Aspen Institute Announces “Summer in Aspen” Event Series with Virtual & In-Person Programming

June 16, 2021

Speakers participating in Aspen Institute events include Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Heather McGhee, Elizabeth Kolbert, Dr. Ashish Jha, Joshua Bolten, Angela Duckworth, Will Hurd, and Joanne Lipman.

Contacts: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager

Cristal Logan
Vice President, Aspen Community Programs & Engagement

Aspen, CO, June 16, 2021–The Aspen Institute today announced “Summer in Aspen,” a series of events to take place virtually and on the ground in Aspen, CO, from June through September featuring leading voices across politics, business, the arts, media, and more. The diverse slate of programming marks the Aspen Institute’s first return to physical gatherings since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public tickets will be available for a number of events, with many more freely accessible online.

Programming will largely feature conversations organized by Aspen Community Programs, with the return of the Hurst Lecture Series, McCloskey Speaker Series and the Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series. Additional events will be hosted by various Aspen Institute policy programs, strategy groups, and the Society of Fellows, alongside the return of the Aspen Ideas Festival from June 27-July 1, which is freely accessible online with a limited number of passes for on the ground programming available from today, and the Aspen Security Forum as an all-virtual event from August 3-7. 

“After a challenging year, the need to bring people together has never been stronger. We’re proud to be re-starting our summer programming in Aspen and connecting with communities across the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “We will be taking a thoughtful approach to our events in the coming months, presenting a dynamic mix of speakers in virtual and hybrid settings with an emphasis on safety and accessibility.” 

The full “Summer in Aspen” agenda is available at, and will be subject to updates. Information about how to register and purchase tickets will also be made available in the near future. Some of the community programming highlights are featured below:

Tuesday, July 6 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm Virtual event
McCloskey Speaker Series
Creating Partnerships to Benefit All Americans – In collaboration with the Aspen Institute Congressional Program
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK 4th District); Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District); and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-US VI); with former congressman and Aspen Institute Congressional Program Director Charlie Dent.

Thursday, July 8 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm Virtual event
McCloskey Speaker Series
Under the White Sky: The Nature of The Future
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” Elizabeth Kolbert; with Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program Executive Director Greg Gershuny.

Tuesday, July 13 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm  Live/virtual hybrid event
McCloskey Speaker Series
The State of Public Health in a Post-Pandemic World
Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University and former Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute Dr. Ashish Jha; with Senior National Correspondent and Primary Substitute Anchor for PBS NewsHour Amna Nawaz.

Wednesday, July 14 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm Virtual event
Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” and Character Lab Founder and CEO Angela Duckworth; with Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield.

Friday, July 16 | 5:00 – 6:00 pm Live/virtual hybrid event
McCloskey Speaker Series
Why Politics Are Getting in the Way of Having Real Discourse
Former US Representative for Texas’s 23rd Congressional District and former CIA Clandestine Officer Will Hurd.

Saturday, July 31 | 4:00 – 5:00 pm Live/virtual hybrid event
Hurst Lecture Series
Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Business as Usual is No Longer Acceptable – In collaboration with the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program
Business Roundtable President and CEO Joshua Bolten; with Aspen Institute Business and Society Program Executive Director Judy Samuelson. 

Tuesday, August 3 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm Virtual event
Hurst Lecture Series
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
Author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” and Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow Heather McGhee.

Wednesday, August 4 | 5:00 – 6:00 pm Live/virtual hybrid event
McCloskey Speaker Series
The Ethics of Journalistic Decision-Making – In collaboration with Aspen Digital
NPR TV Critic and MSNBC and NBC News Contributor Eric Deggans; author of “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together” Joanne Lipman; and CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of “Reliable Sources” Brian Stelter; with Aspen Digital Executive Director Vivian Schiller.

Tuesday, August 10; 3:00 – 4:00 pm Virtual event
Hurst Lecture Series
What Every American Should Know – In collaboration with the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Sympathizer” Viet Thanh Nguyen; and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “There There” Tommy Orange; with Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program Executive Director Eric Liu

In addition, the Aspen Institute will host regular art tours on its Aspen Meadows campus, with Landscape Architect Ann Mullins presenting an “Earthworks and Land Art of Herbert Bayer” tour and “The Built Environment of Herbert Bayer” tour,  and Aspen Institute Exhibitions and Collections Manager Lissa Ballinger conducting an “Art, Architecture, and History” tour. The Society of Fellows will also host a range of events for fellows as part of “Summer in Aspen,” with speakers including Kate Bowler, Michael Eisner, and John McWhorter. Programming from the Aspen Institute continues into the Fall, Winter and Spring with smaller discussion-based programs.  

“Our community has stayed engaged with us throughout the pandemic by participating online and contributing financially, and we want to express our deepest gratitude by hosting free events this summer with some chances for in-person gatherings.  We heard loud and clear over the last year that our programming was valuable and appreciated and continued to foster the sense of community even when people weren’t physically in Aspen or with us on campus,” noted Cristal Logan, Vice President, Aspen Community Programs and Engagement.  

All events taking place over the summer with in-person components will be “hybrid,” meaning that they will be fully accessible online. The Aspen Institute is committed to the safety of all attendees and staff, and guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination or, should they be exempt from this requirement under certain circumstances, take a COVID-19 rapid test onsite before entry.

Aspen Community Programs events are made possible by generous donations from the Hurst Family Foundation, the McCloskey Family Charitable Foundation, and Gina and Jerry Murdock.


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit 

For more than six decades, Aspen Community Programs has served as a gathering place for Aspen residents and visitors from around the world to step away from their daily routines and reflect on the underlying values of society and culture. Aspen Community Programs include the the Hurst Lecture Series, McCloskey Speaker Series and Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series, as well as the Hurst Community Initiative seeks to promote dialogue, increase understanding, and facilitate opportunities for meaningful collaboration – among the communities of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys (Aspen to Parachute, Colorado).

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