The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Announce 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival

May 15, 2014

For Immediate Release
Contacts: Jennifer Myers
The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-2906/

Anna Bross
The Atlantic
(202) 266-7714/

The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Announce 
2014 Aspen Ideas Festival
Speakers include Tony Blair, Al Gore, Robert De Niro, Alfre Woodard

Washington, DC, May 15, 2014 More than 300 groundbreaking thinkers and leaders from around the country and the world will gather at the tenth annual Aspen Ideas Festival from June 24 through July 3, 2014 in Aspen, CO, presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Speakers will discuss their ideas and the issues that challenge them. Highlights include: Tony Blair on geopolitics; Robert De Niro on his artist father; Al Gore on confronting climate change; Drew Faust on the future of the university; Rosabeth Moss Kanter on innovation and leadership; Alfre Woodard on activism and the arts; and US Centers for Disease Control leader Thomas Freidan in conversation with his Chinese counterpart Yu Wang.

The public dialogue will engage, over 10 days, a festival audience of more than 4,000 attendees between the Institute’s campus at the Aspen Meadows and the town of Aspen, as well as those around the world following the festival online. One-on-one interviews, panel conversations, film screenings, and demonstrations will imagine the world in 2024. For the first time, Spotlight: Health will kick off the event with a two-and-a-half day forum on issues of Living Longer; Living Better; Health by Design; The Business of Health; and Innovations in Health. 

“Our theme for 2014 — the tenth year of the Aspen Ideas Festival — is straightforward. We don’t want to look back. We want to look forward. We are asking you to imagine 2024,” said Kitty Boone, Aspen Institute vice president and director of the Aspen Ideas Festival. “Given our focus on robotics, cultural identity, civil liberties, and biotechnology, the amazing innovators attending this year’s Festival are those very individuals who are shaping what that future will be.”

“What better way to punctuate ten years of confronting big questions in Aspen than to challenge ourselves to look ahead?” said James Bennet, editor in chief and president of The Atlantic. “Our speakers are going to be debating robots and bioengineered life, the future of civil liberties and the new, and the enduring, possibilities of storytelling. These are the sorts of exchanges that enable the Festival to renew itself every year.”

More speakers currently confirmed to attend include: The Moth Artistic Director Catherine Burns; College Board President and CEO David Coleman; Mount Sinai Health System CEO and President Kenneth L. Davis; eBay President and CEO John Donahoe; US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony S. Fauci; Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Jason Furman; former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich; Monsanto Chairman, President, and CEO Hugh Grant; US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg; Huffington Post Media Group President Arianna Huffington; PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey; US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV); Americans for Tax Reform Founder and President Grover Norquist; Shell Oil Company President Marvin Odum; US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; choreographer and dancer Charles “Lil Buck” Riley; Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin; Twitter Head of News Vivian Schiller; Screenwriter, Producer, and Playwright Aaron Sorkin; American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Dialogues will be moderated by leading journalists such as Maria Bartiromo, Richard Besser, David Brooks, Katie Couric, Gwen Ifill, Michele Norris, Kai Ryssdal, Bob Schieffer, and Ray Suarez, and The Atlantic’s James Bennet, Ron Brownstein, Steve Clemons, James Fallows, James Hamblin, Corby Kummer, Sommer Mathis, Hanna Rosin and Scott Stossel, and Kevin Delaney of Quartz. Presenters will discuss their ideas on program tracks including Global Dynamics; Work; Art(s) Word; Confronting Climate Change; Humans and Machines; Our Cultural Identity; An Age of Creativity; The Metropolis; The Promise of Biotech; The University; Civil Liberties; The Art of Storytelling. More details on all program tracks are available at 

Leading up to this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic will run an Ideas Special Report on, highlighting new thinking in the areas of business, technology, politics, science, and the arts. The report coincides with the July/August Ideas issue of The Atlantic magazine, which this year is focused on the creative process that drives innovation, technology, science, and the arts. Starting on June 27, will showcase daily coverage from the Festival itself, featuring reporting and analysis from Atlantic writers, along with photography and videos.

It is now easier to keep up with the Aspen Ideas Festival 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 The Atlantic’s Events Channel. Regular updates from the Festival in the run-up, during the event, and after can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Aspen Ideas on Twitter at @aspenideas and @Atlantic_LIVE 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  

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a limited number of press passes available. To apply, please fill out the form here:

Presenting level underwriters for the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Booz Allen Hamilton, Monsanto, Mount Sinai, PepsiCo, Shell, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, and U.S. Trust. Supporting level underwriters include AARP, the American Federation of Teachers, EY, Pearson, Southern Company, and the Walton Family Foundation. The Entertainment Software Association, Nielsen, PBS, and The Rockefeller Foundation are contributing level underwriters. 

The founding level underwriter for Spotlight: Health is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Presenting level underwriters are AARP, the Association of American Medical Colleges, athenahealth, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mount Sinai. Supporting level underwriters for Spotlight: Health are AdvaMed, Anschutz Medical Campus, Carolinas HealthCare, Genentech, and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). 

About The Atlantic

Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about “the American Idea” that would be of “no party or clique,” The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and opinion-tracking site,, and on global cities, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of Washington, D.C.–based publisher Atlantic Media. 

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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