Around the Institute

Summer at Aspen: The Hot Season

October 1, 2017  • Institute Staff

The Aspen Ideas Festival, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, the Aspen Security Forum, a Summer Celebration, and a tribute to Leonardo da Vinci—the summer of 2017 was the Institute’s most vibrant yet.

At first blush, Aspen in the summer can seem like an idyllic quiet town nestled in the mountains. The Aspen Institute campus, however, is brimming over with excitement, overflowing with leaders from around the world—each of whom is charged with tackling the ideas and issues that shape our lives and challenge our times. Throughout the summer season, the Institute is a hub of intellectual dynamism. First, the Aspen Ideas Festival presents 200 sessions where 350 speakers and 3,000 attendees examine everything from the morality of autonomous weapons to the health benefits of jazz.

But that’s just the beginning. The Aspen Security Forum hosts Cabinet officials, government experts, and industry leaders, who take on critical questions of national security. Then the Resnick Aspen Action Forum invites Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellows to campus for a chance to retreat from busy careers, refresh their perspectives, and make plans to change the world. Next, the Institute’s annual Summer Celebration honored trial lawyers David Boies and Theodore Olson with its Public Service Award. The pair successfully fought for same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court by defining it not as a liberal or conservative issue but as a matter of basic human rights.

And this year, the summer calendar included one more special event—Leonardo da Vinci: A Celebration of Wonder—that celebrated the talented and relentlessly curious original Renaissance man. The three-day event explored da Vinci’s life, his most significant works of art, and his stunning scientific discoveries. Participants were encouraged to take a fresh look at the power of curiosity in their lives. At the Aspen Institute, we know that the biggest, boldest ideas come from values and curiosity.