AIF Blog

February 21, 2018
Historian and author Jon Meacham speaks with journalist John Dickerson at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017.Our current political time looks most like the 1930s, says historian Jon Meacham. With one of every four American men out of work, populist groups on the right and left were on the rise during the Depression. Citizens were questioning democratic capitalism. "It was a genuine moment where we were...
February 16, 2018
 Journalist Thomas Friedman speaks with MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017. Machines are making decisions humans used to make. The world’s five most valuable companies are tech firms. The Internet is a source of collective wisdom for people seeking solutions to myriad problems. It would be hard to overstate the dramatic impact artificial intelligence and increased...
February 14, 2018
US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith reads her poetry at Winter Words, an event held by the Institute's literary program Aspen Words. (photo: Nick Tininenko) Last year the US Library of Congress named Tracy K. Smith as the country's Poet Laureate. She follows in the footsteps of notables who have held the position like Billy Collins, Rita Dove, and Juan Felipe Herrera. In January, she read her poetry and...
February 07, 2018
Journalist Michele Norris speaks with philanthropists Jeff Raikes and Darren Walker at the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival.Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Gates Foundation, says the key to real social justice in America is to have tough conversations about race. He's the first to admit he's the product of privilege. "I was born white, male, in the United States, and I was born heterosexual," he says....
January 30, 2018
Walter Isaacson sits down with Norman Lear and Khizr Khan at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017.America's most revered documents, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Decleration of Independence, provided comfort during challenging times to two men on different continents. Norman Lear poured over these texts at public school when his father was incarcerated. “Those words were — they...
January 24, 2018
 Mickey Edwards speaks with Julie Fedorchak, Amanda Edwards, and Ashley Swearengin at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Whether they’re from a big, sprawling city or one of the most rural states in the country, Americans are concerned about a lot of the same issues, economic sustainability for their families and education chief among them. And, according to a panel of young local and regional leaders at the 2017 Aspen Ideas...
January 23, 2018
Former Congressman Mickey Edwards speaks with author Bill Bishop about "The Big Sort" at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017. What causes you to move to a new neighborhood, town, or city? A job opportunity? A desire to be closer to family? Perhaps it's none of the above. Journalist Bill Bishop says more and more people are choosing a community based on idealogical reasons. People are making...
January 22, 2018
Comedian Pete Dominick speaks with writer Susan Orlean at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017.New York Times best-selling author Susan Orlean says ignorance about a subject is a powerful ignitor of curiosity. As someone who has written about bullfighters, orchid fanatics, and an African king who drives a taxi in New York City, she knows a thing or two about delving into far-flung topics. How can we learn to take in the...
January 10, 2018
 Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit," speaks to an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival. When you wake up in the morning, do you roll over in bed to kiss your partner? Or, do you grab your smartphone?  “How many of you checked your iPhone within the first five minutes of waking up?,” New York Times columnist Charles Duhigg asked an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival...
January 09, 2018
Walter Isaacson speaks with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a filmmaker, Harvard professor, and Aspen Institute Trustee, at the Aspen Ideas Festival. How far have we come toward racial equality since the civil rights era? What does it mean to be black today? How can we have had a black president while events like Ferguson continue to occur? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard professor and filmmaker, says progress in the...

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