The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Announce 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival

May 21, 2013

Contacts: Jennifer Myers
Director of Public Affairs, The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-2906/

Natalie Raabe
Communications Director, The Atlantic
(202) 266-7533/

The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Announce 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival
Speakers include Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Yo-Yo Ma, Susan Rice, Annie Lennox, and Tom Friedman

Washington, DC, May 21, 2013 The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic are pleased to announce the ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival. From June 26 through July 2, 2013, more than 300 insightful thinkers and leaders from around the country and beyond will gather in Aspen, CO to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. The week’s programming will cover a variety of important issues including the economy, the Middle East, energy, space, mobility, and design, among other topics. The public dialogue will engage, over seven days, a festival audience of more than 4,000 attendees between the campus at the Aspen Meadows and the town of Aspen, as well as those following the festival online throughout the world.

Speakers currently confirmed to attend include: US Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan; Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih; Twitter CEO Dick Costolo; Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA); Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross; National Rifle Association of America President David A. Keene; Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein; Cellist and the Aspen Institute’s 2013 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Yo-Yo Ma; Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Lab Director Andrew Ng; United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; edX President Anant Agarwal; fuseproject Founder and CEO Yves Behar; National Resource Defense Council President Frances Beinecke; Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP Managing Partner David Boies; The Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Thomas Campbell; 24th Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao; Stanford University Professor of Psychology Carol S. Dweck; MD Anderson Cancer Center President Ronald DePinho; Harvard Law School Professor of Law Noah Feldman; Billy Lynns’ Long Halftime Walk Author Ben Fountain; Aramex Founder and Former CEO Fadi Ghandour; The Studio Museum in Harlem Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden; US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg; HBO’s “Girls” Executive Story Editor Sarah Heyward; CEO Tony Hsieh; Harvard Business School Chair of Business Administration Nancy Koehn; US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; The SING Campaign Founder, Singer, and Activist Annie Lennox; Photographer Zanele Muholi; Acumen Fund, Inc. Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz; Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian; Former Secretary of the US Treasury Department Henry Paulson; Former Governor (R-MN) and Republican Presidential Candidate and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable Tim Pawlenty; Republican Political Consultant and Policy Advisor Karl Rove; Red Rooster Chef and Owner Marcus Samuelsson; Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales; American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; and Executive Director Jocelyn Wyatt. 


Alongside leading journalists such as Kurt Andersen, Maria Bartiromo, James Bennet, David Brooks, David Carr, Steve Clemons, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Katie Couric, James Fallows, Jeffrey Goldberg, Steve Inskeep, Ezra Klein, Alexis Madrigal, Andrea Mitchell, and Michele Norris, presenters will discuss their ideas in plenary sessions, tutorials, and other sessions on program tracks including American Society: One Nation, Divisible; the Economic Puzzle; World Affairs: Understanding the Middle East; Balance of Power: the Energy Revolution; Citizen Artists; Space and the Cosmos; the Reinvention of Television; Flying Cars? The Future of Transportation; How We Learn; Innovation by Design; and You and Your Health. More details on all program tracks are available at

“The conversations and presentations offered at the Aspen Ideas Festival will underscore some of the most critical dilemas and challenges we face today,” said Kitty Boone, Aspen Institute vice president and director of the Aspen Ideas Festival. “So many of those coming are the thinkers and leaders whose vision and expertise are taking us into the future in such a positive and constructive way.”

Prior to the start of the Festival, the 21st Century National Service Summit on June 24-25 will serve as the first-ever signature lead-in event to the Aspen Ideas Festival and will be centered around the Franklin Project’s plan to build a bold vision of civilian national service as a common expectation and common opportunity for all Americans. General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.) and others will present findings from the summit during the opening day of the Aspen Ideas Festival. Learn more at

“What distinguishes this gathering is what distinguishes The Atlantic: a commitment to exploring and debating ideas of consequence,” James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic, said.

During the lead-up to the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic will host an Ideas Special Report on its website, highlighting breakthroughs and innovations having direct impact on business, technology, politics, science, and the arts. The report coincides with the July/August Ideas issue of The Atlantic in print and online, focused on the most powerful ideas shaping our world.

Starting June 26, will offer comprehensive coverage of the Festival, including articles on the most compelling discussions and presentations, a daily “Today at Aspen” photo gallery, and video conversations with panelists and attendees. Online coverage will also include special commentaries and observations from Atlantic writers and editors on the scene, including  including Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, Garance Franke-Ruta, Conor Friedersdorf, Megan Garber, J.J. Gould, and Derek Thompson, as well as well as National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein and Quartz’s Kevin Delaney. 

It is now easier to keep up with the Aspen Ideas Festival in more ways than ever before. Full-session video and audio clips will be featured on, on the Aspen Institute’s YouTube channel, iTunesU, and on the Aspen Institute’s video channel and’s video channel. Regular updates from the Festival in the run-up, during the event, and after can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the Ideas Festival on Twitter at @aspenideas with the hashtag #AspenIdeas. Additionally the Festival discussions can be followed all year on the Aspen Ideas Festival blog.

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

Presenting underwriters for the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate; Booz Allen Hamilton; CH2MHILL; DLA Piper; Mt. Sinai; PepsiCo; Shell; Thomson Reuters; Toyota; and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Supporting underwriters include AARP, the American Federation of Teachers, Ernst & Young, Legacy, Southern Company, and the Target Foundation. Pearson and the Entertainment Software Association are contributing underwriters.

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 events produced by its industry-leading events division, AtlanticLIVE.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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