Candidate Resources


If you have a scheduled formal interview for Fellowship participation, we kindly urge you to thoroughly review all documents and videos available on this page to ensure preparedness for your session with our Executive Director, Ana María Vallarino.

What to expect after
being nominated

We are committed to an equitable selection process that centers applicants’ backgrounds and experiences. Nominations will be screened based on objective criteria such as success in the nominee’s field, evidence of entrepreneurial spirit and experience, as well as age.

We further evaluate diversity, including various perspectives and experiences, to create a rich cohort. This may involve reaching out to nominators for additional insights.


Sep. 12th  – Dec. 5th  2023
Nomination Period
Dec. 2023 – Jan. 2024
Review and Referencing
Jan.– Apr. 2024
Interview period
May – Jun. 2024
Cohort curation – Mosaic building

Fellowship overview

Using the proven method of text-based dialogue and building upon the Aspen Institute’s commitment to values-based, action-oriented leadership, the Central America Leadership Initiative offers entrepreneurial leaders a unique opportunity to connect with and learn from a diverse group of peers outside their existing professional and social circles.

Fellows undertake a personal journey that allows them to reflect on how they can have a greater positive impact on society. It is through this transformative experience that Fellows move beyond success to greater significance by helping to solve some of society’s most intractable problems.

Our two-year program combines text-based seminars to foster personal transformation with a leadership venture that moves Fellows from thought to action.

Seminars: Fostering Personal Transformation


Once accepted into the CALI Class, Fellows are required to attend four seminars, each lasting six to seven days. These seminars aid participants in reflecting on timeless ideas and defining their own personal values. Through text-based dialogue facilitated by expert moderators, attendees enhance their abilities to think more creatively in solving the problems confronting society.

The Challenge of Leadership

This six-day seminar asks Fellows to think about the qualities of leadership necessary to master the forces of change. Fellows discuss their own leadership challenges and develop criteria for effective, enlightened leadership. Fellows explore leaders including Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Thatcher, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

The Aspen Seminar

During this seven-day seminar, Fellows build their own vision of the Good Society by reading, discussing, debating and relating the writings of a wide range of thinkers to present-day conditions. Fellows present and discuss their leadership ventures. Thinkers range from Aristotle and Confucius to Mencius and Simone de Beauvoir to Thomas Hobbes and Simon Bolivar.

Leading in an Era of Globalization

Globalization is a six-day seminar exploring the challenges of leading in an increasingly complex and intertwined world. This seminar is offered in a variety of locations around the world and taken with other Fellows from across the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Time is set aside for Fellows to discuss progress in the implementation of their leadership ventures. This is a six to seven-day commitment (varies by location).

The Promise of Leadership

In this six-day seminar, Fellows share the results and lessons learned from their leadership ventures and explore challenges in balancing work and family, community engagement and personal legacy. They are poised to engage in the next phase of their leadership in the journey to move from success to significance.

Individual Impact Ventures

During the initial seminar series, each Fellow identifies and begins a personal leadership venture with support from Fellows and Mentors. These ventures are an expression of Fellows’ values and are designed to have a meaningful impact on a compelling problem facing society. They mark the beginning of each Fellow’s lifelong commitment to move from thought to action and impact future generations in Central America.

Ventures can take many forms. For example, Fellows may create a new organization or program. Alternatively, they can scale, improve, or add a new feature to an existing program or initiative. Some Fellows develop a new product or service offering, or they pilot and disseminate new ways of organizing existing systems. Ventures can be nonprofit, for-profit or government initiatives.

Lifelong Commitment to Action

The foundational seminar experience and individual projects are just the beginning of the lifelong Fellowship experience. CALI Fellows regularly hold check-ins with their Classes to stay in touch personally, and the full Fellowship convenes at regular intervals to discuss regional issues and identify opportunities for action.

The personal transformation that takes place in the Fellowship experience and the strong bonds and trust forged among Fellows creates the ability to work individually and collectively to confront society’s most difficult challenges.

CALI Fellows also become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network – a community of more than 3,000 leaders in 50 countries – that offers additional opportunities for engagement and action.

FAQs (for Nominators)

Only CALI Alumni who have completed the four seminars of the program can nominate new candidates for the upcoming CALI class.

Nominations for CALI Class 17 will be accepted from September 12th to December 15th, 2023. You’ll receive an email with a nomination link. Please remember that each nominee requires a separate nomination form.

Nominees can be based in any of the following Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Fellows’ educational backgrounds vary widely, from no college degree to post-doctoral work. Fluency in English is necessary as the program is conducted in English.

Although there are no specific employment criteria, the majority of each Class comes from the business sector.

Successful nominees are accomplished entrepreneurial-spirited individuals who have already achieved considerable success in their sector.

Yes, please inform your nominee about the nomination and encourage them to complete the application form. It’s crucial they understand the program, its goals, time commitment, and requirements.

Encourage your nominee to authentically engage with the application process, promptly answer communications, and express their unique background and experiences.

Each nominator should provide a unique perspective on the candidate. If multiple nominations share similar information, a supportive email suffices; otherwise, a full recommendation is valuable.

The nominator’s credentials do not influence the selection process. What matters is your ability to provide insight into the nominee’s potential for leadership.

We seek candidates who have achieved significant success and are at an inflection point, ready to make a difference using their platforms. They should be willing to engage authentically and commit to a lifelong impact journey. More information on our selection criteria may be found here.

Leaders unwilling to engage in authentic dialogue and self-examination might not fit the Fellowship’s ethos. Those unable to commit fully to the program’s requirements might also be less suitable.

Yes, there’s an initial screening based on objective criteria. Success in their field, evidence of entrepreneurial spirit and experience, as well as age are evaluated.

We further evaluate diversity, including various perspectives and experiences, to create a rich cohort. This may involve reaching out to nominators for additional insights.

An interview invitation signifies that your candidate has the potential to become a CALI Fellow.

Not necessarily. Factors such as timing, competition, or fit for a specific year could affect the decision. Please remain patient and open to future considerations.

CALI Fellows must commit to four seminars over 22 months, 100% attendance, complete readings, and initiate an impact venture. Lifelong engagement is expected beyond the program.

Commitment to attending seminars and starting a meaningful venture is non-negotiable. The inability to commit to these eliminates nominees for the current cycle.

If the candidate was rolled over from the last nomination period, an update is sufficient. Otherwise, a new nomination is required.

Due to the confidential nature of the process, we cannot share specific information about selection decisions.

Ideally, you should know enough to explain why they are an excellent choice for the Fellowship. Personal connection isn’t always necessary.

This can happen. Many highly qualified leaders may not fit the class mosaic for a specific year or years.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept nominees from other Aspen Global Leadership Network programs.

FAQs (for Nominees)

The CALI Fellowship aims to strengthen a diverse community of exceptional leaders dedicated to actively addressing ongoing challenges in Central America.

Participation in the program is paid for by the CALI Foundation and is free of charge for the Fellows, excluding travel expenses and incidental costs.

The program entails 24 in-person seminar days over 22 months, along with personal preparation time and virtual cohort orientation.

Seminar 1
From Monday, Sept. 30 to Saturday, Oct. 5, 2024

Seminar 2
From Sunday, Apr. 6th to Saturday, Apr. 12th, 2025

Seminar 3
A week TBD between October 2025 & Mar. 2026

Seminar 4
Tuesday, Jun. 2nd to Saturday, Jun 6th 2026

Full attendance is required, and no late arrivals or early departures are allowed. If you cannot commit, consider deferring to when you can attend all sessions.

Seminars are hosted across different locations in Central America and abroad. The third seminar, a global mixer, takes place worldwide.

The mosaic concept refers to building diverse class cohorts from various backgrounds to enhance learning, challenge, and inspiration among Fellows.

References help us gain a more comprehensive view of your leadership from different perspectives.

All information is confidential and used solely for internal consideration.

Yes, you can be nominated again in future cycles.

If your job situation changes, please email us to update. Changes will be considered based on specific circumstances.

Fellows undertake an impact leadership venture during the initial seminar series, marking the beginning of their lifelong commitment to the region.

Ventures are integral to the program, representing action and impact.

Our selection process takes several months. We notify nominators and candidates of the outcome and their status for the following year.

The AGLN is the overarching network for multiple fellowships, connecting leaders globally to enhance their impact on society.

Selected candidates sign a statement of commitment with the CALI Foundation. The document establishes that in case of not attending one of the seminars, you will be required to reimburse CALI the program fee to date (Total program cost is approximately $25,000). The amount is prorated based on your program progress, including the seminar you will not attend. If you choose not to attend a seminar, you will cease to be part of CALI and of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Further questions?

Please reach out at