Aspen Ideas Festival 2012

June 27 - July 3, 2012

Watch the World's Foremost Thinkers, Leaders and Personalities

Exclusive to Here's your chance to attend what was a sold-out event. Get instant access to more than 50 fascinating full-length programs, a $10,000 value!


Wednesday, June 27

3:00 pm MDT U.S. Energy Future: 'Rational Middle' Will Find Solutions     Watch On-Demand
The 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival presents U.S. Energy Future: The 'Rational Middle' Will Find Solutions, a panel discussion featuring Richard G. Newell, Russ Ford, Gregory Kallenberg, and Alexis Karolides. Chrystia Freeland moderates."
3:00 pm MDT Bridging Cultures: America and China's Mutual Fascination     Watch On-Demand
The 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival presents Bridging Cultures: America and China's Mutual Fascination, a panel discussion featuring Hu Shuli, Damian Woetzel, Orville Schell, Wu Tong, Vishakha Desai, and Xiaolin Li."

Thursday, June 28

8:00 am MDT Honeywell CEO Cote: Agenda for American Competitiveness     Watch On-Demand
Honeywell CEO David Cote: An American Competitiveness Agenda. Through Honeywell chairman and CEO David Cote’s tenure, stock price is up 84 percent and total shareowner return is plus 215 percent, outperforming the S/P 500. What does the United States need to do to compete as effectively on the world market? Cote has a strategy."
8:00 am MDT Investing in the Markets: Safe or Unsafe?     Watch On-Demand
Investing in the markets: is it safe, or too risky? Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, gives his outlook on investing for 2012 and beyond."
9:00 am MDT Will College Learning be Transformed by Technology?     Watch On-Demand
Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University, and Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab. He's also a co-founder of Coursera, an online education platform. His work is primarily in machine learning and robotics. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked under the supervision of Michael I. Jordan. His research projects include the Stanford AI Robot (STAIR). Ng is the author or co-author of over 100 published papers in machine learning, robotics and related fields, and some of his work in computer vision has been featured in a series of press releases and reviews. In 2008, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2007, Ng was awarded a Sloan Fellowship.

Joanne Weiss

Joanne Weiss is chief of staff to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. She joined the Education Department in 2009 to direct the Race to the Top Fund, its $4.35 billion program designed to encourage and reward states making system-wide, comprehensive education reforms. Prior to joining the administration, Weiss was partner and chief operating officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focused on investments and management assistance for a variety of charter management organizations, human capital solutions providers, and academic tools and systems designers. Prior to her work at NewSchools, Weiss spent 20 years as CEO, and before that as vice president, for companies providing technology-based products and services to underserved students in K-12 and higher education.

Rehema Ellis

Rehema Ellis is an education correspondent for NBC News and was an integral part of NBC’s first annual Education Nation Summit that focused on the strengths and weaknesses of America’s education system. She joined NBC in 1994 as a general assignment correspondent, and her reports appear on “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today,” and MSNBC. Ellis was part of the NBC Emmy award-winning coverage of the plane crash in the Hudson River called “Miracle on the Hudson.” She also won an Emmy for her reporting on the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama and his historic inauguration. Ellis has been part of other headliner stories, including the attacks on the World Trade Center. She has distinguished herself as a lead correspondent and received numerous awards, including local and national Emmys, Edward R. Murrow Awards, Associated Press awards, and awards from the National Association of Black Journalists.
9:00 am MDT Will the European Union Survive?     Watch On-Demand
The European Union's economic crisis has brought its member nations to a historic moment. The present limited pooling of sovereignty is failing. Either the Union moves closer to becoming the United States of Europe, or it risks breaking up altogether. Unfortunately, Europe’s citizens don’t like either choice. This panel discussion takes on the difficult question: Will the EU survive?"
10:30 am MDT Competition: What's Fair Today?     Watch On-Demand
Competition: what's fair today? Where we draw that line in sports, and in the general culture, shapes the games we play and the society in which we live. Our panel explores the murky ethical terrain of extreme competition as reflected in sports. Featuring Craig Robinson, Jeremy Schaap, Jim Brown and William E. Mayer."
10:30 am MDT Arab Spring 18 Months Later: What's Next for Democracy?     Watch On-Demand
The Arab Spring and democracy: Where are we 18 months in? Could an observer of the Arab World two years ago have envisioned a presidential election in Egypt with a Muslim Brotherhood candidate winning in the presidency, a state of civil war in Syria, an overthrown dictatorship in Tunisia, Muammar Gaddafi killed? No one predicted what is going on. But more importantly, is the Arab World on a path to democracy? Is it going toward a better future? Or is it hitting stumbling blocks that are going to delay this process for many, many years to come?"
12:00 pm MDT Walmart CEO: How Business Can Address Population Growth     Watch On-Demand
In this conversation with the Atlantic's James Fallows, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon gives his perspective on how business can help to meet the challenges presented by global population growth."
1:15 pm MDT College Sports at a Crossroads: Entertainment or Education?     Watch On-Demand
College sports appear to be at a crossroads: is their purpose the entertainment of fans, or the education of students? The NCAA is beset with scandals, anti-trust lawsuits, calls for reform, and manic conference hopping—all signs that college sports has an identity crisis that begs to be resolved. Our panel considers the future of a beloved, embattled American institution. Featuring Craig Robinson, Joe Nocera, Taylor Branch, Tom Farrey, and Wallace Renfro."
2:40 pm MDT Ideas for the Future: Art, Media, and Race     Watch On-Demand
The Aspen Ideas Festival presents Ideas for the Future: Art, Media, and Race. Featuring Adam Lerner, Amanda Michel, Gustavo Arellano, and Matt Thompson -- four pioneers delivering a high-speed download from the frontier of their fields. From detonating the conventions of the museum world to examining Mexican food as a cultural vector to creating the post-blog future of political media, the ideas presented in this session are one step ahead of the national conversation."
5:00 pm MDT Can the Federal Reserve Stimulate the Economy?     Watch On-Demand
As president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, a post he’s held since 2005, and chairman of the Conference of Federal Reserve Bank Presidents, Richard W. Fisher holds a unique perspective on the Fed's ability to stimulate economic growth. Fisher explains the Fed's strategies in this interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo."
12:00 pm MDT Today's Supreme Court Ruling on President Obama's 2010 Health Care Law     Watch On-Demand
David Brooks, Joe Klein, Suzanne Malveaux, Tom Daschle, Vin Weber

Friday, June 29

8:00 am MDT Palantir: Understand Big Data, the Next Seismic Shift     Watch On-Demand
Join Palantir’s CEO Michael Lopp to explore the concept of Big Data and why it matters to you; the privacy, civil liberties, and security concerns raised by the next wave of Internet technologies; and what’s behind the uniquely creative culture of Silicon Valley."
9:00 am MDT Tim Brown: Evolving Design to Fix World’s Problems     Watch On-Demand
Tim Brown, CEO of the award-winning IDEO design and innovation consultancy firm, explains how novel solutions to world problems can be revealed through evolutionary design."
9:00 am MDT Alan Krueger: Reversing the Middle Class Jobs Deficit     Watch On-Demand
Dr. Alan Krueger, Chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, discusses the Administration's strategies for re-booting the economy and reversing the middle class jobs deficit."
10:30 am MDT Shell CEO: Resource Overload, Earth’s Challenges in 2050     Watch On-Demand
Marvin Odum, CEO of Shell Oil Company, addresses topics on resource overload and energy challenges facing the planet, from today to the year 2050. Joel Achebach moderates."
12:00 pm MDT Aspen Institute/Atlantic Survey: What Americans Believe     Watch On-Demand
Donald Baer, Elliot Gerson, James Bennet, and Mark Penn discuss the Aspen Institute / Atlantic annual survey on American values."
1:15 pm MDT London Calling: What's Our Olympic Legacy?     Watch On-Demand
Former Olympic athletes and sports journalists discuss America's Olympic legacy. Congressman Tom McMillen, Jeremy Schapp, Christine Brennan, Michelle Kwan are in conversation. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
2:40 pm MDT Lipsyte & Farrey: What's the Role of Sports in Society?     Watch On-Demand
Robert Lipsyte and Tom Farrey discuss the role of sports in society. They are joined by Beth Brooke, Christine Brennan, and John Walsh. Location: Paepcke Auditorium"
2:40 pm MDT Julie Taymor & Michael Eisner: Future of Storytelling     Watch On-Demand
Michael Eisner and Julie Taymor discuss the future of storytelling. Location: Greenwald Pavilion
4:00 pm MDT Huffington & Isaacson: Starting a Movement to Create Jobs     Watch On-Demand
Arianna Huffington and Walter Isaacson discuss Huffingtion's movement to create jobs in America. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
5:00 pm MDT Richard M. Daley's Advice for the MegaCity     Watch On-Demand
Former mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley shares his advice and vision to create the MegacCity. Daley is in conversation with Richard Florida. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
5:00 pm MDT Google's Eric Schmidt: Technology and Democracy     Watch On-Demand
Google's Eric Schmidt discusses the confluence between technology and democracy. Schmidt is in conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg. Location: Greenwald Pavilion
10:30 am MDT NBC News' "Education Nation": Will Technology Disrupt the Way We Learn?     Watch On-Demand
The onset of courseware, tablets, and social media sites is being addressed cautiously in some educational environments and ravenously in others. Will mobile devices, iPads, and social platforms truly transform the way students learn and teachers teach? Will new technology platforms revolutionize classrooms across the country?

Saturday, June 30

8:00 am MDT How Artists and Policymakers Can Make Our Cities ‘Sing’     Watch On-Demand
Artists and policymakers discuss how city planning inclusive or art can transform cities. Darren Walker, Dennis Scholl, Rocco Landesman, Richard Florida are in conversation. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
9:00 am MDT Rose Show: Walter Isaacson Interviews Charlie Rose     Watch On-Demand
Charlie Rose and Walter Isaacson discuss Rose's show, the politics, and his storied journalism career. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
9:00 am MDT Starbucks CEO: Corporate Values Drive Shareholder Value     Watch On-Demand
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, discusses the impact of Starbuck's values on their shareholders. Schultz is in conversation Joe Nocera. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
9:00 am MDT Murray & Putnam: Is Class Division Tearing U.S. Apart?     Watch On-Demand
Charles Murray and Robert D. Putnam debate whether class division is tearing the U.S. apart. They are join in conversation by David Gergen. Location: Greenwald Pavilion
10:30 am MDT Mitch Daniels: Does Gov. Regulation Help or Hurt Economy?     Watch On-Demand
A political panel including Mitch Daniels discuss whether government regulation ultimately helps or hurts the economy. Beth Brooke, Clive Crook, Glenn Hubbard, Mitch Daniels are in conversation. Location: Greenwald Pavilion"
10:30 am MDT How ‘Playing Games’ Can Improve the Federal Government     Watch On-Demand
Constance Steinkuehler Squire shares how the White House is using games to improve the Federal Government. She is in conversation with Dr. John Seely Brown. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
12:00 pm MDT Michael Sandel: Markets & Morals, What Money Can't Buy     Watch On-Demand
Michael J. Sandel discusses morality and the stock market. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room

Sunday, July 1

8:00 am MDT Shelly Lazarus: Staying Competitive in Creative Economy     Watch On-Demand
Gillian Tett and Shelly Lazarus discuss how companies can stay competitive in a create economy. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
9:00 am MDT Lazarus & Schultz: What’s Real Purpose of a Corporation?     Watch On-Demand
CEOs and business leaders discuss the real purpose of the American corporation. Howard Schultz, Lynn A. Stout, Shelly Lazarus, Thomas Donaldson are in discussion. Location: Greenwald Pavilion"
9:00 am MDT Couric & Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can Women Have It All?     Watch On-Demand
Katie Couric and Anne-Marie Slaughter discuss whether women can have it all. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
10:30 am MDT US Foreign Policy: Does America Have a Duty to Protect?     Watch On-Demand
A panel of social and political experts discuss whether America has a duty to protect the lives of the vulnerable around the world. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dele Olojede, Jeffrey Goldberg, Michael Abramowitz, Stephen L. Carter are in conversation. Location: Greenwald Pavilion
12:00 pm MDT Lessons in Education     Watch On-Demand
From national security to the global economy to the future of the middle class, how high are the stakes and where are the solutions when it comes to educating America’s children? Why hasn’t more progress been made after decades of reform? Why are changes at the school-district level—and even the state—necessary to create environments where teachers and students can succeed? How will digital learning transform personalized education? What lessons can be learned from other nations? What would a high-functioning city public school system look like? How do we get there?

Eli Broad

Eli Broad is founder of the Broad Foundations and a renowned business leader who built two Fortune 500 companies, SunAmerica and KB Home, from the ground up. Today, he and his wife, Edythe, are devoted to philanthropy through foundations, which they established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science, and the arts. The primary work of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is to dramatically improve urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations, and competition. In an unprecedented partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the Whitehead Institute, the Broads created The Eli and Edythe Broad Institute for biomedical research. Its aim is to realize the promise of the human genome to revolutionize clinical medicine and to make knowledge freely available to scientists worldwide. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation have assets of $2.4 billion.

Thomas L. Friedman

Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist. His foreign affairs column in The New York Times, which appears twice a week, reports on US domestic politics and foreign policy, Middle East conflict, international economics, the environment, biodiversity, and energy. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six best-selling books: From Beirut to Jerusalem; The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization; Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11; The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century; and Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need A Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America. His most recent book, That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back, is co-written with Michael Mandelbaum.
1:15 pm MDT Gergen & Kennedy: What Is Democracy? Does It Work?     Watch On-Demand
David Gergen and David Kennedy discuss American democracy and how it works. David Gergen, David Kennedy, Russell Muirhead, Sanford V. Levinson are in conversation.
2:40 pm MDT Future Science: Why Most Ambitious Project Isn’t in US     Watch On-Demand
Leading scientists discuss ambitious science projects around the world, including the Large Hadron Particle Collider, and the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. Dr. Brian Greene, Dr. Michael S. Turner, Rolf-Dieter Heuer are in discussion. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room"
2:40 pm MDT Abrams & Agus: Treating Cancer, the Truth and the Cure     Watch On-Demand
An expert medical panel discuss the nature of cancer research, and attempt to find the truth. David Agus, Donald Abrams, Michele Norris, Niven R. Narain, Ralph Moss, Shimon Slavin are in conversation. Location: Paepcke Auditorium"
4:00 pm MDT E.J. Dionne & Molly Ball: Our Divided Political Heart     Watch On-Demand
E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Molly Ball discuss the divided heart of American politics, and the nature of partisanship in Washington. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
5:00 pm MDT Theater That Matters: Social Justice and Positive Change     Watch On-Demand
Theater producers, directors, and actors talk about social justice impact of theater that matters. Gregory Mosher, Oskar Eustis, Rocco Landesman, Anna Deavere Smith, Julie Taymor are in conversation. Location: Paepcke Auditorium"
7:00 pm MDT No Fracking Way: The Natural Gas Boom Is Doing More Harm Than Good     Watch On-Demand
Presented in partnership with The Aspen Ideas Festival
Natural gas, touted for its environmental, economic, and national security benefits, is often thought of as the fuel that will "bridge" our transition from oil and coal to renewables. The ability to extract natural gas from shale formations through a method called hydraulic fracturing has unleashed vast, untapped sources-by some estimates, the U.S. now sits on a 100-year supply. But contamination from toxic chemicals used in the fracking process has been the source of increasing health and environmental concerns. Can natural gas be part of a clean energy solution, or is it a dangerous roadblock to a fossil-free future?
1:15 pm MDT NBC News Education Nation: Can Character Be Taught?     Watch On-Demand
Andrea Mitchell, Dave Levin, Dominic Randolph, Paul Tough, Russell Shaw

Monday, July 2

8:00 am MDT Onyx CEO Cole: A Personal Story of Fighting Cancer     Watch On-Demand
Onyx CEO Anthony Coles talks about cancer research and shares his personal story of fighting cancer. Anthony Coles, Andrew Ross Sorkin. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
9:00 am MDT Tiger Mom Amy Chua & Others: The Goal of Parenting     Watch On-Demand
A panel of parents and education experts, including the "Tiger Mom", debate the role of parenting. Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen, Erika Christakis, Lori Gottlieb, Ellen Galinsky, Amy Chua are in discussion. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
10:30 am MDT Visualizing Information Creates New Ways of Learning     Watch On-Demand
Computer engineers and visual artists discuss how visualizing information creates new ways of learning. Edwin Schlossberg, James Powell, Mark Wigley are in conversation. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room"
12:00 pm MDT Lawrence Summers: Why America Will Remain Preeminent     Watch On-Demand
Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room

Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, Elliot Gerson
1:15 pm MDT McAfee, Vaitheeswaran & Cowen: Is U.S. Truly Innovative?     Watch On-Demand
McAfee, Vaitheeswaran, and Cowen ask whether the US is innovative. Andrew McAfee, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Tyler Cowen are in conversation."
2:40 pm MDT Marissa Mayer: How Does Google See and Map the World?     Watch On-Demand
Marissa Mayer discusses Google's mapping technology. She is in conversation with Vijay Vaitheeswaran. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
5:00 pm MDT Ideas for the Future: Work, Food, and Cities     Watch On-Demand
Multiple presenters discuss ideas for the future of work, food, and cities. Allison Carruth, Alexis Madrigal, Geoff Manaugh, Leila Janah, Nicola Twilley, Sarah Rich share their insight. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room"
2:40 pm MDT The Health Care Decision     Watch On-Demand
David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt is an economics columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. He recently won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary for his “graceful penetration of America’s complicated economic questions, from the federal budget deficit to health care reform.” Leonhardt founded the Times’s Economix blog in 2008, and an analytical sports column called Keeping Score in 2004. Before joining the Times in 1999, Leonhardt worked for Businessweek magazine and for the metro desk of The Washington Post. His 2008 story, “Obamanomics,” won the Gerald Loeb Award for magazine writing. Leonhardt appears frequently on public radio and television, and lectures at universities.

Ezekiel Emanuel

Ezekiel Emanuel is vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as special advisor for health policy to the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House and is the former chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. He has written or edited nine books and over 200 scientific articles and is a columnist for The New York Times.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress and counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Most recently, Tanden served as chief operating officer for the center. Tanden previously served as senior advisor for health reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services, advising Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and working on President Obama’s health care reform team to develop and pass the Affordable Care Act. Prior to that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals. Tanden served as policy director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and associate director for domestic policy and senior advisor to the first lady in the Clinton administration.

Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen is the Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University. He is the author of numerous books, including The New York Times best-selling The Great Stagnation and his most recent book An Economist Gets Lunch. He writes frequently for many publications including the Sunday Business section of The New York Times. The Economist magazine recently named him one of the most influential economists over the last decade, and in 2011, Bloomberg BusinessWeek dubbed him “America’s hottest economist.” Foreign Policy magazine named him one of its 100 Global Thinkers. The Wall Street Journal called Cowen’s Marginal Revolution the best economics blog in the world.
1:15 pm MDT NBC News Education Nation: Arts in Education     Watch On-Demand
In recent years, a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)-based curriculum and standard metrics has taken hold in schools across the country, but a growing chorus has argued that this focus is too limiting to foster an engaged and enlightened citizenry and a creative workforce. How can arts education best contribute to building the successful schools and minds we need? Are the arts key to creativity?

Tuesday, July 3

8:00 am MDT Ray LaHood: What Will Fuel the Automobile of the Future?     Watch On-Demand
Lisa P. Jackson and Ray LaHood discuss the future of automobile fuel and transportation energy. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
8:00 am MDT The Role of Public Media in a Democracy     Watch On-Demand
Gary Knell, President and CEO of NPR, discusses the role of public media in a democracy with Thomas Friedman. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room
9:00 am MDT Rubenstein & Zuckerman: A Reality Check on the US Economy     Watch On-Demand
David Rubenstein and Mortimer B. Zuckerman give a reality check to the U.S. economy. Location: Paepcke Auditorium
10:30 am MDT Women and the Struggle for Democracy     Watch On-Demand
Political leaders from around the world discuss women's global struggle for democracy. Laura Alonso, Steve Clemons, Amira Yahyaoui, Kah Walla are in discussion. Location: Paepcke Auditorium"
12:00 pm MDT The United States and Europe: The Drags on Global Growth     Watch On-Demand
Dr. Alan Greenspan discusses how the United States and Europe are drags on global economic growth. Greenspan is in conversation with David Leonhardt. Location: Doerr-Hosier, McNulty Room


About this conference

The Aspen Ideas Festival gather some of the most interesting thinkers and leaders from around the US and abroad to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. Presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, the Festival is unique in its dedication to dialogue and exchange, and in its commitment to bringing ideas to the public at large.

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 Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.

For more information, visit:

About Atlantic

Since 1857, The Atlantic has helped shape the national debate on the most critical and contentious issues of our times, from politics, business, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. Through in-depth analysis in the monthly print magazine, complemented by up-to-the-minute insights delivered throughout the day on, The Atlantic provides the nation’s thought leaders and professional class with forward-looking, fresh perspectives that provoke and challenge, define and affect the lives we’re living today, and give shape to the lives we will live tomorrow.

For more information, visit: