The Athenian Project

A leadership development opportunity that challenges the big issues of the day and allows you to embrace a personal challenge with a group of like-minded colleagues.

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The Athenian Project set to begin on October 11 has been canceled due to the ongoing and growing threat posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak around the world and in the United States. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our staff and attendees. Stay tuned for future dates! 

For other professional development opportunities and information, please contact Nedra James, program manager, professional development, at njames@icma.org.


The Athenian Project is a one-year journey to transmit yourself, your community, and the local government profession greater and more beautiful than each was transmitted to you. Designed by tenured ICMA members to provide leadership development that challenges the big issues of the day and provides an opportunity to embrace a personal challenge with a group of like-minded colleagues. No more than 30 ICMA members will be admitted to each class.

What You Can Expect

A one-year learning journey where:

  • The Athenian Oath is Deliberated
  • Professional Relationships are Cemented
  • Timely Philosophical Questions are Discussed and Debated
  • Business Case Answers to Societal Dilemmas are Developed
  • Individual and Team Commitment and Accountability are Expected
  • Future Scenarios and Trends are Explored with Possible Solutions Created
  • Purposeful Activities Providing Fun and Time for Reflection
  • Your Commitment to Connecting, Time and Willingness to be Accountable, Personally and to your Team is Expected

Who is Right For This Program?

Experienced local government leaders looking to:

  • Renew Your passion for local government leadership?
  • Reflect on and define the legacy you want to leave in your organization/community?
  • Participate in developing solutions to trending issues affecting communities?
  • Connect with colleagues also focused on forward-thinking problem solving?

Projects: Socratic and Personal

By the end of the first week, attendees will determine what the challenge is and what the deliverable will be. Personal issues small groups will identify and accept a challenge that will increase personal capacity and enrich the individual. Projects will be determined during week one and addressed throughout the Athenian Project year.

Professional Development Guidelines: This project can help fulfill your annual professional development requirements as outlined in the Guidelines for Tenet 8 of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

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