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.

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Downloadable Aspen Ideas Festival Agenda

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Is the First Amendment Obsolete?
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The United States is suffering through a new age of efforts to control speech, discredit and harass the press, and manipulate public debate — and these attacks are coming via techniques pioneered by the Russian and Chinese governments. Is the First Amendment, which was designed to combat the royal censorship still fresh in the minds of the Founders, now obsolete? What can be done to protect the integrity of political debate and elections in the face of these new forms of attack?
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   The Sexes
The American Man in Crisis
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
In aggregate, men in America are suffering. As many as ten million are missing from the workforce; jobs their fathers and grandfathers held have been automated and outsourced. Millions fewer boys are enrolling in college. Tens of thousands perished last year, victims of the opioid epidemic. One in ten black men in his thirties is incarcerated. What is the story behind all this data, and is modern masculinity part of the problem? How do we save the American man?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Seismic Shifts
To Fix the Refugee Crisis, Harness the Best of Human Nature
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
More people have been forced to flee their homes by conflict and crisis than at any time since World War II, leaving an unprecedented 65 million people displaced. What does David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, believe can be done to help? As the son of refugees and a former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, he brings a personal commitment and a surprisingly hopeful global strategy to humanitarian aid.
Greenwald Pavilion
Breakout   Seismic Shifts
Liberal Democracy is at Risk at Home and Abroad
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
While more than 100 countries have adopted democracy over the last two centuries, it’s already been a decade since political scientist Larry Diamond posited a “democratic recession” sweeping the globe. The revolt of the middle class, the rise of China, and power grabs through military coups are just a few factors that suggest a disturbing trend of democratic deterioration. Countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, once held up as exemplar new democracies, have since restricted social, economic, and political freedoms. Is liberal democracy dying a slow death? How can it be revived?
Paepcke Auditorium
Why Technology, not Goods, Is the Driver of Globalization
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Historically, globalization has been characterized by cross-border flows of resources and products. Financial exchanges follow, allowing for direct investment at home and abroad. In the digital economy, we see massive flows of information and data, which are perhaps even more critical to economic growth, crossing borders everywhere. In an era of anti-globalism, can the pace and flow of digital information be slowed, let alone stopped?
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Why We Should Resist Hate with Free Speech, Not Censorship
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Most of us are repulsed by hateful actions and feelings, and it often seems that the easiest — and most just — way of getting rid of hate is by getting rid of the speech that promotes it. Nadine Strossen has dedicated her career to the defense of civil liberties, and as a champion of the First Amendment, she cautions us to remember that speech, painful as some of it might be, is justifiably protected. Where divisiveness and rancor describe our civil discourse, she argues, we must be even more vigilant against the temptation to censor, despite how repugnant some expression might be. There are better ways to combat hate.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Hot to Cold: Design Solutions Around the Globe
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Through the scorching heat of the Arabian Desert to the unforgiving chill of the Finnish tundra, BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann explores how design solutions are shaped by cultural and climatic contexts to unlock the immense possibilities of adaptive architecture. With a central challenge of mitigating climatic extremes to be hospitable to human life, solutions can be both economically and environmentally profitable. This session explores the search for a pragmatic utopia, shaped as the kind of world we wish to inhabit.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Is Your Online Tribe a Threat to Democracy?
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
When we speak and associate with others in real life, the First Amendment governs interactions, granting broad rights of individual speech and association. Yet when we interact online, we submit to terms of service from private companies. The consequence is that private platforms have become the new governors of speech and association. As if that weren’t bad enough, the platforms’ proprietary algorithms determine which information we see, and allow targeting of particular users based on hyper-personalized data. In effect, the algorithms are dictating and defining our public sphere. In an online world already suffering from vitality over veracity, will this focus on our respective tribes exacerbate polarization even more? Will the predictable trolling keep getting worse?
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Breakout   Seismic Shifts
Settlers in the Most Contentious Place on Earth
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Writer Wajahat Ali talks to The Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg about his trip — and subsequent feature story and short documentary — to meet with Jewish settlers in the West Bank. How does this conflict impact the Muslim and Jewish relations in the region, and is there a solution moving forward? Or are we doomed to witness an absolutist tragedy?
Koch Tent
Breakout   Viewpoints
Words on the Move
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The evolution of the English language is more often thought of as a devolution, particularly with the infiltration of texting abbreviations and jargon into our everyday use. John McWhorter, linguist and associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, pushes back against this assumption. He’ll guide us through the evolution of the English language and invite us to laugh about, marvel at, and celebrate its vitality.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Lunch Session On Campus   The Art of Justice
Carrie Mae Weems: The Personal and the Political
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
For more than three decades, artist Carrie Mae Weems has created a body of work — including photographs, fabric, text, audio, and video — that probes the fault lines of race, gender, class, politics, and power. In this session, the Prix de Rome and MacArthur Fellowship winner stages a collaborative performance of her work and discusses how it merges the personal and the political. Weems will be joined by a frequent collaborator, Sarah Lewis, best-selling author and Harvard University assistant professor of the history of art and architecture and African American studies.
Paepcke Auditorium
Lunch Session On Campus   Design for the New Normal
Mending the Apparel Industry
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The CEOs of two of the top apparel companies — Patagonia and Eileen Fisher — discuss their motivation to make clothing manufacturing kinder to the environment and the people who make our clothes. With the shared value of social consciousness, Rose Marcario and Eileen Fisher delve into why a holistic approach, one that goes beyond a single company and its bottom line, is essential to doing business that’s good for everyone.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Lunch Session On Campus   Staying Human in a High-Tech World
Is Antitrust the Antidote to Big Tech?
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The rise of digital platforms and explosion of corporate mergers and consolidation is profoundly changing the global competitive landscape. In the United States, there is a growing debate over the role of antitrust and competition policy in protecting competition and American consumers. What role will antitrust play going forward in a consolidating media industry? Is antitrust law the solution to the power of digital platforms? Is the current antitrust legal regime equipped for the 21st Century? Should the DOJ Antitrust Division be an enforcer or a market regulator? How did a young Iranian immigrant rise to become the chief antitrust enforcer in the Trump administration? Journalist Charles Duhigg will explore these topics and others with Makan Delrahim, head of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Lunch Session In Town   Our Imperfect Union
Who Runs the World? The Surge of Women into American Politics
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Since 2016, we’ve watched women rack up unprecedented wins in statehouses, city halls, and even Congress — and thousands more are throwing their hats into the ring. How did factors like Donald Trump’s win and #MeToo influence this wave, and why does the movement seem to be taking hold now? We’ll take a look at the different governing styles and priorities women exhibit compared to their male counterparts, and talk about the challenges they face as they attempt to make 2018 “The Year of the Woman” in American politics. Underwritten by Microsoft.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Lunch Session In Town   Seismic Shifts
North Korea: The Threat Assessment
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
President Obama told incoming President Trump that North Korea would likely be the toughest item on his to-do list, and through the first 500 days of the administration, the prediction has proved correct. Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program has made regional allies, like South Korea and Japan, nervous, and heightened nuclear fears in the United States for the first time since the end of the Cold War. With all the drama over the on-again, off-again summit, where does the thorniest issue on Trump’s agenda go?
St. Regis Hotel Ballroom
Aspen Policy Series   Aspen in Action
Off the Beaten (Entrepreneurial) Path
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Most of us know the entrepreneurial success stories of places like Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, and Boston. But if great ideas are everywhere, why aren’t entrepreneurial businesses thriving worldwide, in places large and small? What can we do to promote entrepreneurship in unusual places, and make sure the prosperity-creating and problem-solving power of entrepreneurs is fully leveraged in Allentown or Accra, as well as in Austin? Simone Wai, Co-Found and Community-Builder of Folkways and a 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, will also be joining this panel.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Luncheon Roundtable   Viewpoints
Roundtable Lunch
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
1. The Paradox of Free Speech: Should We Tolerate the Intolerable? - Gillian Caldwell and Faisal Al Mutar | 2. What Is the Role of Business in Water Conservation? - Tara Carraro and Will Sarni | 3. If Your Fave Is Problematic, Do You Throw Away Their Art, Too? - Brittney Cooper | 4. What's Next with the Nuclear Deal? - Peter Feaver
PayPal Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable   Viewpoints
Roundtable Lunch
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Free Speech on the Internet: Should We Prune the Trolls? - Nick Thompson
Paepcke Gallery
Luncheon Roundtable   Viewpoints
Roundtable Lunch
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Radio Atlantic - Jeffrey Goldberg, Alex Wagner, and Matt Thompson
The Atlantic Tent
Luncheon Roundtable   Viewpoints
Roundtable Lunch
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
1. How Hard Should We Fight for a Free Press? - Gillian Caldwell and Faisal Al Mutar
The Atlantic Tent

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