Students, Teachers and Thinkers Gather to Innovate at the Aspen Ideas Festival

For decades the Aspen Institute has been the nation's leading place for scientists, scholars, artists, public officials, business executives and leaders from a multitude of fields and from all over the world to gather together and explore ideals, ideas and critical issues that impact the global public. This year marked the seventh Aspen Ideas Festival, presented by the Aspen Institute and 'The Atlantic' magazine, and the first time the Festival events were streamed live and on-demand. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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Ideas and Innovation That Matter

The celebration of ideas at the Aspen Ideas Festival is a unique dialogue and exchange of ideas dedicated to brave and innovative thinking on defining and addressing the issues of our times. The mission of the Festival is to gather leaders, experts and a diverse group of people from across the country and the globe to exchange, listen, question and debate timeless ideas and critical modern challenges. The Festival is a provocative and educational public discourse aimed at building a better world and creating a 21st century 'public commons'.

Speakers from Around the World

More than 250 experts from an array of fields, including science, art, politics, economics, technology, philosophy and religion, gathered in Aspen, Colorado from June 27-July 3 to 'exchange ideas that matter'. They participated in plenary sessions, tutorial sessions, panels, presentations, interviews and action-oriented discussions. Just some of the speakers and guests at the Festival included:

  • Former Senior Advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod
  • Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew
  • Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
  • Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
  • Teach for America Co-Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp
  • U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
  • Cancer researcher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Journalists Mike Allen, Richard Besser, Michael Martin, Arianna Huffington, Andrea Mitchell and others

Critical Topics Shaping Our World

Our modern global society faces a myriad of contemporary issues. The Festival offered four week-long program tracks, as well as two sessions of 4-day program tracks. Topics covered throughout the week were:

  • Our Post 9/11 World
  • State of the Union
  • Ways of Seeing, Ways of Thinking: Arts & Design in American Culture
  • The Environment: Green Tech to Clean Tech

The first session of 4-day program tracks addressed:

  • The Learning Landscape
  • Global Economics
  • What is 'Happiness'?
  • Food Fights

The second session addressed:

  • Growing the U.S. Economy
  • Our Digital Universe: Social Media, Mobile Media
  • Frontiers of Medicine
  • Music on the Edge

In addition to Twitter's founders announcing their new company, The Obvious Corporation, other highlights from the Festival included presentations, panels, interviews and debates on a wide range of topics, including protecting public health, immigration and the economy, buying organic or local produce, (Wiki) Leaks and freedom of the press, the education system, the future of the Internet, neuroscience, restoring ecosystems and reinventing cars.

Gathering the Global Community

In an effort to develop year-round dialogue on the topics discussed at the Festival, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic videotaped more sessions than ever, streamed sessions and events live and utilized more social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. For those who could not attend the Festival or stream it live, highlights, videos and conversations can be found at the Aspen Ideas Blog, the Aspen Institute website, YouTube, The Atlantic's Ideas Report, Tumblr and genConnect's Aspen Ideas page.

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