The Aspen Institute

Live broadcasts from Aspen Institute events, including the McCloskey Speaker Series, Aspen Ideas Festival and more. 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.

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

The Power of Play

Jun 27, 2014

The Power of Play

We know that sports and exercise are essential for still-developing bodies and minds, building not only muscle power and better coordination, but confidence, focus, creativity and teamwork. But we also know that youth aren’t getting the physical activity they need — school gym classes and recess have been cut in the US, technology is pulling people inside, and poverty and terror are curtailing active living around the world. What impact will all that have on the leadership capacity of the next generation? What will it mean for productivity, the capacity to learn, and global health?

Angela Diaz, Asa Firestone, Caitlin Morris, Tom Farrey, Chris Klug

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

Communities That Thrive

Jun 26, 2014

Communities That Thrive

Healthy communities put people first, with safe housing, convenient schools and workplaces, and ready access to food, water, recreation and sustainable transportation. Rural or urban, resource-rich or impoverished, they offer opportunity and hope, and reward imagination and ingenuity. These places also foster a sense of shared purpose, perhaps sporting community centers and gardens, resource-sharing activities and microenterprise, sidewalks and bike lanes. What are the must-have features of a healthy community? How should small towns and large cities be designed in the future? What does the explosion of mega-metropolises around the world mean to health?

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Gabe Klein, Kennedy Odede, Gina Murdock, Belinda Reininger

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, 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?

Two speakers from this year’s Aspen Ideas Fest, Janna Levin, an astrophysicist from Barnard College and Kay Hymowitz, the author of the bestseller,  "Manning Up".

The Fight for Good Food

Jun 25, 2014

The Fight for Good Food 

Since Sam Kass became senior policy advisor for Nutrition Policy at the White House, five years ago, he has been at the forefront of Michelle Obama’s campaign to convince manufacturers to reduce fat and sodium and add whole grains to their foods. A legacy of the White House will be improving school lunches — if, that is, the improvements the White House won four years ago don’t get rolled back by a Congress that says fruits and vegetables are expensive and kids don’t eat them anyway. Kass will discuss the White House’s priorities and successful strategies, the far-flung effects of the Let’s Move! campaign, and their unexpectedly heated recent fight to keep their lunch legacy alive.

Sam Kass, Corby Kummer

Women’s Health: The Unfinished Revolution

Jun 25, 2014

Women’s Health: The Unfinished Revolution

The phrase “women’s health” slips off the tongues of clinicians, public health experts, community advocates and legislators with ease, but the ideological battles of the past three decades have clouded this once-useful term. Reproductive health services and access to family planning promote health and combat poverty, but they do not represent the sum of women’s health needs or rights. Women also differ from men in how they develop, age, and respond to treatment, yet the science of their unique characteristics is alarmingly incomplete. What is “women’s health” really about, and how we do re-imagine its future?

Jane Otai, Sisonke Msimang, Courtney E. Martin, Betty King

THE ASPEN LECTURE When Experts Disagree: The Art of Medical Decision-Making

Despite medical advances and the application of scientific principles to modern medicine, there seems to be increasing controversy about the “right” diagnostic and treatment choices, even for very common medical issues – such as how best to treat high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, whether to take vitamins, especially vitamin D, and who should be screened for cancer with mammograms and PSA. And the debate is very public, fomenting confusion with almost daily stories in the media. Why are experts disagreeing? Why isn't there a clear “right” answer? And what support do patients need to make decisions in the face of such controversy?

Jerome Groopman, Pamela Hartzband

Colorado's "Right to Try" Law: A Lifeline or False Hope?

Colorado’s new “right-to-try” law, signed in May, allows terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs without federal approval. Similar legislation is being considered in other states. Supporters call it a ray of hope for people with few alternatives, while skeptics argue that the hopes could be false and the suffering worsened. The US Food and Drug Administration already has compassionate-use mechanisms in place, but action at the state level is a first. What are the clinical and ethical implications of Colorado’s action? Are states usurping federal authority? What are the rights of dying people here?

Elliot Gerson, Joe Garcia, Diane E. Meier

2014 Aspen Institute Broadcast Schedule

Jun 23, 2014

Aspen Public Radio is proud to continue its long-term partnership with The Aspen Institute to bring you another summer of informative and stimulating keynote lectures. 

NOTE: This is the schedule of the lectures/events Aspen Public Radio plans to broadcast. Due to the fluid nature of the Aspen Institute's events, this schedule is expected to change with limited notice.

Tuesday June 24th

Colorado's "Right to Try" Law: A Lifeline or False Hope?

Wednesday June 25th

Kitty Boone of the Aspen Institute with Dr. Kathy Klug on this year's Western Slope College Fair, Sunday October 6th.

More about the fair at:

In collaboration with the Aspen Strategy Group and The Brookings Institution, this discussion will feature former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Raj Shah, and other guests in a conversation moderated by Aspen Strategy Group Director Amb. Nicholas Burns.

Governors in Aspen: What’s Working at the State Level?

A conversation featuring with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Michael Pence of Indiana, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin on their priorities, toughest challenges and successes.

This year's panel of governors will discuss important social issues affecting their communities.

Aspen Security Forum - At the Center of the Action

Jul 22, 2013

"At the Center of the Action: The National Counterterrorism Center and its Role in Securing the Homeland"

If there is one “nerve center” for the nation's counterterrorism efforts, it is the NCTC. The present and past director will look back and look forward as the terrorist threat that created it evolves with time.

Matthew G. Olsen, Director, National Counterterrorism Center
Mike Leiter, Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center; Senior Counsel, Palantir Technologies

MODERATOR: Ryan Lizza, Washington Correspondent, The New Yorker