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

Breakout   The Art of Justice
Vision & Justice: The Art of Citizenship
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
How do we “read” a photograph? What is the relationship between art production, culture, and justice? And how can photography, which has been used to shape notions of racial identity since the 19th century, be repurposed to confront stereotypes and deconstruct myths in the age of mass image creation? Find out in this interactive session led by Sarah Lewis, whose Vision & Justice course — based on her award-winning work as guest editor of the “Vision & Justice” issue of Aperture — has become one of the most popular offerings at Harvard University.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Preparing for the Next Disaster: A Look Ahead with FEMA’s Administrator
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria — not to mention the floods, wildfires, and storms that put 2017 on the books as one of the most disastrous years ever — some 4.7 million people registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But what exactly is FEMA’s role in relief and recovery? A conversation with the agency’s leader takes you inside the oft-misunderstood agency and its challenges.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakout   Viewpoints
Nestlé Waters North America Presents: Water Conservation for 21st Century Business
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Water is not only essential to sustain life, it’s a key component for businesses ranging from retail to automotive to technology. Based on recent study findings, American consumers insist that businesses do more to conserve water, and industry experts are making the case even more strongly. An organization that doesn’t address water usage in a transparent way risks significant operational and reputational damage. With a clear call to action to care for and conserve water more effectively, how are businesses searching for solutions, and what can they learn from each other’s approaches.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Breakout   The Sexes
Hidden Figures: The Secret Legacy of Women in Tech
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
The way history books tell it, the story of science and technology is one where the heroes are almost exclusively men. But we as a country have recently come to think of female and trans leadership differently, allowing the stories of past scientific pioneers to surface. This new perspective has enabled talented technologists to take greater leadership in the innovation sector and break down barriers to equality. Margot Shetterly, author of the best-selling history behind Academy Award-winning film Hidden Figures, and Peggy Johnson, one of Silicon Valley’s chief female executives, will discuss women who have transcended limitations to revolutionize science.
Koch Tent
Just Words: Do We Control Language or Does Language Control Us?
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Words come at us in print, online, and on the air; in podcasts, movies, editorials, and advertorials; through e-mail, texts, and tweets. Words may shock, like those of Samantha Bee and Roseanne. They may be code, like pro-life or climate change, for political ideas or beliefs. But how do words affect on our democracy — and us? Do we flatten the power of words through repetition or familiarity, as in, “Let me be honest”? Do we all receive the same message when we hear the same words? Join a talented panel of language experts to explore the implications of our roiling language scene, and see what’s inside the world of words we speak and hear every day.
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   Our Imperfect Union
One Year Later: Moving Charlottesville (and America) Forward
4:20 pm - 5:10 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Charlottesville, the iconic home of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and the University of Virginia, is now also permanently associated with the 2017 white supremacist hate rallies — and their tragic outcome. Why did those groups choose Charlottesville? What was the impact of the violence on the community, and how has the city worked to move forward? What has Charlottesville learned, and what can it teach America about healing and resilience in a time of resurging hate and divisiveness?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Seismic Shifts
Understanding Trump's Foreign Policy
4:20 pm - 5:10 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
In the nearly 18 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has made an array of foreign policy changes. It began with withdrawing from the TPP, instituting the travel ban, and calling for strikes in Syria in the early months of 2017, continues through recognizing Jerusalem, announcing tariffs, pulling out of the Iran Nuclear deal, and culminates just weeks ago during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. What’s next in the administration’s push for an America First agenda, and where do these profound changes leave America in the world?
Greenwald Pavilion
Special Event  
The Art of Protest: Selections from the Whitney--Opening Reception
5:00 pm - 6:00 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
Shuttles to In-Town Plenary Sessions
5:10 pm - 5:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Comcast NBCUniversal Ideas Pavilion
Plenary Session   Our Imperfect Union
The Cultural Revolution We Need: How America Will Turn Itself Around
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
The forces of division have been tearing America's social fabric for decades. But a new coalition of community builders with a new set of beliefs is rising to turn things around. Here's how you can help. Underwritten by Nestlé Waters North America.
St. Regis Hotel Ballroom
Plenary Session   Seismic Shifts
Russia: The World's Outlaw State
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
While the allegations of Russia’s 2016 election meddling have dominated US headlines, Vladimir Putin’s government is increasingly acting as an outlaw state across the international stage — undermining European democracies, launching devastating ransomware cyberattacks, harassing US diplomats, executing journalists and dissidents, harboring sophisticated cybercriminals, and testing Western alliances. How should the United States, Europe, and the West as a whole respond to the rising belligerence of Putin’s Russia?
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Plenary Session   Viewpoints
Why Should Millennials Invest? Because It's Cool -- And It's Smart
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
As millennials begin to stake their claims in today’s market, what should they be paying attention to? Young people need to understand the fundamentals of investing, and try it, even if a few dollars at a time. VC investor Kevin O’Leary, of “Shark Tank” fame, is a man on a mission, driven to explain why investing reaps long-term benefits for little upfront cost. He shares his insight on disruptive assets of today’s market, and how millennials should capitalize. And he has a new trick to keep investing simple – and fun.
Wheeler Opera House Bar
Evening Session   Our Imperfect Union
Where do "Never Trump" Republicans Go From Here?
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
During the 2016 presidential campaign, some prominent Republicans — appalled by candidate Trump’s crude remarks, his chaotic campaign, and his ideological inconsistencies — proclaimed their opposition with the slogan “NeverTrump.” Fast forward to 2018: Trump and Trumpism are here to stay, and the NeverTrumpers and their supporters suddenly seem out of step with the fast-moving, rowdy populism of the Republican Party. They’ve been called delusional and in denial, but they haven’t backed down. With midterms approaching and 2020 just around the bend, what’s the next move for establishment Republicans?
Belly Up Aspen
Evening Session   Viewpoints
306 Hollywood (Film & Discussion)
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
With boundless creativity and irrepressible energy, 306 Hollywood memorializes and honors the life of the filmmakers’ grandmother, Annette Ontell. Housewife, fashion designer, and beloved family member, Ontell lived seven decades in the same house — 306 Hollywood Avenue in Hillside, NJ. Ultimately a profound reflection on how we examine and deal with the past, the film can also be viewed as a quirky instruction manual on how to live in the present. 306 Hollywood remains intellectually adventurous while playfully peeking into odd corners and exploring shifts in scale. Film is followed by discussion with filmmakers Elan and John Bogarin.
Paepcke Auditorium
Evening Session   Our Imperfect Union
Do the Democrats Have What It Takes to Win Big in 2018 — and 2020?
8:30 pm - 9:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
Midterms are often seen as the first nationwide referendum on a first-term president. Donald Trump’s ratings have ranged from low to medium-low, but a “blue wave” of victories is far from guaranteed this fall. Where Democrats strive for inclusiveness with regard to race, gender, and immigration status, critics see “identity politics,” and successfully fending off that critique may determine the party’s fate across the country. Who are the rising Democratic stars to watch, and what internal clashes must the Democrats resolve as they look toward 2020?
St. Regis Hotel Ballroom
Evening Session   The Sexes
Good Feminist, Bad Feminist — Who Gets to Decide?
8:30 pm - 9:30 pm MDT on Monday, June 25, 2018
What is feminism, and is anyone doing it right? As the movement has gone mainstream and come under greater scrutiny, it seems any consensus on the meaning of “feminism” has been lost — but was there ever agreement on what it was? In this panel, a collection of leading thinkers will define feminism and attempt to answer what makes a good feminist in 2018. How can we get less angry (or should we be more angry)? How do we get more aligned (or was alignment ever part of the deal)? And just what is the future of the feminist movement?
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Sunrise Session  
Maroon Bells Exploration: Guided Walk through Aspen’s Wilderness Gateway (Bus Loads at the Limelight Hotel at 6:45 AM)
6:45 am - 9:00 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Follow local naturalists on a gentle walk along the pristine lake beneath the famous Maroon Bells peaks. Learn about the plants and animals that call this home and the secrets to their success in the Colorado wilderness. First come, first served to the first 50 participants. Dress warm!
Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
Sunrise Session  
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Anderson Park
Sunrise Session   The Genius of Animals
Why Birds Matter with Nature Valley: Guided Bird-Watching Excursion
7:00 am - 8:00 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Join local naturalist and bird expert Rebecca Weiss for a one-hour bird-watching walk along the banks of Castle Creek and the Roaring Fork River. This journey will go beyond basic identification and dive into the important roles birds play in our ecosystems and in our own lives, from architectural design to pollination, to how birds are indicators of ecosystem health. Participants meet at the General Mills Market in the Mayer Courtyard at 6:45 AM. First come, first served. Limited to 20 participants.
General Mills Market, Mayer Courtyard
Breakfast Talk   Design for the New Normal
Bayou Breakdown: The Incredible Urgency of Coastal Restoration
7:50 am - 8:40 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Coastal Louisiana is in crisis. Since the 1930s, the state has lost more than 2,000 square miles of land. Every 100 minutes, a football field of coastal land disappears into open water. That adds up to an area the size of Delaware being swallowed, in small and steady gulps, by the Gulf of Mexico. Can the state’s bold, $50 billion restoration plan save the residents, wildlife, industry, and billions of dollars in economic infrastructure? What can other coastal cities learn from the Mississippi River Delta? Underwritten by Walton Family Foundation.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom