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The architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair. One of the things that makes it harder and harder to connect with ourselves — and thus our creativity, intuition, and wisdom — is our increasing dependence on technology. We are not just distracted by devices, texts, emails, constant notifications, and social media, but addicted to them.

Arianna Huffington

The inaugural Aspen Ideas Award, developed with Booz Allen Hamilton, recognizes innovative ideas from Festival presenters and scholars that impact communities around the world. In this session, five Award Finalists, chosen from over one hundred applicants, will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live Festival audience. One Finalist will walk away with $25,000 to bring their idea to action.

Cocktails, conversation, and great tunes with one of American music’s brightest rising stars — and the new bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Jon Batiste, Walter Isaacson

Over the past decade, coalitions in about a dozen countries have embraced initiatives based on a desired outcome in individuals and populations called “physical literacy.” These efforts have been launched in response to a common problem in industrialized societies: declining rates of physical activity. What is physical literacy? Can it be measured? And how can we build a cross-sector movement around it in the United States, with special focus on engaging the most vulnerable children?

Ken Davis, Kathleen Sebelius, Tom Farrey, Shale Wong

With Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and journalist Kai Ryssdal.

(Ticketed Event)

Thomas Perez, Kai Ryssdal

How can we create a new roadmap for “higher health?" Based on the latest findings in both mainstream and integrative medicine, panelists will discuss practical ways to experience higher consciousness, transformation, and healing, as well as new social paradigms for how we can interact with our communities. Strategies will be shared on how to promote creativity, innovation, and social well-being.

Deepak Chopra, Paul Mills, Poonacha Machaiah, Gina Murdock

Among his accomplishments, Summers has held leadership positions at the World Bank, the US Treasury, Harvard University, and the National Economic Council for the Obama administration. Here, Summers discusses the mounting crisis of income inequality.

David Leonhardt, Lawrence H. Summers

Medical tourism, once a cost-only issue, has evolved over the past 10 years to meet the changing expectations of those who seek care outside their home countries. Large US-based medical centers are entering into joint ventures to build and staff hospitals in the Middle East and Asia, putting attention not only on quality, outcomes, and fees, but also on making the travel and healthcare experiences easier and more comfortable.

Dan Bonk

A recent Gallup poll found that nearly one in three Americans are dissatisfied with the opportunity to move up and the current system of income and wealth distribution. It’s no surprise, then, that wage stagnation and rising inequality are emerging as potent themes among 2016 presidential hopefuls, even as the economy rebounds and unemployment falls.

Michael Gerson, Jim Wallis, Ronald Brownstein, David Frum, Angela Glover Blackwell, Grover Norquist, Heather McGhee

During the Ebola crisis, strong grassroots relationships and homegrown leadership made the difference between life and death. Drawing on that learning, movers and shakers from the Aspen New Voices Fellowship will share their stories about the silo-busting connections that can be forged under stress. From Sierra Leone to Nepal, these kinds of bonds keep our most vulnerable communities healthier and safer in perilous times.


John Cary, Courtney E. Martin

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Vital Voices will have leaders share their progress and vision on work that is at the cutting edge of today’s most urgent issues: transformation in the Middle East, gender-based violence, African women’s meteoric rise to leadership, the emergence of social business, and the extraordinary potential of digital presence and power. Underwritten by U.S.

Samar Khan, Sochua Mu, Karla Ruiz Cofiño, Sally Field, Alyse Nelson

Vaccines represent one of the great medical breakthroughs of our times, leading to the global eradication of smallpox and the prospect of a polio-free world. Five hundred million children have been reached with vaccines in the past 15 years, and seven million lives have been saved, according to the global Vaccine Alliance.

Christian Foster, Paul Offit, Neeraj Mistry, Ariel Pablos-Mendez

Seventy years since its founding, the United Nations remains the primary multilateral forum for dialogue among states on pressing issues of global peace and stability.

Ron Prosor, Vitaly Churkin, David Greene

A first kiss, a first dance. These are the rites of passage of American youth that hold the promise of magic, romance and initiation into adulthood. For kids from all walks of life, these first steps toward intimacy are at once exciting and terrifying. For some teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum, the transition can be nothing less than paralyzing.

Liz Feld, Emilio Amigo, Bill Thoet

Cartel Land is a harrowing look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years.

Tom Yellin, Matthew Heineman

Today, there are 104 women serving in the United States Congress, 29 female heads of government or state around the world, and 23 female CEOs in the S&P 500. But there are many more women leading important global and US institutions and initiatives, changing business models and transforming lives. From journalists to social advocates to business leaders, women are leading in their own ways and on their own terms. What do these leaders have on their minds? What can we learn from them?

Pamela Reeves, Sochua Mu, Ai-jen Poo, Shiza Shahid, Fiona Hill, Andrea Kates, Alyse Nelson, Rebecca Blumenstein, Hannah Jones, Leila Janah, Raney Aronson-Rath, Amy Cuddy, Vicky Dinges, Latondra Newton, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Robin Chase, Jacqueline Novogratz, Bina Venkataraman

On Black Friday in 2012, two cars parked next to each other at a Florida gas station. A white middle-aged male and a black teenager exchanged angry words over the volume of the music in the boy’s car. A gun entered the exchange, and one of them was left dead. Michael Dunn fired 10 bullets at a car full of unarmed teenagers and then fled. Three of those bullets hit 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who died at the scene. Arrested the next day, Dunn claimed he shot in self-defense.

Lucia McBath, Ron Davis, Ta-Nehisi Coates

David Brooks writes about character. Aaron Sorkin writes about characters. The opinionator and consummate storyteller join in a conversation about how Sorkin’s connection to and love of character distinguishes his writing and his craft.

Aaron Sorkin, David Brooks

A team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet.

Louie Psihoyos, Leilani Munter, Hilary Sparrow, Suzanne Goldenberg

The televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley in the summer of 1968 are the subject of the new PBS documentary. They skyrocketed ABC from dead last in the ratings and birthed a new era in public discourse. Today the heavily scripted exchanges of Sunday-morning television and 24-hour news are a far cry from the explosive but informed vitriol that surrounded the arguments between two of our country’s towering intellectuals.

Sam Tanenhaus, Marie Nelson, Matt Tyrnauer