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Socrates Program: 2015 Summer Seminars


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Please click here to see a tentative agenda for the weekend. Click here to register.

The Future of Work and Skills in the Digital Age
How is technology changing the kinds of jobs people are doing, and the education and skills required to succeed? How will people connect to work in the future? Will people compete or cooperate with our new artificially intelligent robot overlords? How do institutions need to change to ensure shared prosperity? We’ll look at the future of work, and the challenges and opportunities they pose for individuals, businesses, policymakers, and others working in public interest.
Moderator: John Irons, Managing Director, Global Markets, The Rockefeller Foundation

Race and Cultural Identity
The recent events from Ferguson to New York and throughout communities in the United States have brought issues surrounding race, culture, and equality to the forefront of public discourse. How have the police interactions with communities of color affected the racial divide? What role do the media play in providing reliable information during periods of heightened tension and uncertainty? The divide extends to lack of access to opportunity in some of the most underserved communities. With this generation’s challenge of growing inequity, how do we get people from diverse backgrounds to address problems that create conflict yet remain involved in collaborative problem-solving? What U.S. policies should be implemented and which variables should change to ensure the nation’s cultural fabric remains strong, diverse, and united? This seminar will explore ways to address the growing racial tensions, frustrations, and fear.
Moderators: Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; and Susan P. Sturm, George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, and Director, Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia Law School

The Future of Privacy and Transparency: Surveillance in a Digital Age
Does the widespread availability of personal data justify the government’s need for covert surveillance or does it make secrecy obsolete and unnecessary? Recent disclosures by Snowden, Manning, and WikiLeaks have redefined the debate about the proper balance between privacy and transparency. In this seminar, we will have a wide ranging discussion about where to draw the line.
Moderator: Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO, the National Constitution Center; professor of law, The George Washington University

How Technology Is Affecting Our Lives, The Way We Do Business And Its Potential To Affect Social Change
We are living through an extraordinary moment where our relationship to technology is radically changing how we interact, how we behave and its potential to affect change. Optimists welcome this change, arguing that technology is growing up and incorporating our needs and making lives easier. Are they right? What will be the impact of this shift on how we live, work and move around the world? Will it affect how we interact with others? Will it change how we do business? Will the data gathered by pervasive connected objects put more power in the hands of the indivdual, the corporation or the state?
Moderator: Sonal Shah, professor of practice and founding executive director, Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University

U.S. Policy and ISIS: Coping with Jihad 2.0
The Islamic State, which offers its followers the instant gratification of both savage violence and life in the self-declared Caliphate, represents an evolved form of Islamist extremism. What is to be done about this new menace, now proliferating across the Middle East? How much can the U.S. and the West accomplish through military action? Through “counter-messaging”? Is jihadism now a problem to be “contained,” like Communism? Are Saudi Arabia and other regional states abetting the problem by targeting non-extremist Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and by pitting Sunni and Shia against one another? This seminar will explore the shift of power from Al Qaeda to ISIS and the foreign policy consequences for the U.S. and the West.   
Moderator: James Traub, columnist and contributor to; former staff writer for The New Yorker and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine

For more information on Socrates Seminars and the Socrates program, please contact Melissa Ingber, Director, 202-736-1077

The Aspen Institute Socrates Program invites you to join us in Aspen, Colorado, for an exciting weekend of learning and summer activities over the July 4th weekend, July 10-13, 2015. Choose one of five expert-moderated seminars available!

Register Now

Event information
Fri Jul 10, 2015 - Mon Jul 13, 2015
6:00pm - 12:00pm GMT+0000
Aspen Meadows Campus
Aspen, CO, United States