Philadelphia Students Rise Up to the Challenge

January 30, 2017

200 students and educators from across the city will learn from leaders and innovate projects in their communities

Contact: Douglas Farrar
Senior Manager, Communications
202 736 3848 |

WHAT:  The Aspen Challenge—a program of the Aspen Institute founded in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation—has teamed up with the School District of Philadelphia to implement the Aspen Challenge: Philadelphia with students and educators from 20 high schools throughout the city. The Aspen Challenge kicks off with a daylong youth leadership development forum where teams of students and teachers will hear from leaders pioneering change to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Leading industry experts will present a challenge, urging the students to create an innovative solution. The program culminates on March 29 when teams will present their solutions to a panel of judges. Three winning teams will travel to the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO, to present their work.

WHO: Challenge participants include 20 high school teams of eight students ranging from grades nine through twelve and two teachers (the coaches for the program—more than 200 participants from School District of Philadelphia).


  • Questlove, Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, designer, New York Times best-selling author, and member of The Roots
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, oncologist, bioethicist; chair at Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania
  • MK Asante, professor, author and poet
  • Reverend Jeffrey Brown, coalition builder and founder of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace)
  • Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia, a company working to eradicate hunger and food waste
  • JT Reager, earth scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
  • Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO, National Constitution Center

And many more! For the complete list of presenters visit ASPENCHALLENGE.ORG

WHEN: February 1, 2017 | 8am – 7pm

WHERE: Ballroom at the Ben | 834 Chestnut Street #210 | Philadelphia, PA 19107

RSVP: If you are a member of the media who wishes to attend please RSVP to Douglas Farrar at by Monday, January 30.

The Aspen Challenge provides inspiration and a platform for young people to design solutions to some of the most critical and complex issues humanity faces. For more information, please visit or

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. For more information, visit

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