The Aspen Ideas Festival is the quintessential gathering of leaders from across the nation and the world. Altogether unique among large-scale gatherings, the Festival is equal parts cerebral and celebratory – marrying the intellectual experience of a conference with the social and artistic stimulation of an entertainment festival – all within the breathtaking setting of the Aspen Institute’s magnificent campus, and in the rarefied company of leaders from the world over.
Spanning one week from June 27 to July 3, the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival featured seven days of idea-driven dialogue in the form of discussions, presentations, evening exchanges, and one-on-one conversations. Approximately 2,200 attendees heard from more than 340 leaders in the fields of journalism, arts, science, culture, technology, religion, philosophy, business, economics, and politics. Featured speakers included designer Tory Burch, Governor Mitch Daniels, physicist Brian Greene, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, actor Stanley Tucci, and more.
Each year the Festival’s programming is curated based on the key issues of the day and organized into tracks which act as themes for the week. Below is a list of the tracks from the 2012 Festival:
Week-Long Tracks: June 27 – July 3
- World Affairs: Democracy on Trial - The U.S. Position in a Changing World Order
- The Economy: Is the Crisis Permanent? - Job Creation and U.S. Competitiveness
- Our Planet: Life in a World of Seven Billion - Natural Resources and Human Life - Food, Water, Transportation, Energy, Health, and Mobility
- Arts and Culture: Art Matters - Art, Design, and Life
- American Agenda: The Choice 2012 - The Issues Driving the Candidates and Their Parties
Session One Tracks: June 27 – June 30
- What We Believe and Why: An Exploration of Values - Personal, Societal, Religious, and Corporate Values
- Sports Taken Seriously - Physical and Digital Gains, the Culture of Sports, Active Lifestyles, and Health
- Radical Disruptions: The Transformative Power of Technology - Innovations and Breakthroughs from
- Communications and Social Media to Manufacturing, Logistics, Health, and Education
Session Two Tracks: June 30 – July 3
- War & Peace in the Modern World - Global Dynamics and Homeland Security
- Raising the 21st Century Child - The Mind of the Child: Education and Influence that Shape our Growth
- Cracking the Genetic Code - DNA Advances and Impact on Life and Health in the Next Century
Visit AIFestival.org to access videos, photos, and highlights from 2012 and also to receive updates on the ninth-annual Aspen Ideas Festival, which will be held June 26 - July 2, 2013.
Hosted in Partnership With
Also in This Series
Aspen Ideas Festival 2016
The Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation's premier public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to present and discuss the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.
Aspen Ideas Festival Spotlight Health 2016
Spotlight Health drew speakers and audience members from around the world to talk about the cutting-edge health issues of our times during three days of conversations, stories, films, interactive activities and more.
Aspen Ideas Festival Spotlight Health 2015
The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute hosted conversations about the biggest issues in health, medicine and their relationship to other disciplines.
Fifteen Years Later:
Are We Any Safer?
The Atlantic will explore the nation’s homeland security to examine the strengths and remaining vulnerabilities of our security apparatus and our preparedness to prevent the next terrorist attack.
The New Old Age
Since the turn of the 20th century, average life expectancy has been rising steadily. In the United States, we can now expect to live an average of three decades longer than our great-grandparents. As we collectively age, our societal understandings of the rhythms of an average lifespan have been slow to adapt. With nearly 10,000 baby boomers moving into retirement every day, The Atlantic will examine the shape of the new old age and its impact on society.