Video and Audio

Select video and audio from Spotlight Health and the Aspen Ideas Festival. All video and audio is from 2018.

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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.

Featuring:
Christiana Figueres, Jeff Goodell

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.

Featuring:
Raj Chetty, Gillian White

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.

Featuring:
John McWhorter

Maryland Congressman John Delaney is the first declared 2020 Democratic candidate for president. He’s also the author of The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation. Learn why he’s running and what he’s learned through his service to and travels around the country that he one day hopes to lead.

Featuring:
Steve Clemons, John Delaney

How will government survive without the skill of tech superstars among its ranks? Jen Pahlka’s Code for America was launched with the mission to use the principles and practices of the digital age to rebuild the institutions we rely on for our democracy. Kathleen Janus, whose recent book took her around the country meeting top social entrepreneurs, guides this conversation on how renegade start-ups gain traction, and reshape the way we govern and live.

Featuring:
Kathleen Kelly Janus, Jennifer Pahlka

With a dramatically reduced budget, a new system for categorizing race, an unprecedented proposal to count only American citizens, and a move to all-digital implementation (that’s right, no more knocks on the door), the plan for the 2020 Census has many policymakers and close observers deeply concerned. Changes like these, combined with the charged political climate around immigrants and race, could ultimately result in a deeply flawed count.

Featuring:
David Leonhardt, Arturo Vargas

Creative expression takes many forms. Through history, art has provoked a range of feelings: emotion, empathy, fear, surprise, joy, compassion, anger. Now, amidst a time of national angst, where many in society might not hear the voices of those who don’t agree, a group of remarkable artists and political strategists are imagining ways that art can be used to catalyze different kinds of dialogue across the aisle. Perhaps art will re-shape our political discourse.

Featuring:
Jim Crown, Paula Crown, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, Mark Skidmore

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?

Featuring:
Michael Kimmel, Lise Eliot

How do the arts of poetry, painting, journalism, fashion, architecture, television foster social justice?

Featuring:
David Brooks, Elisa New, Paula Kerger, Carrie Mae Weems, Stuart Weitzman

What factors motivate people to make it to the polls in any given year, and what keeps them away? One thing we learned from 2016 is that predicting not only how people will vote, but if they will vote, is extremely complicated. How much impact do positive or negative ads on TV or social media have on voting rates? How and where will gerrymandering, or redistricting, be most consequential?

Featuring:
Eric Liu, Arturo Vargas, Amy Walter, Celinda Lake, Christine Matthews, Mimi Marziani

The Founders created a representative republic rather than a direct democracy, designed to slow down deliberation so that majorities could rule based on reason rather than passion. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter, new social media technologies have unleashed populist passions and accelerated public discourse to warp speed, creating the very mobs, demagogues, echo chambers, and factions that Madison and Hamilton feared.

Featuring:
Jeffrey Goldberg, Jeff Rosen

In the US marketplace,11.6 million businesses are owned by women. Growth in this sector has increased by 114 percent since 1997 — 2.5 times the national average — but male-led firms are still more likely to get start-up funding. That’s not simply unfair, it’s stupid, because it turns out firms started by women regularly outperform those founded by men.

Featuring:
Eileen Fisher, Peggy Johnson, Kevin O'Leary, Sara Margulis

Do we have a right to health care? The United States remains the only developed country in the world unable to come to agreement on the answer. While many feel that the US government crossed a line with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate, others hope the program will expand. But do we even maintain consensus on the status of rights such as security, water, and shelter — and to what extent should government prioritize these protections?

Featuring:
David Leonhardt, Atul Gawande

Trust is democracy’s most valuable asset; we simply can’t work together to solve large problems without it. Yet, trust is at an all-time low. Polling reveals that a majority of Americans do not trust government or the media, and — perhaps more concerning — they do not trust each other.

Featuring:
Charlie Firestone, Jane Wales, Michael Stewart, Eric Braverman

Stuart Weitzman is one of America’s most famous shoe designers, known for outfitting countless celebrities (think Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Kate Moss) but — perhaps more importantly — women across the globe who aspire to quality, class, and style.

Featuring:
Stuart Weitzman

The data on social mobility and opportunity in the United States can be discouraging, especially for communities of color. While significant structural barriers to social mobility exist, these barriers can be lowered through the application of good policies and programs. During this session, panelists will discuss what the data tells us about social mobility and describe the work being done to challenge the obstacles to opportunity.

Featuring:
Melody Barnes, Monique Miles, Steve Patrick, Erik Stegman

We don’t need fewer arguments in American civic life today, we need less stupid ones. That means we need arguments that are more emotionally intelligent and more deeply rooted in our history. It also means recognizing that America is an argument: between liberty and equality, strong national government and local control, color blindness and color-consciousness, pluribus and unum.

Featuring:
Ramesh Ponnuru, Eric Liu, Rob Reich, Deborah Tannen, Michelle De La Isla

The Poetry Jam Session brings together some of the nation’s leading young poets for a spirited 80-minutes of cross-disciplinary performance, collaboration, and discussion. Lyrical and musical acrobatics will introduce ideas and issues central to this year’s arts track, bringing poetic life to the intersection of art and justice. This session is led by dancer turned director Damian Woetzel.

Featuring:
Damian Woetzel, Allan Monga, Gopal Raman, Camila Sanmiguel, Juliet Lubwama, Ben Lee, Kinsale Hueston, Annie Castillo, Jada Imani Carter

Hear the story of #MeToo from its founder, leaders, and chroniclers. Join Tarana Burke, founder of the original Me Too campaign, peoples’ champions Ai-jen Poo and Senator Sara Gelser, and Pew Research Center’s Kim Parker for an in-depth look on the formation of the movement, its socially transformative battle, and what the numbers say about how society is changing.

Featuring:
Ai-jen Poo, Alex Wagner, Rebecca Traister, Tarana Burke, Sara Gelser, Kim Parker

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.

Featuring:
Andrew Revkin, Brock Long

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