like, most visitors interested in public policy will want to move to the section that describes the Institute's policy programs. Thematically, they include groups devoted to exploring communication and society, the nonprofit sector, and economic opportunities, to name but a few. Within each theme, users can learn about the staff members working on each project, and download a number of working papers and reports on these respective subjects. The site is rounded out with materials on employment opportunities at the Institute and an online bookstore of publications from the organization.
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