December, 2014

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Society of Fellows
December 1, 2014
Washington, DC, United States

The Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series will feature Charles M. Blow, op-ed columnist at the New York Times, discussing his latest novel "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

About Fire Shut Up in My Bones:
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up – a place where slavery's legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence. Blow's attachment to his mother – a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning – cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning. Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse. A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.

About the Author:
Charles M. Blow is visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times. His column appears on Monday and Thursday. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper’s graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In that role, he led The New York Times to a best of show award from the Society of News Design for information graphics coverage of 9/11. He also led the paper to its first two best in show awards from the Malofiej International Infographics Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war. Blow went on to become the paper’s Design Director for News before leaving in 2006 to become the Art Director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The New York Times, Blow had been a graphic artist at The Detroit News. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications. He lives in Brooklyn with his three children.

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Public Event
December 2, 2014
Washington, DC
Economic Opportunities Program

The sharing economy has gained traction and attention in the last few years. Also known as the "gig economy," "consumer-to-consumer sharing," and "peer-to-peer marketplaces," the term “sharing economy” is used to describe a wide variety of exchanges between people, including property, skills, labor, or space. By using an online platform to connect users and providers, this system puts a modern spin on old-fashioned bartering, swapping, borrowing, and trading — and greatly expands the scope and scale of potential exchanges.

Sharing economy companies include Airbnb (rent a room or your house), Uber (provide rides), TaskRabbit (do chores for others), and Instacart (be a personal grocery shopper), to name a few. There were an estimated 80 million sharers in the United States in 2013 - although that included 33 million “resharers,” those who buy and/or sell pre-owned goods online at sites like Craigslist (Vision Critical and Crowd Companies).

Revenue estimates vary from $3.5 billion in the U.S. in 2013 (Forbes) to $335 billion globally in 2025 (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Many have touted this system’s benefits for consumers, including convenient and affordable services and shared goods. But what are the benefits — and the downsides — of the sharing economy for the workers who provide the services? What is the influence of the sharing economy on the future of work? What are the implications for public policy and business practice?

Panelists explored these issues and more. 

Featuring:

  • Shelby Clark, executive director, Peers
  • Sarah Kessler, reporter, Fast Company
  • Wingham Rowan, director, Beyond Jobs
  • Steven Strauss, visiting professor, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Moderated By:

  • Catherine Rampell, opinion writer, The Washington Post 

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Society of Fellows
December 2, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

Literary fiction, investigative journalism, cultural reflection, poetry … Winter Words 2015 has it all. This year’s series features some of the most heralded and innovative writers of our time. Please join us at Paepcke auditorium for five evenings of readings, musings, and conversations designed to challenge, surprise and delight.

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including six novels, one nonfiction title and, most recently, the award-winning short story collection, We Live in Water. His 2012 novel, Beautiful Ruins, was a #1 New York Times bestseller, Esquire’s Book of the Year, and NPR Fresh Air’s Novel of the Year. He was a 2006 National Book Award finalist for the novel The Zero; also in 2006, he won the Edgar Allen Poe award for Citizen Vince. Walter’s work has been translated into 30 languages, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Harper's, Esquire, Tin House, McSweeney's and elsewhere. Walter is also a career journalist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

"Jess Walter is as talented a natural storyteller as is working in American fiction these days” 
— Michael Lindgren, Washington Post

"Walter has emerged as one of the country’s most dazzling novelists ... so freakishly, fiendishly good, it isn’t fair." — Ken Armstrong, Seattle Times

More information - http://www.aspenwriters.org/winterwords/2015/home Read More

December 3, 2014 - December 4, 2014
Paris, France

*This event is by invitation only

Aspen Europe Africa

For twenty years, the Aspen France Institute has gathered leading European and African figures. The spirit of Aspen is characterized by its desire to bring together different viewpoints and create a platform where its’ participants have the power of persuasion and action. Furthermore, the Aspen Europe-Africa initiative is committed to fostering dialogue and creating new opportunities for the two continents.

A pioneer initiative, Aspen Europe-Africa particularly stands out from its competitors because of its universal dimension (themes, participants), non-profit status (vs. the many recent forums) and by its’ ability to create strong and sustainable links between participants by fostering an Aspen Europe-Africa community.

The eleventh edition of Aspen Europe-Africa will once again present European and African leaders with the opportunity to share their views on an extremely contemporary and challenging subject: that of connection. Thanks to technological progress, the relationship between Europe and Africa is at a turning point which has created new opportunities for working together.

The 2014 Edition: new Connections, new partnerships

Over the years, the relationship between Europe and Africa has been profoundly transformed by technological progress. Links between the two continents are multiplying. Traditional networks are transformed and decentralized. Building links and contacts is becoming increasingly easier.

Moreover, Africa is experiencing a sustained upturn in the momentum of growth whilst Europe is going through a period of economic uncertainty. The factors supporting African growth are many of which the growing use of digital technology plays an essential role. The advent of digital technology and its momentum are transforming African and European societies and economies. These new connections call for new partnerships.

These structural changes have a profound impact on the relations between the two continents. Both continents now have a unique opportunity to strengthen and redefine a mutually beneficial partnership founded on solidarity and cooperation.

This cooperation can be found in many fields: finance, education, agriculture, commerce, and media. Innovations that are being developed are no longer reserved to one continent, but are being built together, or at least intended to be shared.

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December 4, 2014 - December 7, 2014
Aspen, CO

The Aspen Life Reimagined Seminar offers a reflective process in a natural environment that allows you to pause and reconnect with what’s most important to you, to refocus or reimagine how you spend your time and your talents.

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Society of Fellows
December 7, 2014 - December 13, 2014
Global Alliances Program

The Aspen Institute and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement will co-lead a business and investment delegation to Myanmar. This delegation follows a previous one, and looks to build upon the initial business-relations and partnerships established during the previous delegation. 

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December 7, 2014 - December 10, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

*Invitation only

Modeled after the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar which has been convening leaders from around the world for over 60 years, this four-day seminar is dedicated to enhancing critical thinking, problem solving and leadership skills for middle school students living in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Institute’s proven method of text-based dialogue offers participants a neutral forum in which to think about what is important to them against the backdrop of timeless human values. Participants emerge from the seminar with a new perspective as they navigate their lives as teenagers.

In a setting conducive to conversation, this seminar convenes a diverse group of 28 students for lively discussions led by an expert moderator. Classic and contemporary readings are the springboard to conversations in which the questions posed by the group are frequently as illuminating as the varied, timeless wisdom of the texts.

By invitation only. Students are chosen by their respective school officials.

Moderated by Todd Breyfogle

Todd Breyfogle is Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute, overseeing a number of seminar offerings, including the Aspen Seminar on leadership, values and the good society (formerly the Executive Seminar)--since 1950 the heart of the Aspen Institute’s neutral forum for enlightened and lively discussion.

Educated at Colorado College, Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), and the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought (as a Century Fellow and Javitz Fellow), Todd has served as a moderator for the Aspen Institute and has published and lectured widely on the great books, political philosophy, theology, literature, and liberal education. He serves on several non-profit boards, is a recipient of research and curriculum grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arts and Humanities Research Board (UK), and the Templeton Foundation, and edits The American Oxonian, the quarterly publication of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. He is the editor of Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern (University of Chicago Press) and is co-editor of a five-volume commentary on Augustine's City of God for Oxford University Press. Before joining the Aspen Institute, Todd was a Fellow and Program Officer at Liberty Fund (where he gained extensive exper ience organizing and facilitating great books discussions) and served as Director of the Honors Program at the University of Denver. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the Iliff School of Theology and as a visiting lecturer in philosophy and religion at the University of Tulsa. He has lectured at universities in the US, UK, Canada and India, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Dartmouth, Concordia, Wesleyan, and the University of Chicago. He currently chairs the board of the American Academy for Liberal Education and in 2012 was elected to the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

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December 7, 2014 - December 9, 2014
Wye, MD
Roundtable on Community Change

The purpose of this forum is to step back from daily pressures and focus the most innovative minds in journalism on the profession's role in changing the current odds for children and communities of color. Does journalism still have the power to call Americans to conscience and action around matters of race? Read More

Society of Fellows
December 8, 2014
Dallas, TX

*This event is by invitation only. This event is open to Society of Fellows members only.

Featuring Eric Motley and Peter Waanders on the future of the Aspen Institute. Read More

Society of Fellows
December 8, 2014
New York, NY

Click here to register to attend this event.

On December 8th, Rep. John Lewis will be presented with the Aspen Institute 2014 Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership. The award was created in 2009 by Bob Tisch’s children — Laurie, Jonathan, and Steve — to honor their father’s legacy of public service and philanthropy.

Previous winners of the Tisch Award include jazz great and educator Wynton Marsalis, tennis legend and humanitarian Billie Jean King, and renowned restaurateur, civic leader and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group Danny Meyer. The program, a conversation about his life, work, and philanthropic projects, will be moderated by NPR Host Michel Martin.

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Society of Fellows
December 9, 2014
Washington, DC

*This event is by invitation only. This event is open to Society of Fellows members only.

Coming into its 10th year, the Roberts Court has set legal decisions on leading issues of our time. This private discussion will explore the trends, personalities, and identity of today's Supreme Court. Topics will include free speech and same-sex marriage, along with upcoming cases. This moderated discussion will offer an insider's view of the current Court, trends to watch, and implications for the near future.

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Society of Fellows
December 10, 2014
Washington, DC
Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI)

*This event is by invitation only.

Rip Rapson, attorney and expert in urban policy, is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, a $3.7 billion national, private foundation based in Detroit. Rapson came to Kresge in 2006 and led the philanthropy in a multiyear transition to expand and recalibrate its grantmaking. Strategically focused programs emerged: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. Each program seeks to expand opportunities in America’s cities so that vulnerable people can lead self-determined lives and access the economic mainstream. 

Rapson has helped lead a partnership of private, public and philanthropic funders to revitalize the city of Detroit, including the construction of the first leg of a light rail line, M-1 Rail. He worked with other philanthropic leaders to create a $366 million fund — Foundation for Detroit’s Future — to blunt the impact of municipal bankruptcy on city of Detroit pensioners and safeguard city-owned holdings at the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Moderator: Jane Wales, vice president, The Aspen Institute

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Society of Fellows
December 10, 2014
Austin, TX, United States

*This event is by invitation only.

The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and Aspen Across America present Michael Dell Founder and CEO, Dell Inc. discussing Technology, Entrepreneurship and the Art of Collaboration with moderator Walter Isaacson President and CEO, The Aspen Institute and author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (Simon and Schuster).

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Society of Fellows
December 11, 2014
Washington, DC
Ascend

This roundtable will explore the lessons learned from the Aspen Institute’s report and survey on impact investing and the opportunities it offers for advancing economic mobility for low-income families in the US. We will hear from field leaders about opportunities and challenges and go under the hood on a few deals with the people who made them happen.

The event will feature the following speakers and moderators:

  • Melissa Bradley, acting director, White House Social Innovation Fund, and professor, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University
  • Ben Hecht, president and CEO, Living Cities
  • Elliot Gerson, executive vice president, the Aspen Institute
  • Surya Kolluri, managing director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Aaron Lieberman, CEO, Acelero Learning
  • Anne Mosle, vice president, the Aspen Institute
  • Caitlin Reimers Brumme, director, Social Finance, Inc.
  • Reginald Sanders, director of investments, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Debra Schwartz, director of program-related investments, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Jane Wales, vice president, the Aspen Institute
  • Kate Wolford, president, The McKnight Foundation

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Society of Fellows
December 11, 2014
Washington, DC

*This event is by invitation only.

The Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series will feature David Ignatius, associate editor at columnist at The Washington Post, discussing his latest novel "The Director" (W.W. Norton & Company). 

About the Book: 

In David Ignatius's gripping new novel, spies don't bother to steal information…they change it, permanently and invisibly.

Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents' names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads.

Weber turns to a charismatic (and unstable) young man named James Morris who runs the Internet Operations Center. He's the CIA's in-house geek. Weber launches Morris on a mole hunt unlike anything in spy fiction—one that takes the reader into the hacker underground of Europe and America and ends up in a landscape of paranoia and betrayal. Like the new world of cyber-espionage from which it's drawn, The Director is a maze of deception and double dealing, about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones and nothing can be trusted. The CIA has belatedly discovered that this is not your father’s Cold War, and Weber must play catch-up, against the clock and an unknown enemy, in a game he does not yet understand. (Amazon.com)

About the Author:

David Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than 25 years. His novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Society of Fellows
December 11, 2014
Washington, DC
Food Security Strategy Group

Speakers:

  • Dr. Lynn Black, chair, board of directors, Last Mile Health and attending physician, Mass General Hospital
  • Christopher Kirchhoff, special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Rick Leach, CEO, World Food Program USA

Moderated by Dan Glickman, executive director, Aspen Congressional Program and former US Secretary of Agriculture 

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December 11, 2014
Washington, DC
Food Security Strategy Group

The true impact of Ebola on West Africa is only beginning to come into view.  In addition to the crippling human toll, Ebola has wrought havoc on the economies and food systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  Interdependent industries such as agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing have all been disrupted.

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December 11, 2014
Washington, DC
Food Security Strategy Group

Featuring

Dr. Lynn Black
Chair, Board of Directors, Last Mile Health and
Attending Physician, Mass General Hospital

Christopher Kirchhoff
Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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Aspen Wye Fellows
December 12, 2014
Queenstown, MD

Open to Aspen Wye Fellows only.

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute, will be discussing his new book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. Read More

Society of Fellows
December 12, 2014
Queenstown, MD

This event is by invitation only.

Aspen Holiday Open House, preceded by a Fireside Chat with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson discussing his new book "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution."

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Society of Fellows
December 15, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

Marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, this seminar series will use the Bard as a lens through which to frame the Enlightenment ideas and ideals that shape the American Democratic Experiment.

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Society of Fellows
December 17, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

The Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series reflects the founding principles of the Aspen Institute – a commitment to nurturing the ‘whole’ individual – by bringing a range of experts, innovators, and leaders to Aspen to discuss their research and share the latest revelations about the link between mindfulness, physical activity, and emotional well-being. The Murdock Series will introduce new speakers and audiences to enhance the Institute’s broader mission. The series is generously underwritten by Gina and Jerry Murdock.  

Featuring Goldie Hawn, Academy Award-winning actress, producer, author, child advocate and philanthropist. Ms. Hawn will speak about her ground-breaking MindUP™ program, the result of 10 years of collaboration with neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and experts in the field of mindful awareness training. The signature initiative of The Hawn Foundation, MindUP™ is a social and emotional literacy curriculum and training program which currently serves children and schools across five continents. Accredited by CASEL, MindUP™ equips children, educators and parents with vital social and emotional literacy skills, helping them increase focus, improve academic performance, reduce stress, and gain emotional resilience and optimism. Rooted in neuroscience, the program teaches self-regulatory behavioral control while offering engagement strategies for learning and living.

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Society of Fellows
December 18, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

Electronic healthcare records, immigration reform, data anchoring, cyber and mobile security. Can the government make it work? David Zolet, a Washington technology expert, thinks so, and has examples to prove his point. What works, he contends, is for government to move from product-based to consumption-based service models, whether to give real-time data to our troops in the field, to offer healthcare to citizens, or to optimize financial systems. Zolet, executive vice president of the government arm of next-gen IT provider, CSC, will share successes, lessons learned, three main points for making government work. After earning two Master degrees -- an MBA from the Wharton Business School and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins, Zolet began his twenty-plus year career in government services. Along the way, he worked for Northrop Grumman, IBM and now CSC, where he runs a $4.1 billion business unit supporting f ederal, state and local government agencies.

There will be a short reception beginning at 5:30 preceeding the program which begins at 6:00 pm.

Complimentary for Fellows and Aspen Community Friends and Subscribers. Donors may reserve tickets by emailing SOF@aspeninstitute.org. 
Fee: $20. Read More

Society of Fellows
December 22, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

*This event is by invitation only. This event is for Vanguard Chapter Society of Fellows members only.

In an increasingly fragmented society, where does one seek inspiration? Whose stories and examples offer trustworthy patterns for a life well lived? This intimate evening discussion will be led by a panel of Aspen Institute trustees, including Arjun Gupta, Chairman Emeritus Ann Korologos, and Chairman Emeritus Bill Mayer, who will offer personal reflections on sources of hope, renewal, and inspiration.

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Society of Fellows
December 29, 2014
Aspen, CO, United States

The annual Aspen Institute Holiday Reception will feature remarks by Aspen Institute trustee Mike Bezos and Jackie Bezos, founders of the Aspen Challenge and the Bezos Scholars Program. Read More