Aspen Ideas Festival 2015

June 25 – July 4, 2015

Hosted in Partnership With

Aspen Institute

The Aspen Ideas Festival, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, gathers the most influential thinkers in America and abroad. The 11th annual flagship event convened some of the biggest names in an array of industries to foster idea sharing, learning and forward thinking and address issues that affect us on individual and societal levels.  

To see photos from this event, please visit our Facebook page.

For more information about the event, please click here.

Presented by

Atlantic Live


Note: Agenda will be updated as sessions are added.

Click on a title to view a video of the session.

Welcome & Opening Session: Big Ideas 2015
   •  Walter Isaacson
   •  David G. Bradley

Compromisers: They May Not Make Great Heroes, But They Do Make Great Democracies
   •  Amy Klobuchar
   •  Interviewed by Walter Isaacson

Cartel Land
   •  Tom Yellin
   •  Interviewed by Matthew Heineman

   •  Thomas Perez
   •  Interviewed by Kai Ryssdal

The Path Forward
   •  Penny Pritzker
   •  Interviewed by Walter Isaacson

Planning for a Life Well Lived
   •  William E. Mayer
   •  Interviewed by Keith Banks

The Obama Doctrine: America's Role in a Complicated World
   •  Ben Rhodes
   •  Interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg

America’s Role in the World and the Role of Democracy at Home
   •  Lindsey Graham
   •  Interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg

Climate Clarity and Complexity
   •  Kathryn Sullivan
   •  Interviewed by Andrew Revkin

Deep Dive: The Fish We Eat
   •  Paul Greenberg
   •  Timothy Fitzgerald
   •  Carrie Brownstein
   •  Margaret Spring
   •  Kristofer Lofgren
   •  Nakul Saran
   •  Moderated by Barry Gold

Deep Dive: Drought
   •  David M. Kennedy
   •  James Famiglietti
   •  Pete McBride
   •  William Phillimore
   •  Noah Diffenbaugh
   •  Buzz Thompson
   •  Moderated by Patricia Mulroy

How I Learned about Capitalism from J.S. Bach and a Penniless Swami
   •  Arthur C. Brooks

Might Our Past Predict Our Future? What Climate Says about Human Evolution
   •  Peter de Menocal

Restarting Opportunity in the Connected Age
   •  Leila Janah
   •  Allen Blue
   •  Michael Crow
   •  Zoë Baird
   •  Moderated by Joe Garcia

By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission
   •  Charles Murray

Thomas Jefferson Then and Now: The Legacy and Lessons of an American Original
   •  Jon Meacham

Why Libraries Are the Original and Future Open Source Platform
   •  Arianna Huffington
   •  Interviewed by Anthony W. Marx

Counterterrorism, Counterinsurgency and Contradictions: America's Lessons Learned in Afghanistan
   •  Karl Eikenberry
   •  Interviewed by Rebecca Blumenstein

What is the Future of Free Speech in China?
   •  Emily Parker
   •  Michael Anti
   •  Moderated by Rebecca Blumenstein

What Every American Should Know
   •  Eric Liu
   •  Interviewed by Anne-Marie Slaughter

JR: Images of Immigration
   •  Charles "Lil Buck" Riley
   •  Interviewed by Damian Woetzel

Deep Sea Exploration
   •  Sylvia Earle
   •  David Gallo
   •  Philippe Cousteau
   •  Moderated by Andrew Revkin

What's Character Got to Do with It?
   •  Aaron Sorkin
   •  David Brooks

The UN and the World's Security
   •  Ron Prosor
   •  Vitaly Churkin
   •  Moderated by David Greene

The Aspen Idea Award $25,000 Final

Is Violence a Function of our Culture?
   •  Mitch Landrieu
   •  Ta-Nehisi Coates
   •  Moderated by Jeffrey Goldberg

The Law and Campus Rape
   •  Nancy Gertner
   •  Interviewed by Caitlin Flanagan

The Robotic Moment: Who Do We Become When We Talk to Machines?
   •  Sherry Turkle

What is College For?
   •  William Deresiewicz
   •  Interviewed by David Brooks

The New Golden Age of Television
   •  Ted Sarandos
   •  Interviewed by Katie Couric

Deep Dive: Get a Job — Youth, Employment, and the 21st Century Economy
   •  Martin Walsh
   •  Mitch Landrieu
   •  Mark Warner
   •  John Fallon
   •  Michael Crow
   •  Blair Taylor
   •  Melody Barnes
   •  Moderated by Amanda Ripley

The Middle East, Art, and Overcoming Division
   •  Merlijn Twaalfhoven
   •  Frédéric Brenner
   •  Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar
   •  Moderated by Philip Kennicott

Women and Work
   •  Ai-jen Poo
   •  Erin Currier
   •  Heather McGhee
   •  Anne-Marie Slaughter
   •  Moderated by Deborah Clark

The New Quantitative Journalism
   •  Jordan Ellenberg
   •  Interviewed by David Leonhardt

Civil-Military Relations and the Future Challenges of National Security Strategy
   •  Karl Eikenberry
   •  David Greene
   •  Moderated by David M. Kennedy

Passion to Flow: Innovation in the Mountains and in Life
   •  Gretchen Bleiler
   •  Chris Davenport
   •  Moderated by Jerry Murdock

The Supreme Court's Marriage Equality Ruling: The Most Consequential Ruling in Our Lifetimes?
   •  David Boies
   •  Theodore B. Olson
   •  Moderated by Neal Katyal

Deep Dive: Is Math Important?
   •  Jordan Ellenberg
   •  David Coleman
   •  Elizabeth Green
   •  Pamela Fox
   •  Jo Boaler
   •  David Leonhardt
   •  Steven Rattner
   •  Moderated by Steven Strogatz

Global Competition and the U.S. Airline Industry
   •  Jeff Smisek
   •  Interviewed by David Greene

Disrupting Political Campaigns: Shifting Influence from the Money to the Many
   •  John Pudner
   •  Ben Rattray
   •  Heather Smith
   •  Lucas Welch
   •  Heather McGhee
   •  Moderated by David Leonhardt

How Can the Private Sector Increase Economic Mobility?
   •  Mark Weinberger
   •  Dave Dillon
   •  Zeynep Ton
   •  Tom Fanning
   •  Chet Cadieux
   •  Moderated by Steve Clemons

The Power of Youth
   •  Thomas J. Wilson
   •  John Bridgeland
   •  Craig Kielburger
   •  Moderated by Stephen Patrick

Deep Dive: Police and Violence in America
   •  Jeffrey Rosen
   •  Tracey Meares
   •  Joe Nocera
   •  Clifton Kinnie
   •  Connie Rice
   •  Moderated by Michele Norris

Do We Need to Rethink Policing in America?
   •  Raymond Kelly
   •  Interviewed by John Dickerson

Why California is Leading the United States in Energy Innovation
   •  Tom Steyer
   •  Interviewed by Ronald Brownstein

I am or AI am?
   •  Edward Frenkel

Why Democratic Capitalism Needs Design Thinking
   •  Tim Brown
   •  Roger Martin
   •  Moderated by Alexis Madrigal

Our Climate Future Is Brighter Than It Looks
   •  Mark Tercek
   •  Fred Krupp
   •  Moderated by Ronald Brownstein

Advice From Women Who Lead
   •  Pamela Reeves, Andrea Kates, Sochua Mu, Karla Ruiz Cofiño, Ai-jen Poo, Michele Norris, Shiza Shahid, Fiona Hill, Alyse Nelson,Rebecca Blumenstein, Hannah Jones, Leila Janah, Raney Aronson-Rath, Amy Cuddy, Vicky Dinges, Latondra Newton, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Robin Chase, Jacqueline Novogratz, Bina Venkataraman

Retweeting, Regramming, Reimagining our Relationship with Technology
   •  Arianna Huffington

Racing Extinction
   •  Louie Psihoyos
   •  Leilani Munter
   •  Hilary Sparrow
   •  Moderated by Suzanne Goldenberg

How Should We Combat Income Inequality?
   •  Lawrence H. Summers
   •  Interviewed by David Leonhardt

A Meaningful Life
   •  Richard Dawkins
   •  Interviewed by Jane Shaw

Will Business Lead a Middle-Class Resurgence?
   •  Judy Samuelson
   •  Maureen Conway
   •  Mark Warner
   •  Joseph Echevarria
   •  Moderated by Blair Taylor

How Do We Sustain Economic Growth?
   •  Mark Warner
   •  Tom Fanning
   •  Zoë Baird
   •  Moderated by Gillian Tett

Count or Die: Why the Humanities Need Numbers to Survive
   •  David Coleman

Afternoon of Conversation (Full session. Individual segments listed below.)
   •  Elizabeth Alexander Poetry Reading
   •  Valerie Jarrett in Conversation with Walter Isaacson
   •  Brian Greene Science Lecture
   •  Susan Desmond-Hellman in Conversation with Walter Isaacson
   •  Paul Ryan in Conversation with Bill Kristol
   •  Peter Thiel in conversation with David Bradley
   •  Town Hall with Gwen Ifill on American Identity
   •  David Petraeus in Conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg

The Fast Pace of Tech: Doing Good, Driving Change
   •  Biz Stone
   •  Interviewed by Kevin J. Delaney

The Internet of Things: Design, Technology, Industries, and Cyber Security
   •  Mike McNamara
   •  Interviewed by David Kirkpatrick

Free Education for Everyone — Anytime, Anywhere
   •  Richard Levin
   •  Interviewed by David Leonhardt

Debate: Smart Technology — Future Employer or Job Destroyer?
   •  Andrew Keen
   •  Jonathan Zittrain
   •  Moderated by Alexis Madrigal

Beyond Traffic: The Future of Transportation
   •  Anthony Foxx
   •  Interviewed by Steve Clemons

Greece's Debt Crisis: The New Source of Global Market Contagion?
   •  Arianna Huffington
   •  Lawrence H. Summers
   •  Nicholas Burns
   •  Moderated by Gillian Tett

2016 and the Politics of Inequality
   •  Michael Gerson
   •  Jim Wallis
   •  Ronald Brownstein
   •  David Frum
   •  Angela Glover Blackwell
   •  Grover Norquist
   •  Moderated by Heather McGhee

Best of Enemies
   •  Sam Tanenhaus
   •  Marie Nelson
   •  Moderated by Matt Tyrnauer

Empathy, Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be?
   •  Paul Bloom
   •  Interviewed by Richard J. Davidson

The Sound of Tomorrow: Cameron Carpenter in Conversation with Michael Eisner
   •  Cameron Carpenter
   •  Interviewed by Michael Eisner

Money and Politics
   •  Theodore B. Olson
   •  David Boies
   •  Moderated by James Bennet

Iran: How the Deal Could Shape the Middle East
   •  Karim Sadjadpour
   •  David Petraeus
   •  Vali Nasr
   •  Moderated by Nicholas Burns

The Promise and Peril of Improving Education in Our Urban Public Schools
   •  Rahm Emanuel
   •  Interviewed by Timothy Knowles

Millennials Losing Faith
   •  Mark Oppenheimer
   •  Naomi Schaefer Riley
   •  Jordan Alam
   •  Casper ter Kuile
   •  Moderated by Jane Shaw

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
   •  Robert D. Putnam
   •  Interviewed by James Fallows

Data Ethics in the Age of the Quantified Society
   •  Kate Crawford
   •  Jonathan Zittrain
   •  Ashkan Soltani
   •  Moderated by Alexis Madrigal

The $70,000 Minimum Wage
   •  Dan Price
   •  Interviewed by Kelly Evans

Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the Future of Religious Racism
   •  Arsalan Iftikhar
   •  Interviewed by Leon Wieseltier

The World Is Fast: The Global Challenge of Order and Disorder
   •  Gideon Grinstein
   •  Interviewed by Richard Haass

Deep Dive: Is The Internet Taking Us Where We Want to Go?
   •  James P. Steyer
   •  Jason Pontin
   •  Leon Wieseltier
   •  David Kirkpatrick
   •  Kentaro Toyama
   •  Jeffrey Rosen
   •  Jonathan Zittrain

Can the Next Generation in China and America Share the Future?
   •  Helen Gao
   •  Evan Osnos
   •  Julian Gewirtz
   •  Moderated by Rebecca Blumenstein

Should College Be Free?
   •  Jamie P. Merisotis
   •  Joshua Wyner
   •  Gene D. Block
   •  Moderated by Kevin Carey

Radical: My Journey Out Of Islamist Extremism
   •  Maajid Nawaz

Why Ethics (Usually) Pays, and How to Make it Pay More
   •  Jonathan Haidt

The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems
   •  Richard Pascale

Circuit Training for Your Brain: Well Being Is a Skill
   •  Richard J. Davidson

Deep Dive: The Four Sources of Happiness
   •  Daniel Gilbert
   •  Paul Bloom
   •  Eli J. Finkel
   •  Tim Kasser
   •  Moderated by Jennifer Senior

Deep Dive: Will Tech Save the Planet?
   •  Tsutomu Ioroi
   •  Mika Järvinen
   •  Yi Cui
   •  Delia Milliron
   •  Joel Dawson
   •  Moderated by Alexis Madrigal

The Thirteenth Amendment
   •  David M. Rubenstein
   •  Interviewed by Jeffrey Rosen

Learn to Speak Money
   •  Peter Orszag
   •  Interviewed by David Leonhardt

What Is Moral Leadership
   •  Jonathan Haidt
   •  Interviewed by Jacqueline Novogratz

Dispatches from the Split Screen: Islam and the Media
   •  Arsalan Iftikhar
   •  Dalia Mogahed
   •  Reza Aslan
   •  Moderated by Mark Oppenheimer

The Church of Pope Francis
   •  Michael Gerson
   •  Matt Malone
   •  Garry Wills
   •  Moderated by Nancy Gibbs

Hosted in Partnership With


Presenting Level

Supporting Level

Contributing Level

Also in This Series

  • Aspen Ideas Festival 2020

    Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders — all gathered in a single place.

  • Health Care

    Aspen Ideas: Health 2020

    Aspen Ideas: Health is the conference where healthcare’s biggest challenges meet its biggest thinkers.

  • Health Care

    Aspen Ideas: Health

    Aspen Ideas: Health is the opening segment of the annual Aspen Ideas Festival.

Upcoming Events

  • In Pursuit of Happiness

    The Atlantic will host a live event that explores the human hold on happiness—and aims to find ways to build a more meaningful life.

  • Health Care

    The Equity of Cancer Care

    The Atlantic will gather leading experts to explore the equity of cancer care and what the oncology community is doing to improve outcomes and survivorship for all Americans.

  • Health Care

    The Atlantic's Health Equity Summit

    The Atlantic will explore what the health-care system is doing to combat inequities across race, age, and gender and to improve health outcomes for all Americans.