20th Aspen Ideas Festival Releases Agenda with Leaders & Innovators Exploring the Issues Shaping Our World Today

June 14, 2024

The Festival takes place June 23-29 in the Rocky Mountains, guest curated by celebrated editor and author Tina Brown and presented in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group. 

Speakers include John Legend, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam Altman, Jane Fonda, Gwynne Shotwell, Peter Thiel, Alex Rodriguez, John Kerry, Candace Parker, Bill Maher, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Larry Fink, Governors Wes Moore, Gretchen Whitmer, Spencer Cox, and Jared Polis, Kara Swisher, Hank Willis Thomas, Jim Farley, Larry Summers, Fareed Zakaria, Maureen Dowd, and hundreds more.

Featured moderators include NBCUniversal News Group journalists and hosts Lester Holt, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jenna Bush Hager, Stephanie Ruhle, Jonathan Capehart, Antonia Hylton, Julia Boorstin, Sharon Epperson, and Liz Kreutz.

Aspen, CO, June 14, 2024 – The Aspen Ideas Festival today presented the agenda for the 20th Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute’s flagship summer convening presented in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group. Guest curated by celebrated journalist and editor Tina Brown, this landmark Festival brings together over 300 extraordinary speakers with thousands of attendees and fellows. View the full agenda here.

The Festival takes place June 23-29, and is opened by Aspen Ideas: Health from June 20-23. A gathering like no other, the Festival features leading voices spanning the worlds of art, business, policymaking, science, technology, journalism, and more to engage in deep dialogue on the issues shaping our world today.

See the agenda for exact session timings. Among the many programming highlights and 300+ speakers appearing:

Sunday, June 23

  • The Festival opens with SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell speaking to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on what’s next on the launch pad. Then, journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad and writer and historian Arash Azizi speak to NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly on what’s really going on in Iran – and what comes next. Finally, comedian and TV Host Bill Maher calls out hypocrisy and malfeasance across the political spectrum, talking to Tina Brown.

Monday, June 24

  • If extreme weather will cost $38 trillion dollars annually by mid-century, who pays? Former Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry, Rubicon Carbon Chair Anne Finucane, and The Economist’s Climate Innovation Editor Vijay Vaitheeswaran share their perspectives with MSNBC Anchor Stephanie Ruhle.
  • Why Shakespeare is more relevant to politics than ever – Harvard Professor Stephen Greenblatt and Columbia Professor Simon Schama draw unsettling parallels in conversation with the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
  • Two legends — baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez and Wall Street titan David Rubenstein —  discuss how they are leveraging their passion for professional sports as a team stakeholder and an owner, in conversation with investment banker Gregg Lemkau.  

Tuesday, June 25 

  • Women’s basketball is big. WNBA legend Candace Parker speaks to NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt on the struggle to get there, and asks how teams can stay on offense.
  • The US is spending record amounts on infrastructure, with billions going to bridges, water, broadband, and climate and energy. Maryland Governor Wes Moore talks to MSNBC Anchor Stephanie Ruhle on what that looks like at state and local levels — and why it’s necessary.
  • Reimagining a justice system beyond bars: hear stories and insights from iconic musician John Legend, Robin Hood Foundation CEO Richard Buery, ​​and MacArthur Fellow Andrea Armstrong, speaking to “Ear Hustle” Podcast hosts Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor.

Wednesday, June 26

  • Diplomatic perspectives on the future of the Middle East: hear from Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States, Dina Kawar, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides in conversation with Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius.
  • The Afternoon of Conversation is the Festival’s pinnacle programming moment. This year, OpenAI Co-Founder and CEO Sam Altman and Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky are interviewed by NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt. Actor and activist Jane Fonda discusses her climate priorities with journalist Katie Couric. Finally, how can America rise to its greatest challenges, from bitter partisan divides to vast income inequality and a broken immigration system? David Brooks leads a conversation with NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Iffil, New Yorker Staff Writer Adam Gopnik, New York Media Editor at Large Kara Swisher, and Political Consultant Mike Madrid.
  • Acclaimed actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus sits down with Sam Fragoso for a live recording of the podcast, “Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso.”

Thursday, June 27

  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has a reputation for getting things done, even as she leads a purple state that’s a battleground for many of our nation’s most hotly contested issues. She speaks to Katie Couric about life, leadership and the lessons learned along the way.
  • Have Democrats forgotten how to communicate? Democratic political consultant James Carville is posed the question by MSNBC Anchor and Washington Post writer Jonathan Capehart.
  • Peter Thiel has made no secret of his feelings about economic and cultural issues. With CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, he discusses his vision for the future, his bets on AI and digital currencies, and his thoughts on the state of America.
  • It’s presidential debate night: MSNBC Anchor and Washington Post writer Jonathan Capehart leads a pre- and post-debate panel with Pollster Celinda Lake, African American Studies Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr.,Political Consultant Mike Madrid, and Bulwark Publisher Sarah Longwell.

Friday, June 28

  • Are new priorities and new technologies paving the way for a dynamic future economy in America? In a two-part session, hear from BlackRock Chairman & CEO Larry Fink and GE Vernova CEO Scott Strazik, followed by a conversation with Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President and CEO Mary Daly and Honeywell Chairman & CEO Vimal Kapur, moderated by CNBC Senior Correspondent Julia Boorstin.
  • Ford CEO Jim Farley discusses how drivers’ needs and priorities are guiding the future of vehicle technology and reshaping our expectations of cars and trucks.
  • Hear from a panel on “guerrilla creativity,” with Substack Co-Founder and CEO Chris Best, The Business of Fashion founder Imran Amed, and Ankler Media CEO Janice Min speaking to The Hollywood Reporter Co-Editor-in-Chief Maer Roshan.

Saturday, June 29 

  • The Festival closes out with Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has formed dazzling stories about characters seeking their places in the world—as well as pointed cultural critiques about feminism, maternal health, and racism, with Kelly Corrigan. Then hear from David Petraeus – four stage general, former CIA director, and commander of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the world’s conflict hot-spots with historian Simon Sebag Montefiore. 

NBCUniversal News Group anchors and correspondents from across NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News NOW and Telemundo, will moderate conversations throughout the festival.

Attendees of the 20th Festival will find the campus transformed, especially at night. Evenings at Ideas is an exclusive program of nighttime events that bring attendees together on the Aspen campus to connect, unwind, and be inspired. Following dinner and drinks, thought leaders will offer book signings and culinary conversations, followed by an engaging Aspen Ideas panel discussion or interview. Then, “Music in the Garden,” features a one-hour performance by celebrated musicians. To cap it all off, attendees will head to the newly opened West End Social Lounge for an Aspen Ideas Nightcap.

In collaboration with NPR Music, Field Recordings at Aspen Ideas will take artists off the beaten path and into magnificent Anderson Park for unamplified outdoor performances with the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Performances include Common, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Son Little, and more.

Presenting Underwriters for the 2024 Aspen Ideas Festival are Allstate, Amazon, Edward Jones, GE Vernova, Mount Sinai Health System, Prudential Financial, Viant Technology, The Walton Family Foundation, and Wells Fargo. Supporting Underwriters are Audi, BP, Comcast, Explore.org, Meta, and Reuters.

For more information on the Aspen Ideas Festival, please visit www.aspenideas.org. Members of the media interested in covering the Festival should contact Jon Purves: jon.purves@aspeninstitute.org.



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