World Leaders in Politics, Business, Science, the Arts, and More to Speak during 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival

Press passes available; June 26-July 2 in Aspen, Colorado

Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2016)— More than 300 groundbreaking thinkers and leaders will gather at the 12th annual Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss today’s most pressing issues. This year’s Festival will run from June 26-July 2, 2016 in Aspen, CO, preceded by Spotlight Health from June 23-26, 2016. The Festival is a partnership of the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

A limited number of press passes are available. To apply, please fill out the form here:

The Aspen Ideas Festival is an experience for the curious: bringing together the people leading their industries for in-depth and often intimate conversations about today’s most critical issues. The Festival’s ten tracks will dive into such areas as the age of insecurity, reimagining capitalism, crime and punishment, sex in America, the future of food, and universities at the crossroads.

Speakers at the Aspen Ideas Festival are influencing global politics and society, advancing science, technology and exploration, pushing the boundaries of entertainment and comedy, and revolutionizing business. Joining the Festival are Laura Bush, Former US First Lady; Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer, Facebook; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Yuri Milner, Founder, DST Global; and Satya Nadella CEO, Microsoft Corporation.

Among the featured speakers:

  • Sonita Alizadeh, Activist and Rapper
  • Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, Walmart Stores
  • Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation
  • Bob Costas, Sportscaster, NBC Sports
  • Renée Fleming, Soprano; Trustee, Carnegie Hall Corporation
  • Theaster Gates, Artist; Professor and Director of Arts + Public Life, Visual Arts Department, University of Chicago
  • Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League
  • Jonathan Holloway, Dean, Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies, Yale University
  • Piper Kerman, Author, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
  • Navina Khanna, Director, HEAL Food Alliance
  • Ezra Klein, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder,
  • David Litt, Head Writer/Producer, Funny or Die Washington D.C.; Former Senior Presidential Speechwriter, The White House
  • Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research and Development, Institute for the Future
  • Michael Middleton, Interim President, University of Missouri
  • Esther Perel, Author, Mating in Captivity
  • Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce
  • Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast Corporation
  • Dan Savage, Advice Columnist, Savage Love
  • Alan Stern, Principal Investigator, New Horizons Mission
  • Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative
  • Cass Sunstein, Founder and Director, Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Harvard Law School
  • Sarah Sze, Artist
  • Darren Walker, President and CEO, The Ford Foundation

The public convocation, which will feature one-on-one interviews, panel conversations, film screenings, and more, is a seven-day event that will explore a wide array of issues. The 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival will delve into global affairs, the 2016 election, the arts, the future of capitalism, criminal justice, the universe, human sexuality, technology and connectivity, and issues confronting universities. More about this year’s program can be found at

Over the course of the Ideas Festival, a robust and diverse audience is expected in Aspen, CO, but many more will be able to join the conversation online. The Atlantic will report on and produce video from the Ideas Festival in a special report at All video and audio clips of on-stage conversations will be on and on, and on the Aspen Institute’s YouTube channel.

Regular updates from the Festival, in the run-up and during the event, will be on and on Twitter at @AspenIdeas, @TheAtlantic and @Atlantic_LIVE, and with #AspenIdeas. Additionally, discussions can be followed all year on the Aspen Ideas Festival blog.

Presenting underwriters for 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival are Allstate, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast NBCUniversal, Mount Sinai Health System, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Southern Company, Toyota, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, and Walton Family Foundation.  Supporting underwriters are American Federation of Teachers, Consumer Reports, EY, Monsanto, Pearson, and The Rockefeller Foundation. PBS is a contributing underwriter.

About The Atlantic:

Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, and video platforms. With its award-winning digital presence and on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the 2016 National Magazine of the Year. Bob Cohn is President of The Atlantic.

About the Aspen Institute:

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. 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