Around the Institute

Our Most Powerful and Enlightening Podcast Episodes of the Year

December 21, 2017  • Aspen Institute Staff

Listeners in 2017 heard about technology, politics, creativity, and more on our three Institute podcasts: Aspen Ideas to Go, Aspen Insight, and The Bridge. Below are some of the best segments to carry you into 2018 and beyond. If you want more, here’s how to subscribe.

How to survive our faster future


The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in modern history. In order to successfully navigate a rapidly changing world, author and MIT Media Lab Director Joichi “Joi” Ito says you must be alert and nimble.

Jeffrey Sachs on why we’re living in a dangerous time


World-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs is distressed about the political and social atmosphere of the United States. With advances in technology, he says, we can choose to do incredible good or create unimaginable disaster.

Truth and reconciliation


How do we grapple with the legacy of slavery in the US? In the second segment of this episode of Aspen Insight, starting about 15 minutes in, Aspen Institute fellows Heather Sonn, Nike Irvin, and Michael Allen sit down to discuss the issues surrounding removing Confederate symbols from cities around the country. They talk about what the US can learn from nations like South Africa that have confronted similarly dark pasts.

The imagination of Leonardo da Vinci with Walter Isaacson


Walter Isaacson is fascinated by innovators — the kinds of geniuses whose ideas have transformed industry, science, and society. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Benjamin Franklin grabbed his attention in ways that allow us to discover the depth and breadth of their brilliant thinking. His next subject: Leonardo da Vinci.

Impeachment: a citizen’s guide


In our politically charged climate, it’s not uncommon to hear about impeachment. Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein offers a nonpartisan, historical guide with reverence for our constitutional order and the power it gives We the People.

Empowering Syrian refugees


The war in Syria has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and left millions homeless. The conflict has been too dangerous for many foreign journalists, resulting in a lack of reliable news coming out of the country. That’s where Amjad Tadros steps in. He’s a longtime producer for CBS whose new project, Syria Direct, trains young Syrians to report facts from their homeland. Tadros was named a McNulty Laureate in July, an honor from the John P. McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute that recognizes leaders doing extraordinary things. He appears in the fourth segment of this episode of Aspen Insight, starting about 34 minutes in.

The three lives of James Madison


Madison’s legacy matters now more than ever. As founding father he tried to avoid factions in government. Then he discovered the real world required parties — so he founded one and became a partisan. Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman discusses his new biography The Three Lives of James Madison.

Being Muslim and American in 2017


Muslim Americans — especially those working to counter radicalism and terrorism — feel caught in the middle. Much of American society questions their patriotism, while their own communities question their loyalty. The Department of Homeland Security’s Haris Tarin joins activist Rabia Chaudry for a discussion on religion and identity as Muslims in the United States.

Women’s rights are human rights


Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, and Afghan humanitarian Shabana Basij-Rasikh, founder of Hela, join host Peggy Clark on The Bridge to discuss fighting for gender equality and how they came to be activists on the world stage.

The epidemic of loneliness


Across the industrialized world, millions of people live with sparse human contact, putting their well-being at risk. Does social media drive loneliness or help to cure it? How does loneliness alter the brain, and how can we treat this condition?

The future of news: Is there a war on truth?


Is the internet loosening its collective grasp on the truth? Pioneers of digital news once argued that online sources would bring us new perspectives about the world. They did not anticipate the internet would destroy traditional media gatekeepers. Joshua Johnson, Susan Page, Campbell Brown, and David Leonhardt sort fact from fiction.

A national epidemic


Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for adults under 50 in the US. In the first segment of this episode of Aspen Insight, we talk to a mother who battled an opioid addiction during pregnancy and lost her child’s father to addiction about how she has been able to move forward. We hear about the many challenges facing practitioners working on this issue on the ground, and finally talk to co-chair of the Aspen Health Strategy Group and former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about steps the country can take to combat this problem.

WTF (What’s the Future)?


The “next economy,” or digital revolution, is restructuring every business, job, and sector of society. Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, says we should be harnessing technology, rather than fearing it, to grow jobs and increase economic activity. He speaks with author Charles Duhigg.

Richard Haass on a world in disarray


Chaos in the Middle East, instability in Europe, and a reckless North Korea are signals that the world is increasingly defined by disorder. Author and Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass says the world needs an updated global operating system.

Aspen Ideas to Go is a weekly show that features onstage discussions from Aspen Institute events, including the Aspen Ideas Festival. You can subscribe to Aspen Ideas to Go on Apple Podcasts. You can also find the show on SiriusXM’s Insight channel (ch. 121), NPR One, or your favorite podcast player. Aspen Insight is a new podcast that takes you through the halls of the Aspen Institute and introduces you to the fascinating people who are tackling some of the world’s most complex challenges. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast serviceThe Bridge puts women of different generations and geographies with deep knowledge and compassion in fierce, fun dialogue with one another. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. Or go back to the top.

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