The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute Announce the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival

Washington, D.C. -- The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic announce their eighth annual celebration of ideas with the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. In Aspen, Colorado, from June 27 through July 3, more than 250 of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the country and the world will gather to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. The week's programming will span a vast range of critical topics such as the economy, the environment, science and technology, the arts, global affairs, and the presidential election. The public discourse - exciting, provocative, entertaining, and educational - will take place over seven days before a festival audience of nearly 2,200, as well as those following the festival online throughout the world. 
Speakers currently confirmed to attend include: Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak; fashion designer Tory Burch; Yale University Professor of Law and author Amy Chua; Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels; DLA Piper Senior Policy Advisor Thomas Daschle; Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher; former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan; EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; US Army General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal; former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and former US Senator (D-ME) George Mitchell; former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf; Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; and ESPN President John Skipper; along with the 2012 Aspen Institute Harman-Eisner Artists in Residence: award-winning Broadway Director Julie Taymor and Diller Scofidio + Renfro Founding Partner Elizabeth Diller.
Alongside leading journalists such as Mike Allen, Kurt Andersen, Maria Bartiromo, James Bennet, Christine Brennan, David Brooks, Ronald Brownstein, Steve Clemons, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Neal Conan, Katie Couric, James Fallows, Jeffrey Goldberg, Gwen Ifill, Steve Inskeep, Joe Klein, Alexis Madrigal, Suzanne Malveaux, Andrea Mitchell, Joe Nocera, Michele Norris, Charlie Rose, Bob Schieffer, Scott Stossel, Dina Temple-Raston, and Vijay Vaitheeswaran, presenters will discuss their ideas in plenary sessions, tutorials, and other sessions on program tracks including World Affairs: Democracy on Trial; America 2012; The Economy: Is the Crisis Permanent?; Our Planet: Life in a World of Seven Billion; Arts and Culture: Art Matters; War and Peace in the Modern World; and Sports Taken Seriously. (A full list of all program tracks is available at

"My hope with the Festival is to bring leaders, problem solvers, deep thinkers, and enthused champions to inspire us to imagine the possibilities for change and progress," said Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs at the Aspen Institute and director of the Aspen Ideas Festival. "We will also introduce some remarkable young minds this summer - students from MIT's Media Lab and Stanford University's Design School - who, we think, will give hope that the problems our society has created in recent decades are, in fact, being expertly addressed by some of the most innovative, exciting, and exuberant minds of this coming generation of leaders."

"We're looking forward to a spirited contest of ideas-some straightforward, and some, I hope, out of deep left field-to invigorate our culture, society, and politics," said James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic"This year, The Atlantic will intently cover the Festival with a team of journalists in hopes of bringing more people into the debate than we ever have before."
During the lead-up to the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic will host an Ideas Special Report on its website, highlighting breakthroughs and innovations having direct impact on business, technology, politics, science, and the arts. The report coincides with the July/August Ideas issue of The Atlantic in print and online, focused on the most powerful ideas shaping our world.

Starting June 26, will offer comprehensive coverage of the Festival, including articles on the most compelling discussions and presentations, a daily "Today at Aspen" photo gallery, and video conversations with panelists and attendees. Online coverage will also include special commentaries and observations from Atlantic writers and editors on the scene, including Molly Ball, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, Steve Clemons, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Fallows, Garance Franke-Ruta, Conor Friedersdorf, Jeffrey Goldberg, John Hudson, and Alexis Madrigal, as well as National Journal's Ronald Brownstein and Quartz's Kevin Delaney.

It is now possible to keep up with the Aspen Ideas Festival in more ways than ever before. Full-session video and clips will be featured on, on the Aspen Institute's YouTube channel, on, iTunesU, and on the Aspen Institute's video channel. The Aspen Ideas Festival will continue to have a vibrant presence--both this week and year-round--on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Follow the Ideas Festival on Twitter at @aifestival with the hashtag #AspenIdeas. Entire tracks from the 2012 Festival and past festivals can be downloaded from the "Beyond the Classroom" section of iTunesU, and discussions on current events can be followed on the Aspen Ideas Festival blog year-round.

For a list of currently confirmed speakers, program tracks, and passholder information, please visit

Presenting underwriters for the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival include Allstate, Booz Allen Hamilton, DLA Piper, Ernst & Young, Legacy, Mercedes-Benz USA, PepsiCo, Shell, Thomson Reuters, and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Supporting underwriters include the American Federation of Teachers, the Entertainment Software Association, General Electric, and Southern Company. 
About The Atlantic
Since 1857, The Atlantic has played a central role in shaping the national debate on current affairs and cultural trends. Dedicated to bold, independent, diverse, and highly reasoned perspectives, its writers, bloggers, and critics represent the best in American journalism.  The Atlantic's award-winning commentary and coverage can be found in its magazine, on its website at, and at more than 70 events a year produced by its industry-leading events division, AtlanticLIVE.

About The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit