K-12 Education

The Aspen Challenge: Preparing Students to Become Problem-Solvers and Leaders

March 17, 2015  • Institute Staff and Guests

(Photo Credit: Daniel Davis)

The Aspen Challenge — launched by the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation — provides a platform, inspiration and tools for young people to design solutions to some of the world’s most critical problems by engaging with leading global visionaries, artists and entrepreneurs. District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) sent teams from several schools to compete with each other to present their solutions at the Aspen Ideas Festival. 

On Friday, 20 high school teams from across Washington will reconvene and present their solutions to critical challenges that were issued to them just seven weeks ago. Read below to view each of the blog posts from several of this year’s speakers who issued challenges to the students.

Today’s Youth Are Our Future World Leaders

By Scott Pearson

In the history of the world, change often starts with the young. Young people look at the world with fresh eyes. They see the world as it is and ask “why?” and imagine a different world and ask “why not?” Read more…

Every Student Needs to Have a Meaningful Cross-Cultural Exchange During Their Education

By Chris Plutte

Across every continent, thousands of youth are going online and connecting with each other, and not simply to share the latest viral video or to tweet the latest craze. Thousands of our young people are harnessing technology to take their cross-cultural education into their own hands. Read more…

Making Healthy Food Children’s No. 1 Priority

By José Andrés

When I came to this country more than 20 years ago, I wanted to change the world. As a chef, I am always exploring the possibilities of what food — amazing, delicious, fresh food — can do for the people of America, the people of the world. Read more…

Students Embrace the Business of Social Change

By Jo-Ann Tan

“I want to help people!” Maya’s* brow wrinkles with frustration as her story tumbles out in fits and starts. Her parents want her to focus on building the skills to run their family business, but she is intent on studying Sociology. Read more…

Young People: Changing the World for the Better Tomorrow, Today

By Eric Dawson

Young people are not the future. They are the present. And in many ways they are the best hope we have for repairing a world divided by fear, hatred, and violence. Read more…

In DC, Each Education Challenge Represents an Opportunity to Innovate

By Kaya Henderson

We have set the tone in the district over the past several years with a motto of “we are DCPS and we can do this.” Over the coming weeks, our students will take the Aspen Challenge head on, and I am going to be squarely in their corner cheering them on. Read more…