2007 Aspen Ideas Festival Closing Plenary: What Can I Do?
Some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world all gathered in a single place - to teach, speak, lead, question, and answer at the 2006 Aspen Ideas Festival. Throughout the week, they all interacted with an audience of thoughtful people who stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought, and discussion.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006.
In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made "Submission," a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
Mary Doerr is daughter of Kleiner Perkins' John Doerr, who told her father that his generation had triggered climate change, and it was their job to fix it, which is the public explanation of his environmental activism.
James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.
Lawrence M. Krauss is Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics. He was appointed to the faculty of physics and astronomy at Yale University in 1985, and then joined Case as Chair of Physics in 1993. The author of 7 popular books including international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek and his newest book, Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond, Krauss is also a regular radio commentator and essayist for newspapers such as The New York Times, and appears regularly on television. He has received the highest awards of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics.
Arthur Mutambara is a Zimbabwean opposition leader, president of one of the two Movement for Democratic Change party formations. He also serves as managing director and CEO of the Africa Technology & Business Institute in South Africa and professor of Operations Management at the University of South Africa's Graduate School of Business Leadership.
Extensively involved in socio-economic-political issues in both the US and Africa, he was named one of the World Economic Forum's "Young Global Leaders" in 2007. Mutambara was formerly a director of Standard Bank with responsibilities in 17 African countries. He is also a former Rhodes Scholar, NASA research scientist, MIT professor of Robotics and Mechatronics, visiting professor of Business Strategy at Northwesternâ€™s Kellogg School, and management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Mutambara is also a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, a partnership of the Aspen Institute.
Leonard Rubenstein is President of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that mobilizes the health professions to advance human rights. He has been a leader in promoting health policy on the basis of human rights both in the United States and in the developing world. He initiated the Health Action AIDS Campaign, which brings the knowledge and voices of physicians and other health professionals, both in the United States, and in Africa, to advocacy for resources and sound policy on HIV/AIDS.
He also has been at the forefront of a broad effort to increase human resources for health in Africa. Mr. Rubenstein has conducted human rights investigations throughout the world and has published widely, from academic journals to the op-ed pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has received numerous awards, including the Health Care Hero Award from the Congressional Minority Caucuses.
Shashi Tharoor is an elected member of the Indian Parliament and former minister of state for external affairs. In 2007, he concluded a nearly 29-year career at the United Nations, including his role as undersecretary-general for communications and public information. In 2006, he was India's candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as UN Secretary-General and emerged a strong second out of seven contenders.
Tharoor is the prize-winning author of twelve books, both fiction and nonfiction, including the classic The Great Indian Novel; India: From Midnight to the Millennium; Nehru: The Invention of India; and The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone: Reflections on India in the 21st Century. A widely published critic, commentator, and columnist in publications including The Hindu, The Times of India, and Newsweek. He has won India's highest honor for overseas Indians, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He is a trustee of the Aspen Institute.
Robert James Woolsey
R. James Woolsey is chairman of Woolsey Partners LLC and former United States Director of Central Intelligence, heading the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Specializing in a range of alternative energy and security issues, Woolsey serves in various capacities at VantagePoint Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group and the law firm Goodwin Procter. Previously, he was a vice president and officer of Booz Allen Hamilton, and a partner at the law firm Shea & Gardner (now Goodwin Procter) in Washington, D.C., where he practiced for 22 years in the fields of civil litigation, arbitration and mediation.
Including his Central Intelligence tenure, Woolsey served in the U.S. government on five different occasions, holding presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations. He was ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, under secretary of the Navy, general counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and part-time delegate at large to the U.S.–Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST). As an officer in the U.S. Army, he was an adviser on the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I).
Woolsey serves on a range of government, corporate, and nonprofit advisory boards, chairing several, and has served in the past as a member of boards of directors of a number of publicly and privately held companies, generally in fields related to technology and security. He is a frequent contributor of articles to major publications, and gives public speeches and media interviews on the subjects of foreign affairs, defense, energy, and intelligence. Having received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University, Woolsey earned a master's degree at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a law degree from Yale Law School.