Celebrating High-Level Thinking at High-Altitudes: The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Present the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival

June 23, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Celebrating High-Level Thinking at High-Altitudes: The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Present the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival 

Washington DC, June 23, 2008––The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic announce their fourth annual celebration of ideas with the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival, June 30 – July 6 in Aspen, Colorado. The Ideas Festival convenes more than 250 leaders from the fields of arts, science, culture, religion, philosophy, economics and politics in a deep and inquisitive public discourse on the most invigorating ideas and issues facing the world today.

With festival passes sold out in only two hours, the Ideas Festival will welcome more than 1,200 festival passholders and an additional 1,800 single-ticket attendees for a weeklong series of plenary sessions, tutorials and other events that stimulate discussion across a wide range of disciplines. Programmatic tracks range from Climate and Sustainability; Global Dynamics; Religion and the Modern World; American Experience; Global Commerce and the World Economy; and Medicine 2025 to Children and Education; Arts and Culture; The Net Generation; Food, Fuel and Famine; India; and Innovation and Technology.

Sessions in each track will feature leading speakers, such as US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; former US President Bill Clinton; the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Austan Goolsbee, top economic advisor to Sen. Barack Obama; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, top policy advisor to Sen. John McCain; Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig; Olympian Frank Shorter; Fred Wilpon, chairman and CEO of the NY Mets; Atlantic Media Political Director Ronald Brownstein; National Endowment for the Arts Chair Dana Gioia; New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman; Segway inventor Dean Kamen; former US Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; pollster Douglas Schoen; and Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, among many others.

“In a world distracted by sound bites and quick hits, it’s a testament to the enduring pull of ideas that so many are drawn to Aspen for deep and wide-ranging debate and discussion,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic. “We’re excited by the enthusiasm for this year’s Ideas Festival from participants and attendees alike, and we look forward to the coming conversation across many disciplines.”

Extending the dialogue from Aspen to a global audience, the editors and writers of The Atlantic will share insights and commentary on the Ideas Web Channel at theatlantic.com. Additionally, daily video highlights from the Ideas Festival will be posted at www.aifestival.org, and event updates will be featured at www.twitter.com/aspeninstitute and www.facebook.com/pages/The-Aspen-Institute/34493700340.

“In this fourth summer of the Aspen Ideas Festival, we’re immensely pleased that we have gathered together so many new presenters and exciting new topics to address,” said Kitty Boone, Director of Public Programs and Vice President of the Aspen Institute. “We’re glad we can share these experiences broadly through our website.”

Highlights of Ideas Festival sessions include:

  • Alice Waters in conversation with The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer, with dessert served from her cookbook
  • A conversation with former US President Bill Clinton
  • A presentation by Douglas Schoen of an exclusive poll looking inside the 2008 Presidential campaigns
  • US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in conversation with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg
  • An evening of discussion and performance with singer and songwriter Steve Earle and Studio 360’s Kurt Andersen
  • Intel CEO Craig Barrett discussing The Human Impact
  • Richard Thompson Ford, Shelby Steele and Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing Race in America
  • The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman and Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson discussing a green revolution
  • A global perspective on the US elections from Der Tagesspiegel’s Christoph von Marschall, Ha’aretz’s Ari Shavit, Edward Luce of the Financial Times, and others
  • A West Side Story dance tutorial with New York City Ballet’s Principal Dancer Damian Woetzel
  • A live taping of WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, discussing the American Education System with Eli Broad and US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
  • A film screening of HBO’s The Gates with the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude

For a complete list of confirmed speakers and passholder information, please visit www.aifestival.org. Sponsors for the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Chevron, Ernst & Young, Intel, JPMorgan, Mercedes-Benz and Thomson Reuters.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.

Since it was founded 150 years ago, The Atlantic has helped shape the national debate on the most critical and contentious issues of our times, from politics, business, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic’s parent enterprise, Atlantic Media Company, is a Washington, D.C. based publishing company whose flagship properties include The Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive. With more than 3 million readers among the ranks of business, politics, government and academia, the publishing properties of Atlantic Media enjoy a prestigious reputation, acquired through 150 years of publishing top-quality American literature and journalism.


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