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Aspen Ideas Festival Archives

The Aspen Ideas Festival is an annual week long gathering that offers a variety of programs, tutorials, seminars, discussions and events that bring together vibrant intellectual exchange. You'll hear on some of the live sessions from the Aspen Ideas Festival here on Aspen Public Radio.

21st Century Workforce

Jul 3, 2014

21st Century Workforce

Interview with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Penny Pritzker, Walter Isaacson

Penny Pritzker is US secretary of commerce, since June 2013. Previously, she was CEO of PSP Capital Partners and has developed such diverse companies as Vi, The Parking Spot, and Pritzker Realty Group. During the Obama administration, Pritzker has served on the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness and the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. She is also a board member of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Marmon Group, and LaSalle Bank Corporation. Much of Pritzker’s civic work focuses on public education. In 2012, she received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.

In Conversation with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy, Hari Sreenivasan

Gina McCarthy is the administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. Previously, McCarthy served as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. During her career, which spans over 30 years, she has worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment.

In Depth: What the States Say About American Politics-Are We Facing a Different Kind of Political Future?

24 states with 50% of the nation’s population is moving in one direction. 13 states with 25% of the population is moving in another. What gridlock? Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton

Grover Norquist, Mickey Edwards

Grover Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform. He is the creator and organizer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a public written commitment to oppose any and all tax hikes, signed by most GOP members of the US Congress. Norquist serves on the board of directors of the Center for the National Interest, the Parental Rights Organization, and the National Rifle Association. He is the author of Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives.

Mickey Edwards is vice president and director of the Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership at the Aspen Institute. He represented Oklahoma in Congress from 1977 to 1992, serving in the House Republican leadership. Afterward, he taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. He has also been a visiting professor at University of Maryland Law School, Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, and a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School. Early in his career, he was a reporter and editor and worked in advertising and public relations. Edwards authored Reclaiming Conservatism and The Parties Versus the People.

A New Cold War with Russia?

Jul 2, 2014

A New Cold War with Russia?

US-Russian relations have reached one of their lowest points since the end of the Cold War. Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia and author of such books as Russia’s Unfinished Revolution, will shed light on the tenuous relationship between Moscow and Washington. As Russia and the US face off over Ukraine, can they continue to cooperate on Syria and Iran?

Michael McFaul

The Dope on Pot: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Katie Couric in Conversation

Recreational pot became legal in Colorado last year and retailers started selling it in January. While regulations were set up before retail sales started, the State of Colorado has enacted new laws to fine tune aspects of concern to lawmakers. Two new measures signed into law this spring included labeling for marijuana edibles as well as dosage regulations. Over the past seven months, the new marijuana industry is a tax revenue boon. It’s expected to bring in between $60-$80 million in taxes for Colorado in 2014.

John Hickenlooper, Katie Couric

Will the Humanities be Extinct by 2024?

Jul 1, 2014

Will the Humanities be Extinct by 2024?

There has been a lively debate about the purposes of a higher education and the degree to which it is about acquiring skills for employment, versus meeting personal and societal objectives for fulfillment and civic participation. This panel will explore the issue from the point of view of whether and how the humanities in the undergraduate curriculum contribute to both goals, and how well today’s institutions of higher learning are prepared to fulfill the humanities’ promise.

Afternoon of Conversation

Jun 30, 2014

Afternoon of Conversation

* PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi in conversation with David Bradley

* Former Vice President Al Gore with David Gergen

* Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in conversation with Andrea Mitchell

* The Race Card Project with NPR’s Michele Norris and Guests

* Gen. David Petraeus (Ret., US Army) in conversation with Bob Schieffer

Fracking: Is There a Fix to the Fight?

Jun 30, 2014

Fracking: Is There a Fix to the Fight?

Domestic shale gas has transformed the US energy equation, but its development can have unacceptable impacts on air and water quality, while methane emissions from oil and gas development can undo the climate benefit of burning natural gas instead of other fossil fuels. Colorado has led the way with the nation's strongest air pollution standards for oil and gas development, including the first direct regulation of methane. Governor John Hickenlooper and Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, who worked closely on the breakthrough rules in Colorado, lead a discussion of the way forward for shale gas.

Fred Krupp, John Hickenlooper, Gillian Tett

The Road to Depth: Thinking about what Character Is

Jun 30, 2014

The Road to Depth: Thinking about what Character Is

Some people seem to lead inner lives that are richer and more substantive than the rest of us. How do they do it? This talk is a survey of some of history's most substantive characters. How love, suffering, struggle, surrender and obedience lead them to their depth.

David Brooks has been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 2003 and is a commentator for “PBS Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Brooks also teaches at Yale University. He was a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic, a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, and worked at The Washington Times. Brooks began his journalism career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau. He has authored three books, most recently The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.

The Service Year: Creating a New Cultural Norm

Jun 30, 2014

The Service Year: Creating a New Cultural Norm

Imagine a world in which most young Americans completed a year of national service. How would this contribute to transforming our country and our world? How do we reinvigorate our sense of civic duty and redefine success for the next generation in a way that integrates and institutionalizes national service into our culture? How can government, higher education, philanthropic organizations, the private sector, media, and service organizations can work together to foster a culture of national service over the next decade? How can we work together to make a service year a rite of passage and common expectation for young Americans through the creation of 1 million annual service-year positions? The panel will discuss the potential economic, political, international, community, and individual benefits that could be gained through large-scale national service.

Stanley A. McChrystal, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Elliot Gerson

Airbnb: How the Sharing Economy is Redefining the Marketplace and Our Sense of Community

Airbnb does business in 34,000 cities, has a valuation of over 10 billion dollars, and in a very short time has disrupted the world of hospitality and travel. Its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky envisions the future city as a place where sharing is front and center — where people become micro-entrepreneurs, the local mom and pops will flourish once again, where space isn’t wasted, but shared, and more of almost everything is produced, except waste. But the journey from here to there won’t be all smooth sailing. What are the ups and downs of the sharing economy, as businesses like Airbnb confront critiques about regulation, economic development, and fairness? What role might businesses play in creating more shareable, more livable cities? How will the sharing economy, with its de-emphasis on ownership, be a tool for addressing urban inequality?

Brian Chesky, Jennifer Bradley

Wealth and the Modern American Family

Jun 30, 2014

Wealth and the Modern American Family

The president of one of the nation's top investment institutions shares how changing family roles and dynamics affect wealth management.

Keith Banks, Gillian Tett

Keith Banks is president of U.S. Trust, which provides integrated investment, trust, banking, and lending services to wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients. He also oversees wealth management banking and Bank of America Global Capital Management. Banks joined FleetBoston Financial in 2000 as CIO and CEO of the asset management organization before its merger with Bank of America in 2004. With Bank of America, he served as president of Global Wealth and Investment Management and president and CIO of Columbia Management Group.

Gillian Tett writes two weekly columns for the Financial Times, covering a range of economic, financial, political, and social issues worldwide since 1993. In 2014, she was named columnist of the year by the British Press Awards. In 2012, she received a SABEW Award for best feature article. She was previously awarded a President’s Medal by the British Academy in 2011 and was recognized as Journalist of the Year in 2009 and Business Journalist of the Year in 2008 by the British Press Awards, as well as Senior Financial Journalist of the Year (2007) by the Wincott Awards.

Imagining 2024: Urban America

Jun 28, 2014

Imagining 2024: Urban America

After decades of urban depopulation, US cities are experiencing a reversing of that trend, led by millennials, 40 percent of whom say they plan to live their lives in urban settings. But families and empty nesters are moving to the city too, and for the first time since the 1920s, population growth in US cities is outpacing the growth of the suburbs. What will this reshaping of the American landscape mean for society? How will cities grow and change to accommodate new populations, a changing environment, and a global economy? What will drive innovation and economic growth in the new urban context? And how can cities best plan, govern, and design for the future?

Bruce Katz, Jeff Speck, Janette Sadik-Khan, Kasim Reed, Sommer Mathis, Mitch Landrieu

In Conversation with “House of Cards” Creator Beau Willimon

The creator of "House of Cards" discusses the future of television and movies with legendary entertainment industry leader Michael Eisner.

Beau Willimon is an American playwright and screenwriter whose early work, before working in entertainment, included volunteering for the political campaigns of Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Bill Bradley, and Howard Dean.

Willimon wrote the play “Farragut North”, the basis for the George Clooney film “The Ides of March”, which premiered in off Broadway in 2008. His other plays include “Spirit Control” and “Lower Ninth”

In 2012, Willimon developed the show House of Cards for Netflix. The show is an American adaption of the BBC series of the same name. House of Cards premiered on Netflix on early 2013. The show has run for two seasons and a third season is currently in production.

Beau Willimon, Michael Eisner

Hybrids to Hydrogen to Robots? Delivering the Future of Mobility Today

From Toyota's big bet on hydrogen fuel cell technology to the development of cars that drive themselves, connected vehicles and even robots, the world's largest automaker is delivering the future of mobility. Andrew Ross Sorkin and Toyota's Osamu Nagata will discuss what's in the works now and how we'll be getting around tomorrow.

Osamu Nagata, Andrew Ross Sorkin

A Conversation with the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Jun 27, 2014

Spotlight: Health Closing Session – A Conversation with the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius was the 21st United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. She served from 2009-2014.  Sebelius resigned her post as President Obama’s head of HHS in April 2014. She was the key person involved in implementing health care reforms under the “Affordable Care Act” aka “Obamacare”. Sebelius had previously served as Governor of Kansas (2003-2009).

Kathleen Sebelius, Walter Isaacson

How Do We Nourish Nine Billion People?

Jun 26, 2014

How Do We Nourish Nine Billion People?

About half the world’s population suffers from some form of malnutrition – 2 billion people are undernourished, 1.4 billion are overweight or obese, and 800 million are hungry – and as climate change advances, the threats will likely worsen. In the US, cutbacks in the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program mean some Americans run out food every month. Lacking the right nutrients to grow and thrive, billions around the globe cannot rise from poverty. What food and nutrition priorities should the international community set as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals expire? What is the blueprint for strengthening access to nutritious foods and sustainable agriculture? What is the role for the private sector?

Josh Lozman, Ronald Shaich, Marc Van Ameringen, Dan Glickman, Toni Verstandig, Derek Yach

How Can We Die With Dignity?

Jun 26, 2014

How Can We Die With Dignity?

The hospice movement and other cultural and system-wide innovations in palliative care have been welcome strategies for easing the dying experience, but many people still do not have their final wishes respected. If we are to guide patients and families through life’s final stage with dignity, we need to have wiser conversations, better services, and a clearer ethical framework. What is it like to be present with people as they approach death? What roles can the young and the healthy play? What investments do we need to make to smooth the passage away from the living?

Arthur Leonard Caplan, Ai-jen Poo, Akaya Windwood, Ray Suarez

Can Congress Come Together to Build a Healthier Nation?

There's much more to health politics than the Affordable Care Act. Along with remarkable new advances in medicine by 2024, we will see Baby Boomers swamping the health care system, more veterans needing services, and the impact of climate change becoming ever more apparent. Leaders from both political parties in both houses of Congress should be shaping the vision, negotiating the legislation and committing the funding to improve the nation’s health. What can Congress do to promote better health for more Americans? How can our elected officials reach consensus?

William Frist, Thomas Daschle, Julie Rovner, Mickey Edwards

Personalized Medicine: The Future is Now

Jun 25, 2014

Personalized Medicine: The Future is Now

Personalized medicine is upending hierarchies with consumer products like Scanadu, designed to track physiological signals, and 23andMe.com, which provides raw genetic data. Meanwhile, our exploding knowledge means treatments can increasingly be custom-tailored — the genetic characteristics of a tumor can predict the most effective drug to fight it; a medical image can reveal which artery-opening device will be most effective for a particular individual. How does personalized medicine change the way medicine is practiced? Is it possible to know too much? Does the US need a new regulatory framework for this unprecedented era?

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