Aspen Ideas Festival 2014


Aspen, Colorado: JUNE 24 – JULY 3

The Aspen Institute is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Aspen Ideas Festival in the summer of 2014. What a journey this has been! Over the past ten years, we have been fortunate to present to audiences, both in Aspen and online, some of the most amazing thought leaders and presenters from across the globe. 

As the Institute is crafting its tenth year, it will continue to gather some of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the US and abroad to present their ideas, showcase their work, and engage with the audience as they discuss the issues that inspire them. As always, the Aspen Institute is delighted to present the Aspen Ideas Festival with its partner The Atlantic, supported as well by underwriters and foundations that believe in the power of exchanging ideas.

The main theme for 2014 is about the future. What will the next ten years bring? What innovations will wow us in health and medicine, robotics and biotechnology? What form will climate changes take? What dynamics will shape our societies at home and abroad? What will education and the arts look like? Will we be more attuned to the power of creativity?

Why is an “Ideas Festival” Relevant?
We need only to go back through history to appreciate the potential and power derived from gatherings of thinkers, leaders, and citizens to debate, learn, and grapple with the ideas that confront their societies. The ability to build discussion and dialogue has been the hallmark of the Aspen Institute. Since its inception in 1950, the Institute has become one of the world’s premier gathering places for leaders and individuals to explore the ideals and ideas that define a good society. It continues today, both in the U.S. and in communities around the globe, to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

Since 1857, when Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and publisher Moses Dresser Phillips convened with colleagues for their usual Saturday meetings to “read poetry, condemn slavery, and ponder new ways to enlighten the masses,” the pages of one of the nation’s most longstanding and deeply thoughtful magazines have communicated the defining issues of our time. Together, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic share a passion for ideas in the world of policy and politics, business and organizations, the arts and creativity, science and discovery, and values and culture. We strive to convene a large and global public and to foster a “commons” for the 21st century: a gathering for diverse, intellectually curious people to learn, listen, debate, and question what we can do to make our world — and our children’s world — a better place.

What’s New in 2014?

Traditional daily forums will combine with new presentation and discussion formats:

  • The Aspen Lecture: A daily lecture given by some of the most brilliant thinkers in the world.
  • Office Hours: Want to ask more questions of individual presenters? The speaker is in.
  • Thought to Action: Get involved! Meet with the leaders who will share needs and opportunities.
  • Deep Dives: Twice daily discussions regarding key issues presented, offering chances for interested attendees to delve more deeply into dialogue with presenters.
  • Design Solutions: Want to tap the power of your own creativity? Take a design workshop!
  • Social Interaction: Many have asked for more ways to interact with each other; we will offer more opportunities for that each day, including dinner events. Enjoy!

Also offered:

  • Show and Tell: Really cool stuff, all week long — with inventors, designers, and innovators.
  • Great Debates: Civil discourse at its best, in our signature neutral setting.
  • The Aspen Challenge: Exceptional young people take a crack at some of our toughest problems.
  • Plenary sessions offered daily: panels, one-on-one interviews, and presentations.
  • Multiple, concurrent tutorial sessions daily: a menu of more intimate discussions to choose from.
  • Book signings, exhibits, and presentations on campus, offering further opportunities for exchange.
  • Evening Exchanges and in-town events in venues around Aspen that will bring Festival moderators, The Atlantic editors, and other prominent national journalists together with presenters for substantive conversation.
  • Films and performances.

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