The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Announce 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival: Exchanging Ideas that Matter

June 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jun. 02 – The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic announce their seventh annual celebration of ideas with the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival. In Aspen, Colorado from June 27 through July 3, more than 250 leaders from the fields of arts, science, culture, technology, religion, philosophy, business, economics, and politics will come together from around the country and the world to exchange ideas that matter. The public discourse — exciting, provocative, entertaining, and educational — will take place over seven days before a festival audience of nearly 2,000, as well as those following the festival online around the world.

Speakers currently confirmed to attend include: Senior Campaign Strategist and Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama David Axelrod; US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; New York Times Columnist David Brooks; US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin; US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins; Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; America Now & Here Founder, President, and Lead Curator Eric Fischl; Architect Frank Gehry; Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass; Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes; US EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; Teach for America Co-Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp; Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew; Israel Leader of the Opposition Tzipi Livni; RISD President John Maeda; Musician Wynton Marsalis; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and cancer researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee; former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers; former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; Conductor Robert Spano; Los Angeles, CA Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa; and US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.

Alongside leading journalists such as Mike Allen, Maria Bartiromo, James Bennet, Richard Besser, Ronald Brownstein, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Neal Conan, James Fallows, Tom Friedman, Jeffrey Goldberg, Arianna Huffington, Gwen Ifill, Joe Klein, David Leonhardt, Alexis Madrigal, Andrea Mitchell, Michele Norris, David Rohde, Hanna Rosin, Kai Ryssdal, Erik Schatzker, and Ray Suarez, presenters will discuss their ideas in plenary sessions, tutorials, and other sessions on program tracks including The Learning Landscape; Food Fights; Global Economics; What is “Happiness?”; Ten Years After: Our Post-9/11 World; Arts and Design in American Culture; Our Digital Universe; Frontiers of Medicine; Music on the Edge; and The Environment: Green Tech to Clean Tech. (A full list of all 12 program tracks is available at

“We just launched a new website at, which will allow us to make even more of the Festival available to people across different mediums and around the world. There will be more video, more blogs, more ideas, and we welcome everyone, whether you’re at the festival or not, to join us in the discussion. We’re also expanding the reach of the festival through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels in a way we’ve never done before,” said Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs at the Aspen Institute.

The Atlantic will extend the conversation from Aspen to a global audience with a five week long Ideas Special Report at Running from June 14 to July 18, the Report will include video from the Aspen Ideas Festival, a daily “Today at Aspen” slide show, an AspenIdeas Twitter feed, a series of blog posts highlighting ideas from all sections of, and responses to a new question posed to readers every day. The Ideas Special Report coincides with The Atlantic‘s July/August Ideas Issue featuring the biggest “Ideas of the Year,” an annual guide to the intellectual trends that — for better or for worse — are shaping America today.

“Just as The Atlantic, throughout its history, has drawn together some of our most original writers to address the biggest questions, the Ideas Festival gathers some of the world’s most influential thinkers to discuss and debate the issues shaping our world,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic. “We’re excited to once again partner with the Aspen Institute in this annual exploration of ideas.”

Additionally, daily video highlights from the Aspen Ideas Festival will be posted at, and event updates will be featured at, #AspenIdeas on, and

For a list of currently confirmed speakers, program tracks, and passholder information, please visit

With an 80 percent renewal rate from 2010, underwriters for the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, HP, Mercedes-Benz USA, Shell, Siemens, Thomson Reuters, and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

About The Atlantic

Since 1857, The Atlantic has played a central role in shaping the national debate on current affairs and cultural trends. Dedicated to bold, independent, diverse, and highly reasoned perspectives, its writers, bloggers, and critics represent the best in American journalism. The Atlantic‘s award-winning commentary and coverage can be found in its magazine, on its website at, and at 100+ events a year produced by its industry-leading events division, AtlanticLIVE.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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