Around the Institute

2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival

June 30, 2017  • Youth & Engagement Programs

For the second year, the Aspen Ideas Festival and Youth & Engagement Programs presented the Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival to young people from all over the Roaring Fork Valley, across the United States, and the world. The Forum provided youth under 25 years old an opportunity to engage some of the world’s brightest minds through an interactive evening of presentations, small group dialogue in the style of the traditional Aspen seminar, guided networking, performances, and opportunities to interact with other attendees.

“[The Young Adult Forum is] the best thing that Aspen is doing… The kids were brilliant, curious, empathetic, and woke AF. Gave me much hope for the future.”
— Wajahat Ali, New York Times op-ed contributor,
lawyer, and playwright

Pete Dominick, host of “Stand Up with Pete Dominick” on SiriusXM’s Insight Channel, emceed the event. Attendees engaged speakers Neal Katyal on the importance of the US constitution; Jonathan Greenblatt and Wajahat Ali on countering stereotypes; Shabana Basij-Rasikh and Liz Dozier on finding one’s purpose and achieving equality in education; Manoush Zomorodi on the neurological effects of our iPhone addiction; and young environmental advocates Esau Sinnok and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.

Check out some highlights from the Forum below, and watch all the action from the 2017 Young Adult Forum on the 2017 Young Adult Forum playlist on the Aspen Institute’s YouTube channel.


This is About Me and For Me
Youth & Engagement Programs EVP Rajiv Vinnakota, Pete Dominick, host of SiriusXM’s StandUp! with Pete Dominick, and poet Harold Green open the 2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Wajahat Ali and Jonathan Greenblatt Talk Countering Stereotypes and Hate
New York Times op-ed contributor, lawyer, and playwright Wajahat Ali and CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt engage youth about how they’ve encountered and combated stereotypes and hate at the 2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: We Have the Power to Shape Our World
Environmental activist and youth director of Earth Guardians, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez delivers powerful performance at the 2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Takeaways From the Young Adult Forum
Youth share takeaways from the 2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideas Festival.