Second Session of Aspen Ideas Festival Commences–Doors Open to an Afternoon of Conversations

July 3, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Contact: Zachary Hastings Hooper
The Atlantic
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The Aspen Institute
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Second Session of Aspen Ideas Festival Commences
–Doors Open to an Afternoon of Conversations–

 Aspen, Colorado (July 3, 2008) –As the second session of the Aspen Idea Festival kicks off today, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic today announced highlights from day three of this meeting of minds.


  • “Change will happen in Cuba and the next leader of Cuba isn’t in Miami, Washington, New Jersey, but in Cuba. Maybe he is sitting in a jail or in the military. But Cuba has to decide. It’s not going to be the US deciding where Cuba goes from here. We need to be supportive. It’s important to recognize that the future of Cuba must be left in the hands of Cubans, which is contrary to what they’ve been hearing for 49 years.” – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez in conversation with Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley
  • “I love the Senate because I like people with big egos and I love watching 100 narcissists in a small group. Actually my favorite vignette is if you hang around Senators, and some people in this audience have been confirmed by them, you know they invade your personal space. They rub your shoulders, your thigh, your inner thigh. I can give names. I once saw Dan Quayle and Ted Kennedy hugging and caressing each other on the Senate floor. Get a room.” –The New York Times’ David Brooks
  • “I think the model of the religious right is exhausted and discredited. There is a broader engagement on issues and scholars are struggling to describe and quantify this new movement.” 
  • Michael Gerson, Roger Hertog Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • “Investing in people has been a good thing for America and a good thing for the world. 
  • Globalization has been good for America and good for the world. But, the benefits have not been evenly distributed throughout our society.” –Thomas Wilson, Chairman, The Allstate Corporation
  • “If Jon Stewart is shooting pellets at the mainstream media and politicians, then Stephen Colbert is the pellet.” – Emily Lazar, producer for The Colbert Report
  • “It’s all driven by dance.” – Damian Woetzel, New York City Ballet’s former Principal Dancer and the Institute’s 2008 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence
  • “Blogging and citizen journalism is democratizing.” – James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic
  • “Bluntly put, the political conversation in America has moved online. If you’re not participating online, you’re not really participating in the conversation.” –Jacob Weisberg, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group


  • The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart seen at the “What Do Evangelicals Want?” session featuring Michael Cromartie, Michael Gerson, Jim Wallis, and The Atlantic’s Ross Douthat
  • JP Morgan Chairman Jamie Dimon seated in the front row of a session on Philanthropy’s Role in Caring for Children in America
  • Stage director Stephen Wadsworth, actress Tyne Daly, and actor Peter Coyote caught deep in conversation while walking through the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, David Sandalow, Michael Powell, and Arianna Huffington listening in on the Allstate Ideas Exchange about the future of party politics


  • A live broadcast of WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show including a conversation with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and a discussion with Eli Broad and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings about building stronger schools in the United States
  • An afternoon of conversations including:
    • Remarks from the Aspen Institute’s Elliot Gerson and Atlantic Media’s David Bradley
    • Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff discussing the country’s safety with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg
    • The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman on why America needs a green revolution
    • Senator Sam Nunn, General Colin Powell, and Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson on building a consensus on U.S. foreign policy
    • An interlude by the actress, Tyne Daly
  • Evening discussions about India featuring Swami Parthasarathy, Barkha Dutt of NDTV (India), and Financial Times’ Edward Luce
  • A screening and discussion with Paul Hawken of Blessed Unrest, which transforms his bestselling book about a global social movement into the world’s first participatory film.

Video highlights, including a clip from “Where Do We Go From Here: Iran, North Korea, Nuclear Energy and the Road to a World Without Nuclear Weapons,” are available on the Institute’s website at

Who Speaks for Islam? What does Matthew Yglesias believe is the Festival line of the day? Find out, join the discussion, and watch the Allstate Ideas Exchange “The Future of Party Politics” on the at

Run in partnership with The Atlantic, the Aspen Ideas Festival features 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. For more information about other events open to the public, a complete list of confirmed speakers, and passholder information, please visit Sponsors for the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Chevron, Ernst & Young, Intel, JPMorgan, Mercedes-Benz, and Thomson Reuters.

Since it was founded 150 years ago, The Atlantic has helped shape the national debate on the most critical 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.

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.


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