AIF Blog

Scholars: A Vital Part of the Festival Community

May 19, 2017
A group of scholars gathers on the Aspen Institute campus in Aspen, Colorado during Spotlight Health 2016.
The Aspen Institute, through the generosity of our patrons and sponsoring organizations, will bring a diverse group of 300 leaders from across the US and 30 countries to the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival. They're scholars nominated by senior members of the Institute's staff, Festival advisors, past scholars, and many others within the Institute's broad network. They are selected for their work, accomplishments, and ability to transform ideas into action. The scholars will either attend Spotlight Health, Festival 1, or Festival 2 depending on the areas of their work and expertise.
The Aspen Ideas Festival Scholars program this year features several groupings of scholars, including the Bezos Foundation Scholars, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation Fellows, the Bush Foundation Scholars, and the Ifill Scholars, in memory of journalist Gwen Ifill.
The Scholars program began in 2007 and has continued to improve and expand each year. But the goals of the program remain unchanged. First and foremost, our hope is that this select group of emerging young leaders will not only attend, but engage with the Festival. We want them to wrestle with the big ideas presented in our sessions, and infuse their diverse opinions into the discussion. The Festival is a great place to make new connections and have eye-opening conversations that the scholars can take home and use to advance their work.
Our Scholars engage with the Festival like other attendees. They are encouraged to pick and choose which sessions they attend so that they can be exposed to new ideas and fresh perspectives along the way. Whether they're learning a new skill at a workshop, listening to different perspectives during an onstage debate, or continuing meaningful conversations with their peers after a session, our scholars have been, and will continue to be, a vital part of the Aspen Ideas Festival community.
Click here to see a list of this year's scholars.
By Alex Skarzynski, Program Coordinator, Public Programs