Aspen Ideas Festival Goes Digital in 2020 with Madeleine Albright, Stacey Abrams, Anthony Fauci, Hank Paulson

June 12, 2020

From June 28 – July 2, leaders across politics, business, health, science, the arts and more come together to share ideas that inform and inspire

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Aspen, CO & Washington, DC, June 12, 2020
–The Aspen Institute announced that the Aspen Ideas Festival will go ahead as an online event in 2020. Offered free to everyone for the first time in its 16-year history, the five-day Festival will take place from June 28 – July 2, with daily 60-minute episodes streaming from 7:00pm ET.

Programming will address the events shaping our world today, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing protests against systemic racism. The Festival will also look to the future that might lay ahead, including opportunities for economic recovery, the future of democracy, and the latest innovations in technology and the arts.

The Aspen Ideas Festival will stream online here:

Confirmed speakers include Anna Deavere Smith, Stacey Abrams, Anthony Fauci, Madeleine Albright, Kai-Fu Lee, Krista Tippett, Michael Eric Dyson, David Byrne, William McRaven, Maria Ressa, Brian Greene, Lulu Miller, Erik Larsen, and John McWhorter.

Examples of key programming and themes includes:

  • Politician and lawyer Stacey Abrams on voting and the future of democracy.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci on vaccines and COVID-19.
  • Former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson interviewed by Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett on economic recovery and what comes next, including carbon taxation.
  • Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson on overcoming racism in America.
  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright interviewed by Ambassador Nicholas Burns.
  • Playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith interviewed by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.
  • Admiral William McRaven on leadership with NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell .
  • Talking Heads frontman and founder of Arbutus David Byrne in conversation with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.
  • Fillipino journalist and Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa on freedom of the press.

Additional speakers will be announced over the coming weeks.

The Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Ideas: Health are the Aspen Institute’s signature summer event, and usually take place annually in Aspen, CO. While the physical events were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the online Festival aims to capture the same spirit of curiousity and pursuit of bold, innovative, and provocative ideas. Daily programming will include three conversations with some of the most exciting leaders in their fields. Additionally, each day will see experts share their “Big Ideas,” addressing some of society’s greatest challenges.

The online Festival comes in addition to Aspen Ideas Now, an online platform created in response to COVID-19 that curates timely conversations from across Aspen Institute programming. Subscribe here to receive emails each week from the Aspen Ideas Now, with extraordinary leaders and thinkers responding to current events and sharing remarkable stories.

The 2020 Aspen Ideas Festival is generously underwritten by Allstate, Mount Sinai Health System, and Prudential.

Editor’s Note: Press are invited to stream Aspen Ideas Now and report on programming, crediting the Aspen Institute and using #AspenIdeas. Register here to receive updates and reminders. Media outlets are authorized to embed streaming content with appropriate credit given. If you would like permission to use content in other ways, please contact Jon Purves:


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Aspen Institute is adapting to address the challenges of the pandemic. Learn more about some of the solutions we’re proposing, the actions we’re taking, and the changemakers we’re supporting.

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