Schedule for 2018

Announcing the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival schedule! Find the session you're looking for by sorting by Program Tracks, Session Date, or search by session name or speaker.

Downloadable Spotlight Health Agenda

Downloadable Aspen Ideas Festival Agenda

Festival Previews   Seismic Shifts
Leading on Climate: The United States Gave Up the Reins, Now What?
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Since Syria and Nicaragua joined the Paris Accord last fall, the United States stands alone as the only country on the planet to reject the pact. President Trump’s withdrawal, after President Obama was fundamental in forming the agreement, means an abandonment of prominent leadership just as the rest of the world’s governments and companies are moving forward to combat climate change. Arguments about who should act, and how, shape international negotiations. Meanwhile, China has already asserted itself as the new leader on clean energy by launching initiatives and announcing global partnerships. Is climate change a geopolitical crisis in the making?
Paepcke Auditorium
Festival Previews   Viewpoints
Big Bet Philanthropy
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
True, sustainable social change is difficult to achieve, and historically very few donors have been willing to make big bets of $10 million or more on any one solution. But a new model is emerging, one in which philanthropists are pooling funds and looking to fund solutions that won’t just move the needle but will permanently change unjust systems. This represents a new frontier for funders and nonprofits alike. Learn from the people who are drawing up the blueprints.
Koch Tent
Opening Session   Viewpoints
Where Do Ideas Come From? Aspen Ideas Festival Opening Event
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Greenwald Pavilion
Aspen Ideas Festival Opening Reception
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Doerr-Hosier Center
Evening Session   Design for the New Normal
Anote's Ark (Film & Discussion)
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
What if your country was swallowed by the sea? The Pacific island nation of Kiribati (population 100,000) is one of the most remote places on the planet, and one of the first to confront imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. Set against the backdrop of international climate and human rights negotiations, former Kiribati president Anote Tong’s struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of a young mother of six, who fights to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake is the survival of the Kiribati people and 4,000 years of Kiribati culture. Film is followed by a discussion with filmmaker Matthieu Rytz.
Paepcke Auditorium
Town Hall: The Role of Free Speech and Creative Expression in Democracy
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
For Freedoms Town Halls are intended to drive civic engagement and dynamic dialogue through artful acts. In this meeting, works of art will be displayed with the intent of catalyzing discussion about freedom of speech. Can an exploration of creative expression bring us closer to our collective values? A forum for inclusive public conversation, this unique town hall will bring citizens together with contemporary artists, designers, and policy makers, welcoming many and diverse points of view.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Evening Session   Viewpoints
'Selected Shorts: Lovers & Strangers' (Live Performance)
8:30 pm - 9:30 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
The hit public radio series “Selected Shorts” comes to the Aspen Ideas Festival with an evening of spellbinding short stories about chance encounters, love, loss, and new beginnings. Host Melora Hardin (“The Bold Type”) joins actors René Auberjonois (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Gildart Jackson (“Whodunnit?”), and Jenna Ushkowitz (“Glee”) as they perform moving and comical stories by established and emerging writers.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Evening Session   Viewpoints
The Atlantic After Hours: Where Does #MeToo Go from Here?
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
The #MeToo movement has forced America into a transparent conversation about sex and power. From clear cut cases of assault, harassment and misogyny to poor communication, bad dates and uncomfortable situations — American society is wrestling with what gender and power mean in the workplace and in personal relationships. The debate cuts across culture, gender, class, race and generations, but views on what constitutes a problem and what steps should be taken to change American culture can vary widely. As new revelations roll in and the country continues to wrangle with what this all means, what is the next chapter in the movement? Is the definition of harassment shifting, and who decides? As individuals, society, and workplaces undergo urgent reflection, The Atlantic offers a frank conversation with the writers whose criticism and observation has defined the moment.
Limelight Hotel
Sunrise Session  
Guided Nature Walk
6:45 am - 9:00 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
Sunrise Session  
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Anderson Park
Breakfast Talk   The Sexes
Same Game, New Rules: Parenting in 2018
7:50 am - 8:40 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Raising well-adjusted children has always seemed difficult, but now the task — as well as the duty to protect them — seems more difficult and necessary than ever. As our lives are disrupted by technology and identity is viewed with more nuance than ever, how do we parent well in 2018? How can we work to support our children instead of confining them? What stresses do boys, girls, and nonbinary children experience today that they had not before? What new opportunities do our children have, and how do we harness them for the benefit of our families and societies?
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Breakfast Talk   Our Imperfect Union
Our Towns: A Journey into the Heart of America
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Is the view from “out there” in America as bleak as our pundits and politicos keep telling us it is? Deborah and James Fallows — who have spent the past five years traveling the interior of America from South Dakota to South Carolina and dozens of points in between — say no. Their new best-selling book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, argues that a local-level wave of renewal and re-engagement is already underway. The crucial political question, they say, is how and when this positive version of the country’s future will inform our national debate.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Aspen Policy Series   Aspen in Action
The Inequality Puzzle: Shrinking the Gap by 2020
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
The unemployment rate is at its lowest in decades and the economy is booming, yet millions of working families are struggling to gain a foothold in the American Dream. The Aspen Institute's Ascend program catalyzes innovation from the ground up: forward-thinking community organizations, state policymakers, and philanthropists making bold partnerships to create lasting security for generations. In this session, hear about solutions that are shifting lives — and narratives — for resilient families, and participate in a dialogue about what this divide means for the midterm elections and beyond.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Special Event   The Art of Justice
The Art of Protest: Selections from the Whitney
9:00 am - 5:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
This exhibit marks a unique collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Resnick Action Forum, presenting 32 protest posters from the 1960s and 1970s at the Aspen Institute. Concurrently, the Whitney Museum in New York City is exhibiting a selection of protest posters from the same collection. These posters are part of a significant group of works acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art with generously donated funds from The American Contemporary Art Foundation Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, president.
Paepcke Gallery
Plenary Session   Aspen Lectures
Adjusting to Modernity in American English
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Language is a subjective thing, but one so deeply ingrained in our consciousness that accepting linguistic change brings out the conservative in all of us. But language is fundamentally and necessarily flexible, and aspects of modern America are making it imperative that we open up some big changes, particularly in relation to euphemism, profanity, and the use of pronouns.
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   Our Imperfect Union
Restoring the American Dream Through Big Data
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
A defining feature of the American Dream is upward income mobility — the ideal that children will achieve a higher standard of living than their parents. Economist Raj Chetty’s research shows that children’s prospects of reaching that benchmark have fallen from 90 percent to 50 percent over the past half century. Chetty will discuss how big data can help us understand what has led to the erosion of the American Dream — and how local policymakers and civic leaders can use it to revive the Dream for future generations.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Design for the New Normal
A 'Stubborn Optimist' in the Face of Climate Change
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
As secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres led the global adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. But she was not always so hopeful, and recalls a turning point as she consciously shifted her attitude from despair to stubborn optimism. Jeff Goodell, author of The Water Will Come sits down with Figueres to reveal how individuals can harness hope and take action as they face the seemingly impossible.
Greenwald Pavilion
Breakout   Viewpoints
Allstate Presents: Tip of the Iceberg—The Road to Autonomous Cars
10:15 am - 11:15 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018

Tip of the Iceberg: The Road to Autonomous Cars America is on the verge of a complete transformation in personal transportation, and our autonomous future will remake society and industry in undreamed-of ways. That makes transportation an incredible — and immediate — economic opportunity. This panel looks at the forces that are driving the autonomous vehicle revolution, and how that transformation will change the lives of Americans and the companies that serve them.

Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Breakout   The Art of Justice
Shared Language: Arts in the Public Square
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
How do the arts of poetry, painting, journalism, fashion, architecture, television foster social justice?
Paepcke Auditorium
Breakout   The Sexes
Pink Brain, Blue Brain: What Really Separates Men and Women
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
We know that men and women are different — but how exactly, and why? Though some differences lie in anatomy and biology, that’s not the whole story. How do our brains dictate our manliness or womanliness, and what differences between males and females exist only in our imaginations? Do boys really have more trouble in the classroom, do girls innately care more about beauty, and what does nonbinary identity teach us about how we define ourselves?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room