Washington Ideas: The Atlantic and Aspen Institute to Convene Annual Marquee Festival on September 26-28 in Washington, DC

August 11, 2017

Featuring full slate of events in DC’s Penn Quarter, including newsmaker conversations, Radio Atlantic live podcast, exclusive screening of “The Vietnam War”

Sydney Simon
The Atlantic
 | 202-266-7338

Douglas Farrar
The Aspen Institute
 | 202-669-2333

Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2017) — The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute will present Washington Ideas, the annual must-attend event bringing the most consequential people and issues to Washington’s Penn Quarter, this year taking place from September 26-28. Building on nearly a decade of success, thousands of attendees, and hundreds of speakers, Washington Ideas continues to expand its footprint. Events in 2017 will include interviews with political leaders and those shaping the future of business, science, technology, arts, and journalism; film screenings; topical forums; and evening entertainment.

“As The Atlantic celebrates its 160th anniversary this year, Washington Ideas looks to the past, present, and future to make sense of the most timely, and complex, issues facing the world,” said Bob Cohn, president of The Atlantic. “Together with our partners at the Aspen Institute, we’re eager to convene three days of critically important conversations, enriching ideas, and networking in the heart of the nation’s capital.”

“Washington Ideas brings together leaders from across the country to examine the most important challenges before us,” said Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute. “This special event gives attendees the chance to meet and learn from some of the most interesting people. We are proud to co-host this with our partners, The Atlantic.”    

Washington Ideas will create a Penn Quarter campus on F Street, anchored by Sidney Harman Hall and neighboring restaurant Rosa Mexicano, which will serve as Washington Ideas HQ for concurrent daytime and evening events. The festival will branch out to other venues throughout the neighborhood, holding various gatherings at the Loft at 600 F, Hill Country BBQ, Compass Coffee, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Among this year’s Washington Ideas offerings:

The Forum: Conversations and interviews with leading policymakers, industry titans, and cultural icons across two days at Sidney Harman Hall. Confirmed speakers for the Forum include:

  • José Andrés, Chef/Owner, ThinkFoodGroup & minibar by José Andrés
  • Mark Bertolini, Chairman & CEO, Aetna
  • Lonnie Bunch, Director, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Luis Diaz, Head of Solid Tumor Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Medicine
  • Joelle Emerson, Founder & CEO, Paradigm
  • Sara Horowitz, Chair, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Board of Directors; Founder and Executive Director, The Freelancer’s Union
  • Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
  • Stefanie Joho, Cancer Patient and Advocate
  • Lisa Melcher, CEO and Tina Stride, President, The Hope Dealer Project
  • Secretary Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury
  • Dennis Muilenburg, Chairman, President & CEO, The Boeing Company
  • Michele Norris, Executive Director, The Bridge at the Aspen Institute; Founding Director, The Race Card Project
  • General (Ret.) David Petraeus, Member & Chairman, KKR Global Institute
  • Christina Tosi, Founder and CEO, Milkbar
  • Rohit Prasad, VP and Head Scientist, Alexa Machine Learning
  • Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax
  • J. Craig Venter, Co-Founder, Executive Chairman & Head of Scientific Strategy, Human Longevity, Inc.
  • Christina Tosi, Founder and CEO, MilkBar
  • Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots, X
  • Melanie Whelan, CEO, SoulCycle
  • Feng Zhang, Co-Inventor, CRISPR, and Core Institute Member, Broad Institute

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey GoldbergSteve Clemons, Molly Ball, Julia Ioffe, Ron Brownstein, Matt Thompson, Derek Thompson, and AtlanticLIVE contributors Liza Mundy, Mary Louise Kelly and Alison Stewart are among the moderators to lead conversations at Washington Ideas.

Washington Ideas Headquarters at Rosa Mexicano: For the first time, Washington Ideas will host a second stage at Rosa Mexicano, a few doors down street from the Harman Center. Throughout the day, Rosa will be home to additional events, Ideas Exchange conversations, book talks, happy hours and networking, and more. Further details regarding the programming lineup to be announced.

Food for Thought Lunches: Topical lunch discussions will be held at various locations throughout the Penn Quarter neighborhood on September 27. Each lunch will cover a different topic and will feature expert speakers. Topics this year include: world affairs, food, business and jobs, arts and culture, science, and politics.

Radio Atlantic, Live:  Join The Atlantic’s Radio Atlantic podcast for a live taping and conversation at Sixth and I on one of America’s biggest foreign policy challenges: Russia. Nearly a year after Trump’s election, how have U.S. relations with Russia changed and how has Russia already affected our politics and policies? Radio Atlantic hosts Jeffrey Goldberg (editor in chief) and Matt Thompson (executive editor) will lead a timely conversation with staff writer Julia Ioffe and contributing editor Eliot Cohen, a former top State Department Official.

Live Screening of  “The Vietnam War” + Discussion with the Filmmakers:  On Thursday, September 28, Washington Ideas will host an exclusive screening of the final episode of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS series “The Vietnam War.” The conclusion of the 10-episode series (the first episode of which premieres on September 17) will be simulcast for the Washington Ideas audience, live at Sidney Harman Hall. The screening will be followed by a conversation on stage with Burns, Novick, Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran and author of The Things They Carried, and Mai Elliott, author of The Sacred Willow, which chronicles the experience of her own Vietnamese family throughout the war. The conversation will be moderated by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg.

The Atlantic + The National Portrait Gallery: To commemorate The Atlantic’s 160th anniversary, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery will offer guided tours of the portraits of the iconic 19th and 20th century authors who wrote for The Atlantic; tours will happen across the week of Washington Ideas. Featured portraits include Frederick Douglass, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gertrude Stein, Carl Sandburg, and more.

Media registration for Washington Ideas is now open. Print and broadcast media seeking a credential must RSVP to The Atlantic’s Sydney Simon (ssimon@theatlantic.com; 202-266-7338).

Tickets are also on sale now at WashingtonIdeas.com. Early bird ticket prices are currently $150 and will be $200 starting on Monday, August 14. For more information and update, visit WashingtonIdeas.com, follow @WashingtonIdeas, and like Washington Ideas onFacebook
for updates.

Presenting Level underwriters include Allstate, America’s Biopharmaceutical Companies, the American Federation of Teachers, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inova, Pfizer, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bank of America and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are Supporting Underwriters; and Aflac and the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership are Contributing Underwriters.

About The Atlantic

Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, and video platforms. With its award-winning digital presence TheAtlantic.com and CityLab.com on cities around the world, 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 was the 2016 National Magazine of the Year. Bob Cohn is President of The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg is Editor in Chief. Margaret Low is president of AtlanticLIVE, The Atlantic’s events division.

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 www.aspeninstitute.org.

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