Tag Archives: Aspen Ideas Festival

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The Best of Aspen Ideas

Big ideas, bold ideas, brave ideas — in the seven days of the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival, all types of ideas on all types of subject matter were discussed, debated, tossed around, and hopefully absorbed. This is a second in a two-part series looking back on the festival and plucking out its best parts. In the last post, we focused on Spotlight Health, three days’ worth of panels, discussions, lectures, and interactive sessions focused solely on health. Here, you’ll find notable nuggets and thought-provoking quotes drawn from the myriad themes of the broader Ideas Festival. Enjoy. Continue reading

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More Ideas to Feast Upon: Aspen Ideas Festival

This year’s Aspen Ideas Festival featured around 400 speakers — experts, scholars, and pundits — leading discussions, engaging in dialogues, answering questions, and generally provoking thought on a wide variety of topics. It was the first time a sitting vice president spoke at the event (Vice President Joe Biden’s conversation with Walter Isaacson can be watched here), and other big speaker names included Secretary of State John Kerry, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. While it’s impossible to summarize an event of that magnitude — themes of conversation over the seven days spanned the spectrum from global insecurity to sex in America, from the mysteries of the universe to the university at a crossroads — we attempt to offer a glimpse into the ideas and issues discussed over the seven days of the Aspen Institute‘s flagship event Continue reading

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Ideas to Feast Upon: Spotlight Health

Every year after the Aspen Ideas Festival, we look back on ten days’ worth of stimulating talks and dialogues, mind-expanding discussions, big ideas, small ideas, prescient ideas, and everything in between. Combing through our notes, we bring you the highlights of the Aspen Institute‘s flagship event, in the form of quotes and explanatory nuggets. In this post, we focus on Spotlight Health, the three-day exploration of ideas related to health and well-being that kicks off this annual feast of the mind. Look for a selection of ideas on broader topics in the next edition of The Aspen Skinny. Continue reading

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Best of Ideas Fest, Part 2

The fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012 sparked a national debate about race and justice. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 (shortly after the conclusion of the tenth annual Aspen Ideas Festival) and beyond that the subject really came to the forefront, when, in a series of incidents that sparked protests around the country, unarmed black men and boys were killed by police: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray. Then, a week before Aspen Ideas Festival 2015 opened, nine black men and women were shot to death in a church in Charleston.

Across the US, rarely has the conversation about race and bias been so prescient, and at Aspen Ideas, rarely has the search for answers been as emotional, as deep, and as urgent. Continue reading

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Best Ideas of the Day: Spotlight on Health

At the closing session of Spotlight Health, the health-focused segment of Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute’s Kitty Boone made an announcement that an anonymous donor had stepped up the day before, pledging money to all finalists of the Aspen Ideas Award contest. The contest, in its inaugural year, invited all Aspen Ideas Festival speakers and scholars to to submit for consideration a project that addresses a challenge to the well-being of the planet and of society. It culminated with the five finalists in each of the Festival’s three sessions (Spotlight Health, Fest 1, and Fest 2) pitching their projects in front of a live audience, with a jury determining the $25,000 prize winner. The anonymous donor, feeling that all the finalists represented worthy projects, pledged $5,000 to each finalist in the three contests to help realize their ideas.

That’s just one example of how Ideas Fest, which just wrapped up its eleventh year, is seeking to turn ideas into action. Yet the heart of the ten-day confab is still its popular, mind-stimulating series of panels, lectures, and other gatherings meant to spark deep thinking about various issues, generate conversations, and cultivate ideas.

For those who didn’t make it to the Festival this year, or perhaps attended too much or too little, we’ve curated some of the best ideas Continue reading

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Hot Tickets: 7 Events You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer

Summer promises to sizzle with one of the best lineups of arts, cultural, educational, and entertainment events lineups we’ve seen in years in Aspen/Snowmass. How to decide what to attend? And for which events should you buy tickets now? The Aspen Skinny talked to Michael Miracle, editor of Aspen Sojourner magazine, about the hottest tickets of the summer. We boiled it down to seven events here, but for more events and recommendations, check out the comprehensive arts and culture package in the current issue of Sojourner, on newsstands, in hotel rooms, and online now. Continue reading

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The What and Why of a Very Busy Summer

By all accounts, it was a very busy summer in Aspen and Snowmass, perhaps busier than people remember seeing it in many years. But how busy was it, and why? And will it be a continuing trend? We dove into some of the occupancy and sales tax data and spoke with reservations guru Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, to bring you the following highlights, plus a summary of how the summer ended up and how the winter ahead is looking. Continue reading

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Best of Ideas Fest, Part 2

It may be impossible to summarize the Aspen Ideas Festival — the weeklong juggernaut of thinking that included 240 events featuring some 300 experts speaking on five overarching themes at the Aspen Institute campus and all around town last week. But it is interesting how a few strands of similar thought emerge — whether it’s on the latest issues in the news (the Middle East, the economy), or the newest innovations in technology and education, or the great social questions of the day (income inequality, the role of fathers). In any case, it is possible to pull out some of the highlights, take a step back, and get a snapshot of the current thinking in the world. Continue reading

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Best of Ideas Fest, Part 1: Spotlight:Health

In honor of its tenth anniversary this year, the Aspen Ideas Festival was extended from seven to ten days, starting with a three-day mini-fest focused exclusively on health. From June 24 to 27, Spotlight:Health explored an array of health topics, ranging from global nutrition to health care policy to the latest scientific and medical innovations to the role of the arts and music in health care. All of these topics were examined through the lens of the Festival’s theme this year: Imagining 2024 — meant to nudge leaders in their fields to look to the future in terms of solutions toward a healthier world.

Over the course of three days, we heard many inspirational ideas — and many challenges. Here’s a selection that, we hope, gives you a snapshot of this in-depth examination of one of the foremost issues of our time. (And if you want to see more, the Ideas Festival website has full videos of most sessions, plus highlights, blogs, and speaker bios.) Continue reading

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What’s New, What’s Up for Summer in Aspen/Snowmass

On the heels of Aspen/Snowmass’ busiest winter in 16 years (over 1.4 million skier visits, SkiCo recently announced), every indication points to this summer being very strong as well. Despite the traditional summer kickoff event — the Food and Wine Classic — falling later than usual, town has been buzzing, it seems, since early June. Even May was busier than usual, according to the latest occupancy reports.

Yep, things are in full swing with a dizzying selection of events, new stores and restaurants. Thanks to a wet spring, the mountain backdrop is a vibrant, healthy green and the lilacs are as fragrant as can be. Here are a few summer highlights: Continue reading

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