past event
Identity and Equity

SOF Forum: Divided States of America?

This half-day forum will feature thought leaders addressing contributing factors to our nation’s urban-rural divide that manifested itself so clearly in last year’s presidential election. To be sure, different realities and perceptions of reality created a chasm so wide it led to one of the most volatile campaigns for president in recent memory. To come back together as a nation, we need first to understand the vastly differing realities lived by people across the country in terms of job prospects, intergenerational mobility, heterogeneity vs. homogeneity, education, and more. Topics that will be explored include how unemployment of prime-age white males, drastic changes and differences in morbidity rates, income inequality, culture, media, and more helped exacerbate divisions. Is our great nation as divided as it seems and is there a way to bridge the divide?


Mickey Edwards is a former congressman who was chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. He later taught at Harvard and Princeton before becoming a vice president of the Aspen Institute. He has been a regular columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, as well as a weekly commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His latest book is The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans.


Edward “Ted” Alden is the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness. He is the author of the new book Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, which focuses on the federal government’s failure to respond effectively to competitive challenges on issues such as trade, currency, worker retraining programs, education, infrastructure, and support for innovation. Alden is the director of the CFR Renewing America publication series and coauthor of a recent CFR Discussion Paper “A Winning Trade Policy for the United States.” He was the project co-director of the 2011 CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy, which was co-chaired by former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and former Senate majority leader Thomas Daschle.

Adya Beasley is a seven-time, Emmy award-winning senior video journalist for the Wall Street Journal. There she produces in-depth feature and long-form video content. As part of the WSJ Page One enterprise team, Ms. Beasley’s reporting covers a range of topics — both national and international. This past year, her work delved into the world-wide dangers posed by mining dams, the United States gender pay gap, the controversial fall of the blood testing company Theranos, and the implications of the contentious U.S. presidential campaign. In her 2016 documentary project, “American Epidemic: A Nation’s Struggle with Opioid Addiction,” Ms. Beasley and her colleague Robert Libetti, chronicled the devastating impact of opioid abuse in America, revealing how the country’s epidemic has become far more lethal and rehabilitation elusive. Before joining the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Beasley was a multimedia specialist at NJ Advance Media where she produced documentary news content for New Jersey’s leading news brands including and The Star-Ledger.

Alan Berube is senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America” (Brookings Press, 2013). He has authored numerous Brookings publications on topics including metropolitan demographic and economic trends, social policies affecting low-income families and communities, and cities in the global economy.  In addition to coordinating the Metro Program’s research agenda, Alan conducts research on the role and functions of U.S. metropolitan areas in a globalizing economy, poverty in neighborhoods and suburbs, and educational and skills of metropolitan workers.

Thomas Frank is the author of New York Times bestselling books including “Listen, Liberal,” “The Conquest of Cool,” and “What’s the Matter With Kansas.” He founded The Baffler magazine in 1988 and has worked as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Harper’s Magazine.

Event information
Mon Jul 24, 2017
9:30am - 1:30pm EDT
Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows campus
Aspen, CO