Festival Updates

Nov 21, 2013
How can the arts help shrink the economic divide in our country? Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute's Arts Program invited Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, and Melody Barnes, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and current director of the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions, to discuss why art must go beyond entertainment and become part of the fabric of progress. Merely supporting the arts isn't enough — thriving...
Oct 30, 2013
Do we need a space race on energy? Earlier this week, three governors of Western states signed a pact with Canada to coordinate climate change policies. But our investment in science, as a country, since the Cold War and Sputnik has dropped off dramatically. Kristina Johnson (former undersecretary of energy) says solving the energy crisis is a complex problem that involves policy, science, and engineering. “Fifty percent of our engineers are over 50 or older and will be retiring in...
Oct 25, 2013
New technologies now enable us to visualize the cosmos in even greater detail. Where once we were confined to theories, now it is possible to immerse ourselves in alien environments, and even see through the eyes of robot explorers. As scientists probe the universe, our limits as humans come into question. Is there an evolutionary glass ceiling for humanity? Will we exceed our capacity by creating technological advances that are far beyond our ability to grow as a race? Watch (1:43) as Charles...
Oct 18, 2013
After a 16-day standoff and government shutdown, Congress and President Obama reached an agreement to raise the nation’s debt limit. While the current crisis is averted, it is but a temporary solution since the new deal only carries the country through until mid February. Rewind to the summer of 2011 when our government was grappling with the threat of shutdown and debt limits. Then, the Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson asked Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the federal reserve,...
Oct 10, 2013
Malala Yousafzai’s campaign to educate girls continues to gain momentum globally. Within months of being gunned down on her school bus, the Pakistani activist founded the Malala Fund and returned to spreading her message. Watch this short video of the Nobel Peace Prize contender speaking to the Aspen Ideas Festival audience. “If we educate one girl, it means we educate the whole society,” she says. Today is United Nation’s International Day of the Girl, established...
Sep 27, 2013
With the threat of a government shutdown dominating Washington all week, the Affordable Care Act remains front and center to the spending debate. Former treasury secretary Robert Rubin, Peter Orszag (former director of OMB) and Ken Davis (president and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center) convened at Aspen Ideas to ask: Can We Afford Our Health? All agree that fixing the crippling costs of health care is massively complex. Davis, also a physician, says we must ask what a human life is worth...
Sep 19, 2013
  While it’s unclear that the gun legislation that failed to pass last April would have prevented the latest mass shooting which killed 12 at Washington's Navy Yard on Monday, the tragedy does renew the debate about gun laws. How was Congress able to act against 90 percent of the American public and get away with it? The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg sat down with Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, at Aspen Ideas. Among the many complex...
Sep 11, 2013
The U.S. Economy: As we near the close of the third quarter, what will the growth numbers have in store? It is unlikely we will see a jump of more than 2.5 percent in GDP growth anytime soon, says Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Washington bureau chief of The New York Times David Leonhardt asks Lew at Aspen Ideas if this is the "new normal," or will the United States ever soar to the 4-percent growth numbers experienced in the nineties. The core economy is stronger than...
Sep 05, 2013
Today, one in four children in the United States is growing up in poverty. Oftentimes living in poverty goes hand in hand with exposure to violence, chronic insecurity, loss, hardship, and disruption. Pamela Cantor, founder of Turnaround for Children, underscores how living in scarcity inflicts a traumatic form of stress on kids’ developing brains — interfering with learning and impacting behavior. Watch now (1:44) to hear Cantor describe the new scientific research that...
Aug 22, 2013
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic speech. But many don't realize that even though King’s “I Have a Dream” speech marked a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement, it did not have a significant impact on legislation. At Aspen Ideas, David Rubenstein illuminates the speech’s historic significance and discusses why it is hailed as a masterpiece of rhetoric and how it stacks up to other speeches...

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