WINTER 2015/2016

ROSALYNN &
JIMMY CARTER
TAKING ON THE WORLD

IDEAS FEST 2015
OUR STAGE, YOUR IDEAS

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THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

1

CONTENTS

F E AT U R E S
54 | OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
What do you call kids who are optimistic, resilient, and
determined to beat the odds? Opportunity Youth. The Aspen
Forum for Community Solutions is equipping young people with
the training and education they need to get 21st-century jobs.
Last summer in Chicago, the Forum for Community Solutions
joined dozens of CEOs and corporate leaders to meet with over
4,000 Opportunity Youth and launch the 100,000 Opportunities
Initiative. Peter Walker Kaplan explains how young people
can reconnect with education—and step onto a clear pathway to
employment.
62 | OPEN MIC
Every year, the Aspen Ideas Festival hands the microphone to
experts in every field—from astrophysics to ballet, from the life
of the brain to the mysteries of the ocean. This year a Who’s
Who of intellectual life came to Aspen to tackle the planet’s
thorniest problems and teach thousands of attendees—and
many thousands more live-streaming visitors—more about
how to think about the world we live in.
80 | CIVILITY, LIBERTY, AND THE COMMON GOOD
The Seminars Program has been a touchstone of the Institute’s
work since its founding, when Walter Paepcke, Robert Maynard
Hutchins, and Mortimer Adler introduced the “Aspen Idea” to
encourage leaders to reflect on the values that motivate them.
Todd Breyfogle, Leonard Lauder, Henrietta Holsman
Fore, Rima Cohen, and Catherine Lutz explore the roots
of the Aspen seminar and the impact seminars continue to have
on leaders from around the world—and, recently, on high-school
students in the Roaring Fork Valley.

54

62

THE JOURNAL OF IDEAS
91 | HOW THE FLAG CAME DOWN
South Carolina State Senator Vincent Sheheen takes us into
the hot summer of 2015, when the country learned how a
Confederate flag gets removed from a statehouse. Here’s what
it took: the murder of nine innocent victims because they were
black. Confederate flag license plates on the killer’s car. The world
learning the killer wanted to start a race war.
97 | N E T L E S S I N T H E G I G E CO N O M Y
These days, even if you’re doing well, you’re on a high wire
without a net. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia looks at the
nation’s latest economic challenge: call it the “1099 economy.”
It may work for many workers—until the day it doesn’t.
99 | EDUCATION WON’T END INCOME INEQUALITY
It seems unlikely that either the demand for service workers
or their wages and working conditions will change as their
education levels increase. That’s why the Institute’s Economic
Opportunities Program Director Maureen Conway asks: In a
country that purports to value work, why we are so unwilling to
pay for it?
2

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

80
WINTER 2015/2016

ROSALYNN &
JIMMY CARTER
TAKING ON THE WORLD

IDEAS FEST 2015
OUR STAGE, YOUR IDEAS

MELODY BARNES &
OPPORTUNITY YOUTH
AMERICA'S UNTAPPED RESOURCE

ASPEN SEMINARS
TEACHING LEADERS
HOW TO THINK

ON THE COVER
Teens from the Aspen Forum for
Community Solution’s programs for
“Opportunity Youth.”

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CONTENTS
10

13

32

44

106

110

DEPARTMENTS
10 | W H AT I S T H E I N ST I T U T E ?
13 | A R O U N D T H E I N ST I T U T E
The Institute announces its new artists-in-residence, we travel to
Omaha with Warren Buffett, Aspen Words hosts a new season of
writers, the Institute launches the Stevens Initiative in honor of
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and much more.
32 | L E A D I N G VO I C E S
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter talk about
world events, mental health, and the secret to a great marriage;
James Comey tells the Aspen Security Forum about what keeps
him up at night; and Lynda Resnick demonstrates how a private
company can be on the cutting edge of health and wellness.
44 | I M PAC T
The Institute’s Franklin Project began when General Stanley
McChrystal called for a national service year. Now programs around
the country are answering that call. Kevin Easterly looks at service in
Baltimore, Paula Gavin takes on the service year in New York City,
and Margo Drakos finds a way for artists to give back. Gretchen
Susi explains how the Baltimore Aspen Workgroup coalesced
around a public-engagement strategy after a turbulent spring. And
the Institute’s Energy and Environment Director David Monsma
explains how Aspen’s Clean Energy Innovation Forum influenced
President Obama.

4

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

10 0 | FAC E S

Behind the scenes at Institute events.
10 6 | I N T E R N AT I O N A L PA R T N E R S
The Institute’s European partners examine the
Syrian refugee crisis; India hosts its own Ideas
Festival; Germany honors Leonard Lauder.
110 | FAC TS

Get to know the Institute’s programs.
12 0 | O U R S U P P O R T E R S
The Bezos Family Foundation launches the Stevens
Initiative; the Lauder Foundation supports the
Institute’s international programs; Jerry and Gina
Murdock establish a new scholars fund; David
Rubenstein gives to the Aspen Global Leadership
Network; the Resnick Foundation supports the
Aspen Action Forum.
12 5 | CO N N E C T W I T H U S

Contact our program directors; get in touch
on social media.
12 8 | L A ST PAG E
A look back at the 1999 Catto Conference on
Journalism and Society, with a surprise participant.

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

5

CONTENTS

THE INSTITUTE’S DIGITAL HIGHLIGHTS
Beyond the pages of The Aspen Idea magazine, the Institute features news, blogs, video,
audio, and social-media content every day. Here is a sample of what you can find online.
Jonathan Capehart

THE ASPEN

Check out our photos and pin
favorites to your board! Moments
captured include onstage
conversations with noteworthy
speakers, backstage moments at
the Aspen Ideas Festival, and
shots from the Institute archives.

IDEABLOG

Please Stop Telling Young
People They are the Future If we
are going to do anything worthwhile as
a global community, we must prepare
a generation of young people with the
skills and commitments to be audacious
problem-solvers.
aspeninstitute.org/blog/
stop-telling-young-people

INSTAGRAM
A look behind the curtain—from
office happenings to prepping
the stage for a big event—on our
Instagram account.

WHAT'S ON
TWITTER?

FACEBOOK

@ASPENINSTITUTE

“This we can’t let die, the idea of
a government dependent on the
people—not the rich or the poor.”
—Harvard Law professor and
presidential candidate Lawrence
Lessig at the Aspen Ideas Festival

Racism in America? “The solution
requires trust.” @capehartj on
race, the Confederate flag,
the future. #AspenIdeas

@ASPENINSTITUTE
Why the world needs women in
governance #UNGA #SDGs

Dan Bayer

PINTEREST

5 Things All Voters Should
Know about Combating
Economic Short-Termism To the
public, short-termism is a new foil for
economic reform. Here are five things
every voter (and policymaker) should
know about combating capital markets’
short-termism. aspeninstitute.org/blog/
combating-short-termism

THE ASPEN JOURNAL OF IDEAS
The Myth of Being “Bad at Math”
Advances in neuroscience are revolutionizing our approach to education, and they
have particularly weighty implications for the way we teach math. They challenge
our basic assumptions about the subject, some of which have discouraged a lot of
students from sticking with it. aspen.us/journal/myth-being-“bad-math”

Valerie Jarrett in Conversation with Walter Isaacson

The Genius of Jazz

Marsalis and Batiste

Internationally acclaimed musician Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste, the new
band leader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” tell us what makes jazz
so special. as.pn/geniusofjazz

6

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Aslan

Dan Bayer

Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic
figures by examining Jesus within the context of the times in which he lived:
the age of zealotry. as.pn/rezajesus

Jarrett

Riccardo Savi

The Jesus of History versus the Christ of Faith

Riccardo Savi

The Aspen Ideas Festival’s signature event, the Afternoon of Conversation,
hosts an audience of more than 2,000 in the Benedict Music Tent.
as.pn/afternoonjarrett

With so many worthy philanthropic choices available
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is truly

STANDING APART FROM THE HERD
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is dedicated
to encouraging philanthropic support
for the current and future needs of Aspen Valley Hospital.

FOR GIVING OPPORTUNITIES, CONTACT

Deborah Breen, President and CEO

970 544 1302

aspenhospital.org/foundation
THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

7

WALTER ISAACSON
President and Chief Executive Officer
ELLIOT F. GERSON
Executive Vice President, Policy and Public Programs;
International Partners
NAMITA KHASAT
Executive Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services;
Chief Financial Officer; Corporate Treasurer
AMY MARGERUM BERG
Executive Vice President, Development and Operations;
Corporate Secretary
PETER REILING
Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs;
Executive Director, Henry Crown Fellowship Program
RAJIV VINNAKOTA
Executive Vice President, Youth & Engagement Initiative
CINDY BUNISKI
Vice President, Administration; Executive Director, Aspen Wye Campus
DOLORES GORGONE
Vice President, Finance and Information Technology;
Chief Financial Officer (through April 2016)
JAMES M. SPIEGELMAN
Vice President, Chief External Affairs Officer;
Deputy to the President

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Corby Kummer
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sacha Zimmerman
MANAGING EDITOR Eric Christensen
EDITOR EMERITUS Jamie Miller
PUBLISHER Jennifer Myers
SENIOR EDITORS Jean Morra, Tarek Rizk
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Philip Javellana
ASSISTANT EDITORS Arica VanBoxtel, Keosha Varela
DESIGN DIRECTOR Katie Kissane-Viola
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Paul Viola
ART DIRECTOR Lorie D'Alessio
CONTACT EDITORIAL aspen.idea@aspeninstitute.org
ADVERTISING Cynthia Cameron, 970.544.3453,
adsales@aspeninstitute.org
GENERAL The Aspen Institute,
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
202.736.5800, www.aspeninstitute.org

BOARD OF TRUSTEES CHAIRMAN: Robert K. Steel
BOARD OF TRUSTEES VICE CHAIRMAN: James S. Crown
BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Madeleine K. Albright, Paul F. Anderson, Mercedes T. Bass, Miguel Bezos, Richard S. Braddock, Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak,
William D. Budinger, Stephen L. Carter, Cesar Conde, Katie Couric, Andrea Cunningham, Kenneth L. Davis, John Doerr, Thelma Duggin, Michael D.
Eisner, L. Brooks Entwistle, Alan Fletcher, Corinne Flick, Henrietta Holsman Fore, Ann B. Friedman, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Henry Louis Gates Jr.,
Mircea Geoana, David Gergen, Gerald Greenwald, Patrick W. Gross, Arjun Gupta, Jane Harman, Hayne Hipp, Mark Hoplamazian, Gerald D. Hosier,
Ann Frasher Hudson, Robert J. Hurst, Salman Khan, Teisuke Kitayama, Michael Klein, David H. Koch, Laura Lauder, Yo-Yo Ma, Frederic V. Malek,
James M. Manyika, William E. Mayer*, Bonnie Palmer McCloskey, David McCormick, Anne Welsh McNulty, Diane Morris, Karlheinz Muhr, Clare Muñana,
Jerry Murdock, Marc Nathanson, William A. Nitze, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Jacqueline Novogratz, Olara A. Otunnu, Elaine Pagels, Margot L. Pritzker,
Peter A. Reiling, Lynda Resnick, Condoleezza Rice, James Rogers, Ricardo Salinas, Isaac O. Shongwe, Anna Deavere Smith, Michelle Smith,
Javier Solana, Shashi Tharoor**, Laurie M. Tisch, Giulio Tremonti, Roderick K. von Lipsey, Vin Weber, Michael Zantovsky
*Chairman Emeritus **On Leave of Absence

LIFETIME TRUSTEES CO-CHAIRMEN: Berl Bernhard*, James C. Calaway
LIFETIME TRUSTEES: Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Keith Berwick, John Brademas, William T. Coleman, Jr., Lester Crown,
William H. Donaldson, Sylvia A. Earle, James L. Ferguson, Richard N. Gardner, Alma L. Gildenhorn, Jacqueline Grapin,
Irvine O. Hockaday Jr., Nina Rodale Houghton, Jérôme Huret, William N. Joy, Henry A. Kissinger, Ann Korologos*,
Leonard A. Lauder*, Robert H. Malott, Olivier Mellerio, Eleanor Merrill, Elinor Bunin Munroe, Sandra Day O’Connor, Hisashi Owada,
Thomas R. Pickering, Charles Powell, Jay Sandrich, Lloyd G. Schermer, Carlo Scognamiglio, Albert H. Small, Andrew L. Stern, Paul A. Volcker,
Leslie H. Wexner, Frederick B. Whittemore, Alice Young
*Chairman Emeritus
The Aspen Idea is published twice a year by the ­A spen Institute and distributed to Institute ­constituents, friends, and supporters.
To receive a copy, call (202) 736-5800. Postmaster: Please send address changes to The Aspen Institute ­Communications Department, Ste. 700,
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The opinions and statements expressed by the authors and contributors to this publication do not necessarily reflect opinions or positions
of the Aspen Institute, which is a nonpartisan forum. All rights reserved. No material in this publication may be published or copied without the
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8

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Great

leaders strive
to create

a

better place to live.
A great realtor

does much the same.

Carrie Wells
VISION, INNOVATION, LONGEVITY.
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carrie@carriewells.com
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Dan Bayer

WHAT IS THE ASPEN INSTITUTE?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization
headquartered 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 has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has
an international network of partners.
10

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

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AROUND THE INSTITUTE
JR

Carpenter

PUBLIC ARTISTS
The Arts Program welcomed three artists-in-residence for
2015—Cameron Carpenter, JR, and Goldie Hawn—whose
work straddles the creative spectrum. Hawn, an Academy
Award-winning actress, is a familiar face at the Institute, and
her lunchtime conversation with Michael Eisner at the Aspen
Ideas Festival spanned Laugh-In to mindfulness. Carpenter,
a groundbreaking classical organist who looks like a cross
between Liberace and Sid Vicious, described the organ as an
“algebraic experiment box” that is “steeped in science” and
more complicated than a clock. He also assessed the state
of the arts in America as “an increasingly quiet emergency.”
JR, a French photographer, filmmaker, and activist, brought
his Inside Out photo-booth truck to Aspen. Inside Out, a
global participatory art venture, offers people the chance
to have their portraits taken and pasted up in support of
an idea, a project, or an action. It turns personal stories and
messages of identity into works of public art. All three artists
Dan Bayer

will be integral participants in the work of the Institute’s Arts
Program. aspeninstitute.org/arts

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

13

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

“A NATION OF BECOMING”
In August, as part of the Aspen Institute’s 22nd Annual
Summer Celebration, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns
was awarded the 2015 Public Service Award. Prior to
the benefit dinner, Burns sat down for a discussion with
Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. Together, the
pair discussed storytelling, the patterns and progress of
American history, and what it means to be American.
“None of us are getting out of this alive,” Burns said. “The
way we distract ourselves is we tell ourselves stories. And we
achieve immortality in the way we talk about ourselves, both
at a very personal level … and at national and global” levels.
Although narrative histories fell out of fashion after World
War II, Burns still prefers them. “At the end of the day,” Burns
said, “telling a story … can contain all of those multiple views,
and they can coexist.”
Burns also stressed the importance of remembering
that these stories can often devolve into dangerous
oversimplifications. He noted that American history is
“something to celebrate, but understand it comes with a

huge amount of undertow, a huge amount of riptide that
will, if you succumb to it, pull you out to sea if you are going
to just make love to exceptionalism all your life.” Instead, he
urged everyone to appreciate the complexity and subtlety
of history. Our stories should be “nuanced and not just onedimensional, and in that is our salvation.” But we will never
experience this salvation or resonance if we do not study
history: “If we don’t talk about it, we don’t know about it.”
Not only will studying history improve our knowledge, it will
also reduce partisanship. “History is the table around which
we can still have a civil discourse,” he said. “Rachel Maddow
and Bill O’Reilly love Abraham Lincoln sincerely. And that’s
a place to begin.”
Finally, Isaacson and Burns discussed what it means to
be distinctly American. For Burns, it comes down to the
notion of “improv.” Whether it’s operating under the world’s
shortest constitution, or developing jazz, to Burns, America
is “a nation becoming,” forever learning, forever in the pursuit
of happiness. aspeninstitute.org/video/burns

Emily Chaplin

Burns

14

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Courtesy of the State Department

Stephanie Buck

Papp

Kempner and Kristof

10 YEARS OF
WYE FELLOWS

KRISTOF ON SELLING
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT
“The best three-letter weapon against poverty is not spelled A-I-D but J-O-B,” writes Pulitzer
Prize-winner Nicholas Kristof in his new book, A Path Appears. The Aspen Network of
Development Entrepreneurs agrees. At its annual convening, held in Tarrytown, New York, more
than 230 ANDE members listened to Executive Director Randall Kempner interview Kristof in
a fireside chat focused on how job creation can address global issues alongside traditional
development aid. The discussion included Kristof’s thoughts on the role corporations can play
in addressing critical international challenges. Kristof referred, for instance, to how Coca-Cola
might leverage its supply chain in remote regions like South Sudan to carry products that
improve livelihoods. He also discussed the critical way unconscious bias affects the way we
see the world, including how companies hire and promote talent, and do—or do not—address
racial and gender bias. Perhaps most enlightening was Kristof’s perspective on the power
that storytelling can have on “unsexy” but crucial global-development issues. He urged the
audience to push the media to do better. He said that ANDE, and ANDE members, must shine
a light on economic-development topics that aren’t sexy by articulating passionate human
stories that capture the imagination. andeglobal.org

50 YEARS OF HEAD START
Over the last fifty years, the nation has experienced dramatic societal changes. But one
American vision remains strong: Project Head Start, the federal government’s original twogeneration initiative. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Project Head Start in May, the
Institute’s Ascend program brought a circle of creative leaders together for a strategic
forum that, like Head Start, focused on the needs of children and parents together. “Smart
Starts for Children and Families: Building Upon Early Learning Innovations” included
leaders from the White House and the US Department of Health and Human Services, and
it explored innovations and opportunities anchored in the values of Head Start. Themes
highlighted included the needs of 21st-century families, brain-science advances, fathers’
roles, Head Start pioneers, and community innovations. aspeninstitute.org/ascend

The Aspen Wye Fellows, part
of the Institute’s Wye River
campus, opened its tenth
season on September 21 with
a dialogue on “The Challenges
of a Changing Arctic” with
Admiral (ret.) Robert J. Papp
Jr., State Department special
representative for the Arctic.
Papp met with about 100 Wye
Fellows to talk about why
the Arctic’s melting icepack
is the last global frontier—
with enormous geostrategic,
economic, and climatic
implications. This season Wye
Fellows will also meet with
Michael Morell, former acting
director of the CIA, about
“The Great War of Our Time”;
Nina Khrushcheva, associate
dean at the New School, on “A
Unique Perspective: US Policy
on Putin’s Russia”; Admiral
(ret.) Mike Mullen, former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, on “America’s Changing
Defense Posture”; and Lisa
Mensah, undersecretary
of agriculture for rural
development, on “Challenges
to the Economic Well-Being
of Rural America.” To join the
Aspen Wye Fellows, contact
Judy Price at 410-820-5432 or
judy.price@aspeninstitute.org.

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

15

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

At the Aspen Strategy Group’s annual Summer Workshop in
August, foreign policy experts gathered to evaluate America’s
response to radicalism in the Middle East. During the meeting,
it was clear that policymakers can no longer ignore the
Miliband and Douglas Alexander

humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria, which has seen
half its population displaced in the brutal ongoing civil war
between the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State,
and various rebel groups. Britain’s former Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs David Miliband, currently president of
the International Rescue Committee, outlined the severity
of the crisis: twelve million Syrians inside the country are
in humanitarian need, 80 percent of Syrians are below the
poverty line, and more than 200,000 people have been
killed in the war over the past four years. He labeled it a
catastrophe of “almost biblical proportions,” underscored
the need for partnerships in providing humanitarian aid, and
urged participants to recognize the refugee crisis as a longterm problem. He also provided a window into the challenges
refugees—especially children—face when they escape Syria.
Miliband warned that refugee children could become a lost
generation who will lack opportunities once the war ends and
are thus susceptible to radicalization. To learn more about
the work of the International Rescue Committee, please visit
rescue.org. For more on the Aspen Strategy Group’s Summer
Workshop, go to: aspeninstitute.org/asg

Hal Williams

SYRIA: REFUGEES AND RADICALS

12 million Syrians inside the country are in
humanitarian need, 80 percent of Syrians are below
the poverty line, and more than 200,000 people
have been killed in the war over the past four years.

Employment as we know it is fading away. Some jobs are
sliced into “micro-tasks,” and many employees are being
replaced by independent contractors. The on-demand or
sharing economy is exploding. Low- and moderate-income
workers are at risk of being left behind. On September 10,
2015, the Economic Opportunities Program hosted a panel in
Washington to discuss these phenomena. “The 1099 Economy:
Exploring a New Social Contract for Employers, Employees,
and Society” was part of the program’s Working in America
series. Panelists included Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia; Saket
Soni, director of the National Guest Worker Alliance and
New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice; and David
Williams, chief tax officer at Intuit Inc. Led by moderator Yuki
Noguchi, national correspondent for NPR, they explored the
1099 economy and the implications for workers trying to earn
a living. “Virtually no one else in Washington is talking about
it yet,” said Sen. Warner. “There’s this moment, if we can get
it before it gets polarized, where we can be ahead on the
policy areas.” (See “Netless in the Gig Economy,” on page 95.)
as.pn/1099

16

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Patrice Gilbert

THE 1099 ECONOMY

Warner

The delegation in Cuba

Courtney Spence

THE NEW CUBA
In June, the Institute’s Global Alliances Program
and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement
co-led a Partnership Opportunity Delegation to
Cuba. Nearly two dozen young American social
entrepreneurs, impact investors, and philanthropists
spent a week in conversations focused on food
production, water distribution, alternative energy,
and waste management, with the goal of improving
understanding between Cubans and Americans.
The group met with political and community
leaders, local farmers, and academics including
Rafael Betancourt, economist and professor at the
University of Havana. He talked about Cuba’s recent
economic history, including its rising privatization,
growing co-op movement, increasing autonomy
among state-owned enterprises, and Raul Castro’s
“Roadmap to Reform.” Cubans have real enthusiasm
about the possibility of closer relations with the
United States, and this trip was an important step
in that direction. aspeninstitute.org/globalalliances

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
In an effort to reach younger leaders and bring their voices into our events and programs, the Institute is creating a new
division: “Youth and Engagement.” Heading up this effort will be Rajiv Vinnakota, co-founder and CEO of the SEED School and
Foundation, a nonprofit that manages the nation’s first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved
children. Vinnakota will create initiatives to bring leadership programs to youth across the country. aspeninstitute.org/youth

Renton Technical College

STEM JOBS FOR ALL
The path to a career in science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM) is wider than many realize. Half of all
STEM jobs require less than a four-year degree—often an
associate’s degree—and pay an average of $53,000 annually.
While many STEM careers require bachelor’s and graduate
degrees, the high-quality community-college programs
preparing students for middle-skill STEM jobs are often
overlooked. In an effort to raise the profile of STEM jobs and
these community-college programs, the Institute’s College
Excellence Program and the Siemens Foundation partnered
to launch the Siemens Technical Scholars Program. At an
Institute event in October, the partners announced the
twenty-nine inaugural scholars, who will each receive $3,500
to $10,000 to continue their education or repay existing
student debt. The event highlighted the accomplishments
of ten community colleges achieving excellent outcomes,
advancing social mobility, and supporting regional economic
growth. Another fifty-one scholars will receive awards in
2016. aspeninstitute.org/collegeexcellence

THE ASPEN IDEA

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2015/2016

17

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

XTREME
DRAMA

Liukin

This past summer, Gregory
Mosher, acclaimed theater
director, producer, and
Columbia University
professor, brought Antigone
to what he called “some of
the most stressed places on
the planet,” where many of
the difficulties Sophocles
pondered in 442 BC are
being lived out today.
Traveling to Kenya and South
Africa, Mosher’s Antigone
in the World eschewed
the stage to instead offer
USTA/Andrew Ong

free performances in such
unconventional locations
as a girl’s school in Kibera,
one of the world’s largest
slums, and a correctional
facility in Johannesburg—
“performing,” Mosher said
at the Aspen Ideas Festival,
“in a bare space with only
Sophocles’s ideas.” The cast
of young, ethnically diverse
actors was led by Phumzile
Sitole, a South African
native and current Columbia
student. Mosher’s cast
rejoined the Arts Program
for its first fall event, Theater
in Extremis. “Antigone in
the World had many goals,”
Mosher said. “Could a group
of committed, skilled actors
create living drama with
only a story, a space, and a
willing audience? Could we
eliminate almost everything
we associate with going to
the theater—tickets, sets,
formal seating, a concept,
and program notes—and still
have theater? It turned out
we could.” aspeninstitute.
org/arts

18

THE ASPEN IDEA

PLAYING THE FIELD
Olympic champion gymnast Nastia Liukin is known for her prowess in one sport. Less known
is that she also played tennis as a child, an activity that offered a psychological and physical
break from her training. “Try all different sports,” she told a group of children at the US Open
tennis tournament, part of a two-day series of events that included a pair of roundtables from
the Institute’s Sports & Society Program. The roundtables convened leaders from national
governing bodies of sports, professional leagues, major sports media, and nonprofits to
explore opportunities to encourage “sport sampling” among children as outlined in the Project
Play report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. At a press
event, Liukin, boxing champion Laila Ali, and New York Rangers captain and Olympian Ryan
McDonagh shared stories of how being multi-sport athletes shaped them as people, gave
them a love of sport, and helped them become successful at the most elite level.
The roundtables and press event were motivated by an increasingly troubling trend: Youth
(ages twelve and under) are specializing in one sport at the exclusion of other activities,
resulting in high rates of overuse injuries and a decline in the community-based teams that
keep sport affordable and accessible for all. Early, single-sport specialization has emerged
with the “Outlier theory,” which suggests that high doses of deliberate practice in an activity
creates mastery. However, research shows that elite performance can be achieved with far
fewer hours in one activity, and engagement in other sports can develop transferable skills.
Research also shows that sport sampling leads to less burnout, less social isolation, and better
performance.
It’s not all about elite performance, though. The same research suggests that sport sampling
results in more lifelong enjoyment in sports. After all, experiencing many sports gives children
a chance to find where they fit. McDonagh underscored this point, remembering fondly the
variety of friends he met by playing different sports at different times of the year. He finished
by recommending that children try a lot of sports: “You might fall in love with something you
wouldn’t expect.” We can get behind that. aspeninstitute.org/sports

WINTER 2015/2016

Samuelsson

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Erin Baiano

On the heels of opening Streetbird Rotisserie—Marcus
Samuelsson’s latest culinary addition to Harlem—
Samuelsson joined the Aspen Leadership Series:
Conversations with Great Leaders to talk about the
role values have played in his thinking about food and
community. Speaking with The Aspen Idea’s Corby
Kummer, Samuelsson spoke about food’s celebration of
place, culture, and history. Using Southern cuisine as an
example, much of it brought to the United States from
Africa, he discussed how food can connect diverse regions
and act as living history. Food can bridge a community to
its past—and revel in its present. An enthusiastic audience
tasted the celebratory effects of food, enjoying culinary
treats from Red Rooster, Samuelsson’s landmark Harlem
restaurant. The Aspen Leadership Series, the Institute’s
signature New York City speaker series, is made possible by
generous support from the Tisch family: Laurie, Steven and
Lizzie, and Jonathan Tisch; as well as the Laurie M. Tisch
Illumination Fund. The 2015 season also featured New York
Times columnist Nicholas Kristof with PBS NewsHour’s
Hari Sreenivasan, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith
Rodin with the Institute’s Elliot Gerson, and General
(ret.) Wesley Clark with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter.
aspeninstitute.org/events/leadership-series

Dan Bayer

“HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF INSECURITY”
“A great man disguised as an ordinary guy”—this is how Institute
CEO Walter Isaacson introduced Aspen Words’ Summer Soirée
presenter, Garrison Keillor, who entertained and enlightened
the audience with an anything-but-ordinary evening in June.
The author, storyteller, and radio host opened with a series of
anecdotes that spoke to the challenges and joys of the writing
life, and the importance of family and rootedness. He advised
writers to let go of any ego. “To have a strong sense of insecurity,
incapability, or even inferiority is a powerful engine for a creative
person, and it pushes you forward.”
Keillor described his own journey as a young writer from the
creative hub of Manhattan, where he was a New Yorker staff
writer, back to his home state of Minnesota. In New York, “you
were completely separated from your own material, and you
were lost in this little island of privilege.” Back in the Midwest,
surrounded by family and the subjects he wanted to write
about, Keillor created A Prairie Home Companion, his live radio
variety show. A Prairie Home Companion has since run for 40plus years, with four million listeners each week. Shortly after
his Aspen Words appearance, Keillor announced that he would
retire from the show in 2016. Indeed, at the Summer Soirée,
there were moments of nostalgia from a long career as one of
America’s preeminent storytellers: “You get to be my age and
you look back in your history and you see all these turns that
you didn’t notice before that brought you to this point. Some
terrible luck, some good, but you have to be grateful for all of it.”
aspenwords.org

Keillor

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19

David Kong/Khan Academy

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

HISTORY. VIRTUALLY.
AspenX is a high-tech, high-touch Institute program for
teenagers that works to connect place-based convening with
virtual learning on Khan Academy, one of the largest online
learning platforms. Hundreds of thousands of students have
participated. The Institute first produced lesson sets about
the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution, and the
Declaration of Independence. In April 2015, twenty students
participated in a seminar at the National Constitution Center
in Philadelphia, where they rewrote the Fourth Amendment,
with Independence Hall in the background. All of the students
watched online Khan Academy lessons with Instituteproduced videos featuring US Supreme Court Justices

Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US
Constitution, civil liberties, and privacy. Lessons also featured
moderators Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National
Constitution Center, and former Acting Solicitor-General Neal
Katyal. In October 2015, students from sixteen high schools
in the San Francisco Bay area discussed American diplomacy,
moderated by former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy
and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine. They also used the
Toolbox for American Diplomacy, video lessons the Institute
developed featuring Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright
and Gen. Colin Powell, Brookings Institution President Strobe
Talbott, Harvard Professor Joe Nye, and former Senior
Advisor for Innovation at the State Department Alec Ross.
aspenx.org

Recent events in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, and throughout communities in the
United States have brought issues of race and equality to the forefront of public discourse.
This summer in Aspen, a group of eighteen emerging leaders from across the country
gathered for the Socrates Summer Seminar to discuss issues of race, culture, and identity:
break down stereotypes: reframe issues of power: and dive into the narratives that shape
many of the challenges plaguing our society. Moderated by Susan Sturm and Lani Gunier,
the group navigated readings, personal anecdotes, and experiences to find opportunities
for action-oriented solutions for greater equality. The group examined concrete examples
of efforts to build trust and address racial tensions, frustrations, and fear. They also forged
lifelong friendships as they stripped down their preconceptions and tackled the issues head
on. After the summer seminar, parts of the group gathered in New York and Washington to
continue the conversation. aspeninstitute.org/socrates

20

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Leigh Vogel

TALKING ABOUT RACE

Watered Down Americans undervalue water. But with climate change,

population growth, new contaminants, and under-financed and degraded water systems, water
crises are only expected to rise. To address the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades and
leadership in US water systems, the Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum brings together water experts
to tackle the nation’s myriad water challenges. The annual forum is convened by the Institute’s
Energy and Environment Program and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental
Policy Solutions; the 2015 forum focused on how big data could be leveraged to improve the
management and delivery of water for a more sustainable future. aspeninstitute.org/ee

79%

of US-based companies
face water challenges in their
operations and supply chains,
whether from insufficient
water availability or
contaminated supply.

A typical coal plant
consumes one to

4

84%

predict they will face such
challenges in the next five years.

BILLION
GALLONS

of water per year.
There is an annual funding
shortfall of $11 billion to
replace water pipes that have
exceeded their useful life.

The energy
in wastewater
contains

10x

Leaking pipes lose
approximately 18%
of water that has
already been stored,
transferred, pumped,
and treated.

the energy needed
to treat the water,
The American Society
and could generof Civil Engineers gave
ate, rather than
consume, energy.
water infrastructure
across the country a
Only about 5% of
D+ grade.
global wastewater
is reused.

D+

Thermoelectric power,
which produces most of the
nation’s electricity, accounts
for approximately 49% of
the water withdrawn in
the United States each year.
THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

21

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

All Photos: Max Taylor Photography

Colin Powell and Walter Isaacson

ASPEN INSIDE THE BELTWAY
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2015 WASHINGTON IDEAS FORUM

22

“Why does everything become so partisan in Washington, DC?”

Foreign policy took center stage during many conversations.

asked former Secretary of State General (ret.) Colin Powell

The White House’s Ben Rhodes told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey

during a conversation with Institute CEO Walter Isaacson. It

Goldberg that in the Middle East “there are no military-

was a common refrain at the seventh annual Washington Ideas

imposed solutions on these problems.” Journalist Theo Padnos

Forum, a partnership between the Institute and The Atlantic

agreed: “The bombs that we drop spread the hatred.” Padnos

that brings together preeminent policymakers, leaders, and

also spoke about being held captive by terrorists, telling the

journalists to discuss the state of the globe and try to find

audience about the torture he endured, and how violence is

common ground in today’s gridlocked political climate.

used as “an initiation ceremony that deepens the commitment,

Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Secretary of

especially for children.”

State Madeleine Albright both spoke about the importance

Finally, Senators Mark Lee and Cory Booker provided a

of putting oneself in the shoes of someone else—whether to

rare example of bipartisanship. The pair spoke about passing

address community policing or to implement a successful

a criminal justice reform bill; Lee said there are many issues

foreign policy.

where Democrats and Republicans share common ground, and

Still, some topics seemed intractable. Hot-button issues like

by focusing on those areas, legislators will gain the confidence

the defunding of Planned Parenthood were debated from both

to tackle tougher issues like Social Security and immigration.

sides of the aisle, by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and

As Booker said, “We need to let go of the politics and get back

Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

to governing.” aspeninstitute.org/WIF2015

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Theo Padnos
and his cousin,
Amy Rosen

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Senators Mike Lee and
Cory Booker talk to
ABC’s Jonathan Karl

Opal Tometi,
co-founder of
#BlackLivesMatter

Senator
Tom Cotton

Mitt Romney speaks to The Atlantic’s James Bennet

Valerie Jarrett,
senior adviser to
the president

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

23

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

More than fifty Institute trustees, members of the Society of
Fellows, and other supporters traveled to Omaha, Nebraska,
for a unique Aspen Across America visit. An afternoon panel
looked at “50 Years After Head Start: Making an Investment
in Early Childhood Education in America,” hosted at the
University of Nebraska in partnership with the Buffett Early
Childhood Institute. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval
Patrick and scholar Dr. Samuel Meisels joined Jackie Bezos,
George Kaiser, and JB Pritzker—three of the nation’s leading
philanthropists in the field of early childhood development—
in a conversation for an audience of 500 educators and
community members. Afterward, guests gathered for an
intimate dinner with investor and philanthropist Warren
Buffett. Carlyle Group Founder David Rubenstein
interviewed Buffett about “Life Lessons: Investments of a
Lifetime.” aspeninstitute.org/aaa

Amy Margerum Berg,
Warren Buffett, Gilchrist Berg

Iris Kewin

BUFFETT WITH ASPEN IN OMAHA

American families are facing a retirement crisis: the average
US household has just $3,000 saved for retirement, nearly
one-third of all Americans report they have no retirement
savings or pension at all, and just 53 percent of employees
have access to a savings plan at work. That’s why, with
gridlock prevailing federally, states like California are
innovating new savings options for their citizens.

Chiang

24

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

California’s proposal, “Secure Choice,” would require
employers who don’t currently offer a retirement plan to
automatically enroll their workers in a tax-preferred account,
similar to an IRA. But before pulling the trigger on such an
ambitious plan, the state legislature asked a Board to conduct
a feasibility study. The California Secure Choice Investment
Board is tackling complicated implementation questions
about how to ensure the greatest possible participation,
how much should workers set aside, what investment
choices should be offered, and how to limit burdens on small
businesses.
Enter the Institute’s Financial Security Program, which
convened a who’s who of behavioral economists and
retirement security experts to help the Board think through
these questions during a briefing in Sacramento on September
28. “California is blazing a trail to improve retirement security
across the nation,” says California Senate President pro
tempore Kevin de León, a former Aspen-Rodel Fellow. “So it
was extremely valuable for our board to hear from experts to
help guide their deliberation.” California State Treasurer John
Chiang, also a former Aspen-Rodel Fellow, agreed: “If we get
this right, it could be a model for the rest of the country.”
The briefing was part of a new chapter in the Financial
Security Program’s quest to increase family savings—
especially for low- and moderate-income households. The
program has a new name (it was originally the Initiative on
Financial Security), a new logo, and now a new specialty:
guiding state policymakers through the myriad decisions
required to bring state-level retirement initiatives to fruition.
aspeninstitute.org/fsp

Aubree Dallas

HOW TO SAVE RETIREMENT

Dan Bayer

John Simpkins,
Michelle Mapp, Mikee
Johnson, Vincent
Sheheen, and
Suzanne Malveaux

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
For three years, the Aspen Action Forum—thanks to major
sponsors Lynda and Stewart Resnick—has motivated
entrepreneurial leaders from around the world to tackle the
most challenging global issues. This year, more than 350
Fellows from the Aspen Global Leadership Network and
other carefully selected leaders came to Aspen to connect
and to commit to take action.
Several powerful examples of collaborative leadership, the
theme of the 2015 convening, showed the impact of leaders
who share their time, talents, and resources. The Action
Forum kicked off with a discussion of B Corps, a movement
led by three Henry Crown Fellows to change the way business
operates in society. (See “Being the Best for the World,” on

page 28.) Later, with the tragedy in Charleston still fresh in
the news, leaders from South Carolina—and members of the
Liberty Fellowship—led a powerful discussion on race, justice,
and the collective action that eighty Fellows took to remove
the Confederate flag from the state’s Capitol grounds. “It was
important that we use this moment for any good that could
come out of it,” said Liberty Fellow and South Carolina State
Senator Vincent Sheheen during the panel—one of the most
stirring of the week. (See “How the Flag Came Down,” on
page 91.)
The next Action Forum is July 18–22, 2016. Registration
opens January 26, 2016. Contact Tom Loper at tom.loper@
aspeninstitute.org for more details. aspenactionforum.org

WAITING FOR GODOT IN NEW ORLEANS
One evening in November 2007, at the intersection of Roman and Forstall Streets in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans,
hundreds of people gathered at an empty crossroads made desolate by Hurricane Katrina. They were eating gumbo, praying,
listening to a second-line band—and watching a performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. According to actor
Wendell Pierce, the play, “like some kind of miracle, said everything that could be said about what it was like to live through
the endless nightmare of our post-Katrina city.” Pierce, best known for his work on HBO’s The Wire, describes the experience
in his 2015 memoir, The Wind in the Reeds, which he discussed with Damian Woetzel at Harlem’s Studio Museum as part of
the Institute’s Arts Program event Theater in Extremis. Performing Godot at Roman and Forstall gave Pierce a glimpse of “the
power of art … to galvanize us, to renew, redeem, and rebuild our lives.” aspeninstitute.org/arts
THE ASPEN IDEA

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25

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

GETTING LATINO STORIES RIGHT

Downtown El Paso

Andrew Poth

What do you think of when you think of El Paso, Texas? A dry wasteland? A backwater town sitting next to a
dangerous border? Think again. El Paso has been ranked the safest city with a population over 500,000 for four
years running. El Paso is among the most dynamic bicultural, bilingual regions of the country. And El Paso is a major
trading point for Mexico, America’s second-largest trade partner, with $10 billion in goods crossing the border
annually. Why does this matter? Because El Paso is a model of successful development built on the idea that an
educated Hispanic majority is actually an asset—one that entices call centers, financial services, and insurance
companies. The University of El Paso is churning out high numbers of Latino STEM graduates; the city has even
developed a medical center and research hub in order to employ them.
As part of a larger initiative to tell compelling stories that offer a more balanced understanding of America’s
Latinos, the Institute’s Latinos and Society program brought together twelve journalists—including from The
Washington Post, The Atlantic, and National Public Radio’s Marketplace—to tell the story of the Borderplex area in
wide-reaching, myth-busting reports. Next, Latinos and Society will be heading to Charlotte, North Carolina, to look
at how immigration is changing the identity of the South.
aspeninstitute.org/latinos

Slaughter

26

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Anne-Marie Slaughter believes in leaders who value “the people
they love as much as the success they seek.” The current New
America Foundation president and CEO, former State Department
policy planning director, and Princeton professor emerita has
become a champion of work-life balance ever since her article “Why
Women Still Can’t Have It All” was published in The Atlantic to huge
acclaim (and debate) in 2012. This past February, a group of twentytwo emerging leaders explored the often-competing concepts of
competition and care, as Slaughter moderated the Socrates Winter
Seminar. Slaughter led the participants on a journey that cast new
light on the work-family divide, redefined masculinity, and steered
away from gendered norms and toward a new equality, in which
love and work hold equal importance. Slaughter expands on this
vision in her new book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work
Family, released in September. aspeninstitute.org/socrates

Dan Bayer

BALANCING ACT

Michael Brands

Babbitt

CHINA,
CLIMATE,
& ASPEN
In September, the China-US Track II
Dialogue on Energy, Climate, and
Sustainable Development held its
first meeting in Beijing. The Institute’s
Energy and Environment Program
Executive Director David Monsma
moderated dialogues between two
expert delegations, one from the United
States and one from China. The goal, in
part, was to identify opportunities for
collaboration and to better understand
both governments’ perspectives ahead
of the Conference of the Parties in
Paris. The Paris talks present a unique
moment for strengthening US-China
collaboration on energy, climate change,
and sustainable development. The
National Center for Climate Change
Strategy and International Cooperation
and the World Resources Institute serve
as the two main partners on this Track
II initiative, along with the Energy and
Environment Program. Participants
included China’s Special Representative
on Climate Change Issues Xie Zhenhua
and meeting co-chair former US
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.
aspeninstitute.org/ee

Patrice Gilbert

HONORING AMBASSADOR STEVENS
WITH INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES
On October 1, in Washington, DC, the Institute’s Stevens Initiative held a forum on virtual exchange
and opened the first in a series of merit-based competitions to fund organizations that connect youth
in United States, the Middle East, and North Africa through structured online engagements, as a
lasting tribute to the legacy of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The initiative is a multinational
public-private partnership designed to increase people-to-people exchange, enhance mutual
understanding, and equip a generation of youth from secondary to post-secondary levels with the
skills to succeed in the 21st century. The forum opened with Deputy National Security Advisor Ben
Rhodes and Dr. Anne Stevens, sister of Ambassador Stevens. The forum also featured initiative
funders Mike and Jackie Bezos and other trustees, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Hills & Company
Vice President Ambassador Thomas Pickering, and Ancora Associates President Clare Muñana.
The event also included Moroccan Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal, Algerian Deputy Chief of Mission
Malek Djaoud, and Emirati Cultural Attaché Dr. Suaad Al-Oraimi. The initiative is housed at the
Institute and is a collaboration with the Stevens family, the State Department, the Bezos Family
Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, Mozilla, GoPro, and the governments of the
United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Algeria, and Morocco. stevensinitiative.org

Anne Stevens

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27

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

BEING THE BEST FOR THE WORLD
THE 2015 MCNULTY PRIZE LAUREATES ARE TAKING BOLD ACTION AGAINST
THE CHALLENGES OF OUR TIME—FROM ERADICATING MALNUTRITION TO
TRANSFORMING THE ROLE OF BUSINESS IN SOCIETY.
Each year, the John P.

THE WINNER
Houlahan, Gilbert, Kassoy

McNulty Prize honors
the exceptional work
of the Aspen Global
Leadership Network
Fellows. Laureates, already
successful leaders in their
professional endeavors,
Courtesy B Lab

bring abilities and
business acumen to bear
on the world’s toughest
challenges. Each laureate
receives $10,000, and the
winner receives $100,000.
This year’s laureates hail
from the United States,
South Africa, and Costa
Rica, and their projects are
having long-lasting impact
on communities across the
globe. mcnultyprize.org
aspeninstitute.org/agln
28

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

JAY COEN GILBERT, BART HOULAHAN, AND ANDREW KASSOY
B LAB | US-Based with Global Operations
The eighth annual John P. McNulty Prize goes to B Lab, co-founded by Jay Coen
Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy. The $100,000 award recognizes the
spirit of entrepreneurship and excellence in leaders who are using their privatesector capabilities, resources, and networks to innovate and address important
social issues. The trio of entrepreneurs, all Henry Crown Fellows, left their
successful careers and co-founded B Lab, the nonprofit behind Certified B Corps.
B Lab serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. It
has led to a conceptual shift in which companies measure their impact on society
and the environment with as much rigor as they manage profitability.
Now there is a growing community of more than 1,400 Certified B Corps in
over forty countries. More than 35,000 businesses and other institutions are
measuring and managing their impact using the B Impact Assessment. And a
new corporate structure—the “benefit corporation”—is being used by more than
3,000 businesses in thirty-one states. B Lab is demonstrating the positive role
business can play in society, with the potential to reduce inequality and poverty
and create a healthier environment, stronger communities, and high-quality jobs
with dignity and purpose.
As Gilbert, Houlahan, and Kassoy put it: “B Lab is trying to redefine success in
business. … In a generation’s time, our ambition is for all companies to compete
not just to be best in the world but to be best for the world.”

T H E L A U R E AT E S
GISELA SÁNCHEZ
Jenks

NUTRIVIDA | Costa Rica
Engineer, food-industry executive, and Central America Leadership Initiative
Fellow Gisela Sánchez has pioneered a line of fortified food products, Nutrivida,
to eliminate malnutrition in children and communities in Costa Rica and beyond.
The social enterprise teams up with local saleswomen, NGOs, and superstores to
provide affordable access to highly nutritious—and tasty—products. “Nutrivida’s
mission is pretty bold,” Sanchez says. “We want to eradicate under-nutrition in
the region by using market tools to get good quality food to every single table
and especially to the tables where the kids are—in Central America and beyond.”

Courtesy Nutrivida

Courtesy Fish Forever

Sánchez

Courtesy Harambee

Galombik

NICOLA GALOMBIK

BRETT JENKS

HARAMBEE YOUTH EMPLOYMENT
ACCELERATOR | South Africa

FISH FOREVER
US-Based with Global Operations

With expertise at the intersection of
the private and social sectors, Africa
Leadership Initiative-South Africa Fellow
Nicola Galombik is using her business
platform to build the Harambee Youth
Employment Accelerator, which has
placed more than 15,000 youth in jobs.
Harambee bridges the chronic skills gap
in South Africa’s workforce by providing
young people with high-quality training
and by shifting the mind-set of employers
to be more inclusive. “Harambee works
with employers and young people to
solve a mismatch in the economy,” says
Galombik. “Employers need a fresh pool
of young talent who can be successful in
the workplace and innovate—and young
South Africans, especially those from
poor families, need opportunities to
access work.”

Conservationist and Catto Fellow
Brett Jenks is reversing the decline
of small-scale fisheries and tropical
marine habitats by empowering local
communities across the globe to
steward their own sustainable and
productive fisheries. Combining fisher
empowerment, capacity-building, and
community mobilization, Fish Forever
ensures that resources are protected and
that communities thrive for generations
to come. “We realized that a billion
people, a billion of the world’s poorest,
most climate-vulnerable people depend
on fish for protein every day,” Jenks says.
“Our goal was not just to give them a fish
to eat for a day but to empower them to
fish sustainably forever.”

THE ASPEN IDEA

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29

AROUND THE INSTITUTE

THE WRITE STUFF
What makes a writer successful? Raw talent? Persistence? How do we define creative success? These were just a few of the
questions posed by six acclaimed authors—Richard Russo, Dani Shapiro, Andre Dubus III, Akhil Sharma, Hannah Tinti, and Ann
Hood—at Summer Words, a weeklong celebration of stories and ideas hosted by Aspen Words each June. Featured authors led
morning workshops, offering feedback to aspiring writers from around the country. Afternoon panels covered all stages of the
creative process, from inspiration to getting published. Many people are deterred by the creative risk required to write a book.
But Tinti lit a fire under audience members with this advice: “It’s not necessarily the best writers who get published. It’s the ones
who don’t give up.” Summer Words participants left Aspen armed with advice, inspiration, and a new network of fellow writers
to call on. The Summer Words 2016 application process opens December 2015. aspenwords.org

The reason I’ve had
a career much longer
than I expected is
because I never
lived in New York
[City].

It’s important that
all the characters are
right and all the
characters are
wrong.

—Hannah Tinti

—Akhil Sharma

Barbara Dills

—Richard Russo

People who
become writers are
watchers, and they’re
people who are
empathetic.

30

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

Koch and Steyer

“WE HAVE TO AGREE
ON THE PROBLEM”

Riccardo Savi

Tom Steyer realizes climate change can be
politically divisive. The hedge-fund manager,
philanthropist, and climate-change activist
came to this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival
to speak with Atlantic Media’s Ronald
Brownstein about how the private sector
can take on climate change. But it was when
Brownstein pointed out that seated frontrow center was David Koch, businessman,
philanthropist, and chemical engineer, seen
by many to be Steyer’s ideological opposite,
that things got really interesting. “I would
bet that Mr. Koch thinks that the market is
something that is very efficient in allocating
capital and getting positive outcomes for
the people,” Steyer said. “From my point of
view, it’s not that I think we have to agree
on the policy. We have to agree on the
problem.” Steyer sees climate change as
an opportunity to create new businesses,
new jobs, and new prosperity. And he
says he is more optimistic now than he
was five years ago, thanks to the nation’s
encouraging private-sector research: “I think
in California we have an unusual confidence
in technology, in American business, and the
idea that ingenuity, research, science is going
to answer a lot of questions.” He added, “And
no one will get their way entirely—and that’s
the American way.” Perhaps that’s why,
after the session ended, and in true Institute
fashion, Steyer and Koch shook hands and
spoke privately, cordially, and passionately—
despite any ideological differences or
rivalries. aspenideas.org/steyer

AWARDS DINNER HONORS McCHRYSTAL
On November 12, 2015, trustees, supporters, and friends of the Institute came together for
the 32nd  Annual Awards Dinner Gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Retired fourstar General  Stanley A. McChrystal—called one of America’s great warriors by Defense
Courtesy Stanley McChrystal

Secretary Robert Gates—was awarded the Henry Crown Leadership Award.  New York
Times  columnist  David Brooks  moderated a conversation between McChrystal and the
evening’s featured speaker, Ambassador Samantha Power, the US permanent representative
to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. These transformational
leaders discussed the issues facing the world today and offered insights about leadership
gleaned from their remarkable careers in public service. Chaired by Trustee  Mercedes T.
McChrystal

Bass, the dinner raised more than $1 million of essential unrestricted funds for the Institute. 
THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER

2015/2016

31

LEADING VOICES

Leigh Vogel

Jimmy Carter

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THE ASPEN IDEA

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Twitter founder Evan Williams, former Treasury Secretary
Hank Paulson, scientist Eric Smith, a panel of Democratic governors,
and a panel of Republican governors all came to Aspen this
summer thanks to the McCloskey Speaker Series. With a generous
donation from the McCloskey Family Charitable Foundation, each
year the series brings a unique and diverse roster of distinguished
speakers to the Institute. This summer, the series capped off its season
with former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn
Carter in a discussion with Institute CEO Walter Isaacson about
world events, mental health, wedded bliss, and Hunter S. Thompson.

REFLECTIONS AT 90
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY AND FORMER
FIRST LADY ROSALYNN CARTER IN ASPEN

President and Mrs. Carter on the secret to a happy marriage.
MRS. CARTER: We will have been married 69 years in July. We wrote

a book together once. That was the worst experience of my life.
CARTER: That almost terminated our marriage.
MRS. CARTER: We have totally different writing styles. We got so
that we could not mention it without me crying. We started writing
ugly notes to each other on our word processors. It takes me a long
time to write a chapter because I want it to be just right. He can
write one in an afternoon and then he wants to swap, and I didn’t
want him to change a word.
CARTER: And she treated all my chapters like a rough draft! We

had gotten a small advance, and we decided to give the advance
back and cancel the book. Our editor said, “Look, let me resolve
this for you. Half the paragraphs are Rosalynn’s, and, Jimmy, you
can’t touch them. And the other half of paragraphs are yours,
and Rosalynn can’t edit them.” So if you read our book, a lot of
paragraphs have got an R by the side or a J. Anyway we survived
that, and that’s why we are still married today.
President Carter on Russia.

A couple of months ago, we met with [Vladimir] Putin. He made a
very good impression on us. He was fully aware of all of the difficult
issues. He never turned to his foreign minister for any answers; he
gave the answers himself. He was quietly relaxed; he had a good
sense of humor, which was a surprise to all of us. When we were
getting ready to leave he said, “By the way, be sure to tell your
president and the Europeans to leave the sanctions on Russia.” We

were surprised to hear him say that. He said, “I’m making reforms
in agriculture—and also in banking and in my relationship with the
oligarchs—that I couldn’t make if the sanctions were not putting
pressure on them.” So the farmers are now growing a lot more food
grains because they had been importing them from Europe, and
so now they are trying to reform agriculture, reform the banking
system. He said if the United States could take sanctions off six
months later, that will be fine.
President Carter on the Middle East.

The Carter Center still puts as our top goal in foreign policy to
bring peace to Israel and, in the process, to bring peace to Israel’s
immediate neighbor. The Carter Center has monitored all three
Palestinian elections, and we still work between the Palestinian
factions and Israel trying to promote peace. I was in Jerusalem
on another visit when Netanyahu made his speech and said he
would accept a two-state solution. I didn’t believe him then, and
everything that he has done since has indicated he does not want
two states. He does not want a Palestinian nation next door to
Israel. My belief is that he wants to take over the entire West Bank
except a few little tiny spots that he will leave for the Palestinians.
President Carter on Obama.

On the world stage, I think his successes have been minimal. I can’t
think of many nations in the world where we have better relationships
now than we did when he took over. If you look at Russia, England,
China, Egypt, and so forth, we have not improved our relationships.
The United States’ influence, prestige, and respect in the world is
probably lower now than it was seven years ago.
THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

33

LEADING VOICES

Leigh Vogel

Rosalynn Carter

This may not be a good thing to say to a group of Americans,
but I think that the historical trend is for the United States to
relinquish its unquestioned domination of the world’s politics and
economy and cultural influence. China is rising, Russia is going to
come back, Brazil is increasing its influence, India is increasing its
influence. I can’t say that I blame President Obama for it; I think it
is an inevitability. And now the thing to do for President Obama and
the next president is to say, “How can the United States fit in and still
accomplish our goals of promoting the elements of a superpower?”
And what are the elements of a superpower? This is maybe
preaching a little bit, but I think a superpower not only should be the
top country as far as military power is concerned, which we’re going
to continue to be, but I think the American superpower goal should
be to be the champion of peace, to be the champion of human
rights, to be the champion of the environment, and to be the most
generous nation on earth. Those are the elements I hope the United
States will set as goals. We are the most war-like country on Earth,
we are laggard in addressing the problem of global warming, and
we are now violating about 10 of 30 paragraphs in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. So this is something we should look
upon as duties for the future.
President Carter on gun violence.

I don’t think the NRA is going to relinquish any of its present—
almost disgusting—influence over state legislatures or the Congress.
We will continue to have a plethora of guns quite unnecessarily in
the United States. I don’t think we’re going to have any proof of
past experience or proof you’re qualified to get guns. The NRA is
34

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

going to prevail, which I think is a dastardly thing to have happen
and a great affliction on this country. I like to hunt and fish, and
I’ve got a number of guns. But I think that anybody who gets a
gun ought to be fully qualified and give a background briefing. And
I don’t believe that we ought to authorize the sale of submachine
guns and armor-piercing bullets and guns in churches and guns in
schools and that sort of thing. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we do
that, but the NRA prevails.
Mrs. Carter on mental health.

I get very upset when people with mental illness are blamed for
everything that happens like that [with guns] because only 4 percent
of all violent crimes are committed by people with mental illnesses.
And if you look at the statistics, most of them have not had access
to services. I have a mental-health program at the Carter Center; we
have mental-health fellowships for journalists. We bring journalists in
and let them know about mental illnesses so they can write accurately
and in depth. And my journalists have been doing that for a long
time now, and I think it has made a little bit of difference. I do also
think that stigma is beginning to lift a little.
The largest mental-health facilities in our country are the prisons
and jails. You can get money for prisons and jails; it’s really difficult to
get money for mental-health services. Mental health has gotten what
was left over after everything was funded. The parity law is changing
that a little bit. I hope it’s going to change it a lot. Sometimes it takes
a little while for people to begin accessing services because of the
stigma. But the parity law means insurance for mental health illness
is the same as for any other illnesses.

Jimmy Carter

“When I was governor of
Georgia, I made a speech at
the University of Georgia,
and Hunter Thompson was
listening to my speech. He
was also putting up his
iced-tea glass with
Wild Turkey whisky.”

Leigh Vogel

— President Carter

President Carter on China.

I’ve seen tremendous change in China. They still have some serious
human rights problems, but they have made a great deal of progress
compared to when the Communists first took over. For instance,
there were no Bibles permitted in China; there was no religion or
worship permitted in China when I normalized relations. But Deng
Xiaoping asked me what I wanted him to do for me personally, and
I said, “I want you to let Bibles come back and freedom of religion
come back,” and he did that, and that’s the law of China with some
restraints.
China is now the fastest-growing Christian country in the
world. And Xi Jinping has become the most powerful Chinese
leader since Deng Xiaoping. I think he’s very highly committed to a
nationalistic point of view; that is, China has got to be preeminent.
He sees a long-term trend, in which China is becoming the leader
in politics and in the economy. The United States needs to make
a very firm commitment to find some areas in which China and
the United States can cooperate with each other. The last three
times I met with Xi Jinping, I urged him to form a partnership with
the United States in dealing with global warming, because if the
United States and China help prevent climate deterioration, the
rest of the world would have to go along.
President Carter on Cuba.

When I became president, I saw that the Cuban policy was
unsustainable and erroneous. So I lifted all travel restraints on
American citizens. While I was president, any American could visit
Cuba if they wanted to. I worked with Fidel Castro on moving

toward full diplomatic relations. And we made very good progress
the first two and a half years. But Castro went back on his word
to me. He sent a large number of troops into Ethiopia to fight
alongside the communist dictator Mengistu [Haile Mariam] and
also the Russians, and he also continued to try to convince some
Latin American countries to adopt his policy. So I wish I could have
normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, and I would have if I
could have.
But I think what President Obama has announced is a very
good move, and I hope he’ll go through with it, because the
Constitution of the United States gives a president of United States
the unilateral right to recognize any government that he wants to.
The Congress has nothing to say about it. This is one thing the
president can do by himself, and I hope before Obama goes out of
office, he’ll be able to do that.
President Carter on his friendship with Hunter S. Thompson.

When I was governor of Georgia, I made a speech at the University
of Georgia, and Hunter Thompson was listening to my speech.
He was also putting up his iced-tea glass with Wild Turkey whisky.
And after I got through my speech, he was profoundly affected by
it. And whenever anybody visited him at his home near Aspen,
he would make them listen to my speech as a ticket to come to
his house for entertainment. So when we used to come out here
to Aspen, Hunter Thompson always came and spent late nights
with my sons and daughter. I went to bed about two o’clock
in the morning while he pontificated. So he was a very close
friend of mine.
THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

35

LEADING VOICES

Dan Bayer

Comey and Blitzer

ISIL: MORE DANGEROUS
THAN AL QAEDA
FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY TALKS ABOUT WHAT KEEPS HIM UP AT NIGHT

Each year, the Aspen Security Forum gathers the sharpest minds
in national security to tackle the nation’s greatest threats. This
year, the Forum opened with the Hurst Lecture Series, which
featured a conversation with James Comey, director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Comey
about the complexities of today’s global threat environment—
from ISIL to social media to cyberterrorism.
Lewis

36

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

BLITZER: Director, what keeps you up at night?
COMEY: What keeps me up at night is the ISIL threat in the

homeland.
BLITZER: Is ISIS now a bigger threat to the US homeland than

Al Qaeda?
COMEY: Yes. The threat that ISIL poses to the United States is

very different in kind, in type, in degree than Al Qaeda. ISIL is not
your parents’ Al Qaeda. It’s a very different model, and by virtue
of that model, it’s currently the threat that we’re worrying about in
the homeland most of all.
BLITZER: Why is ISIS so powerful?
COMEY: They have adopted a model that takes advantage of social
media to crowd-source terrorism. They have invested in pushing a
message of poison, primarily through Twitter, that is a siren song
with two dimensions. They are preaching through social media
to troubled souls, urging them to join their so-called “Caliphate”
in Syria and Iraq. Or, if you can’t join, kill where you are. And
Twitter is a valuable enterprise, because it works to sell this message
to troubled souls.
With Al Qaeda, if you wanted to consume their propaganda, you
had to go find it somewhere in the Web. You’d read their magazine.
If you wanted to talk to a terrorist, you might send an email in
to their magazine and hope that somebody answers you. ISIL has
changed that model entirely, because ISIL is buzzing on your hip.
That message is being pushed all day long. And if you want to talk
to a terrorist, they’re right there on Twitter, direct-messaging you.
They’ve invested in months and months of pushing this message,
and it resonates. ISIL’s message investment is producing a warped
view of the world on the part of a lot of people who either want to
travel to the Caliphate or kill where they are. And my job is to find
the travelers and stop them and, most urgently, to stop those who
want to kill where they are.
BLITZER: What’s the biggest stumbling block you have right now?

The encrypted communications, the dark side that some of these
young people have now?
COMEY: That’s one of two stumbling blocks in these cases. The

first is the technological one. ISIL’s m.o. is they broadcast on
Twitter, get people to follow them, then move them to Twitter
direct-messaging while they evaluate whether they’re a potential
liaison, either to travel or to kill where they are. Then they’ll move
them to an encrypted mobile-messaging app where they go dark to
us. And so that’s the needle becoming invisible. We can, with court
authority, get access to the Twitter contacts, but we don’t have the
ability to break strong encryption. If they move to the mobilemessaging app, we’re going to lose them.

people are talking about when we’ve demonstrated probable cause
to believe that they are terrorists or they are serious criminals. We
don’t have the ability to break the strong encryption. The mobilemessaging app for example stops us by virtue of its design. It is
end-to-end encrypted, so without the key at one of the two devices
at the user end, you’ve no ability with a court order to intercept and
look at that communication. So it’s the nature of the technology
that’s stopping us.
BLITZER: You said recently that you and your colleagues thwarted
a July 4th attack. What can you tell us about that?
COMEY: Not much. What’s interesting about the ISIL model there,

too, is the normal terms of “inspired,” “directed,” or “enabled,”
blend together with ISIL. Because ISIL is just pushy. They’re like a
devil on somebody’s shoulders saying, “Kill, kill, kill,” all day long.
So figuring out whether someone was “inspired” or “directed” or
“enabled,” is actually a waste of time. There were a number of
people who were bent on engaging in attacks in the United States,
killing innocent people timed to the July 4th holiday, and thanks to
great work not just by the FBI but by our partners in state and local
and federal law enforcement, it was disrupted. [Applause]
BLITZER: And that’s why you’ve concluded now that ISIS
represents the major threat to the US homeland as far as terrorism
is concerned.
COMEY: Right, and one of the reasons is the sheer volume. I have
FBI’s investigations related to this threat all across the country, and
there are hundreds of investigations. We’re trying to understand
where somebody is on the spectrum between a consumer of this
poison on Twitter to an actor who’s about to try and murder
innocent people. The ISIL tweeters in Syria have 21,000 Englishlanguage followers. Hundreds of those people, probably thousands,
are in the United States. So our job in the law-enforcement
community is figuring out who are they and where are they along
this line from consuming to acting. That’s why this is our dominant
threat that we face today. And the people that ISIL is trying to
reach are people that Al Qaeda would never use as an operative.
BLITZER: Why is that?
COMEY: Because they are often unstable, troubled... And ISIL
also does something that Al Qaeda would never do: they’ll vet an
operative by tasking them—giving them an assignment to go kill
somebody as a way of checking out whether they are a real person
or an informant. And the challenge we face is—again totally unlike
the typical Al Qaeda model—is what we call the “flash-to-bang.”
It is both short and unpredictable with ISIL. That is, often an
operative will have an idea to do something, say on July 4th, and
wake up on June 2nd and say, You know, I’m not waiting, today’s
the day I’m going to go kill people, which poses an additional
challenge for us conducting investigations.

BLITZER: What do you need now legally in order to get access to
that, because a lot of people don’t want their privacy infringed on?
COMEY: The problem we’re facing is, even with judicial orders,

which is at the core of our work, we’re unable to find out what

For the video, go to aspensecurityforum.org

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

37

LEADING VOICES

What keeps me up
at night is...
the ISIL threat in the
homeland and...
what I can’t see.
That’s what keeps me up.”

COMEY: I’ll name two: China and Russia.
BLITZER: China and Russia are major threats and they could

have this information. They could have sensitive information that
could be incredibly useful to them—not only in terms of stealing
sensitive business and technology but in terms of recruiting spies.
And the FBI is in charge of preventing that?
COMEY: Yes. In the hands of a state actor, the data would be a
gold mine for intelligence operations. You could craft recruitment
strategies; you could craft the world’s best spearphishing e-mails.
You could send me an e-mail that appears to be from my sister
about some family event—that you figured out from my background
forms—with an attachment. I would click on that attachment, and
then you’d be into my system. So there are lots of ways it could be
used by an intelligence agency of a foreign state actor.
BLITZER: How do you deal with that?
COMEY: Today, 20 of the United States’ agencies sit together
at an operation outside of Washington and share information at
the speed of light, so we can figure out who has seen what and
who should respond to what. That’s the answer to this threat and
working together better around the globe, because the bad guys
have shrunk the globe to the size of pinhead. They’ve made Beijing
next door to Boston on the Internet. So we have to shrink the world
back, and part of that is embedding US people and personnel in
our foreign partners’ offices and sharing equipment and ideas to
shrink it back against the bad guys.
BLITZER: What advice do you have for people that are listening to
you right now and how to deal with this potential threat?

around a dark parking lot at night. It’s amazing how comfortable
we seem at our keyboards sitting in our kitchens, when we’re
actually wandering all of the Earth, potentially exposing the things
that matter most to us to total strangers. Understand that you are
actually out in the world even though you’re on your keyboard.
Comey

BLITZER: As you know the Office of Personnel Management,

their secure sites were hacked and maybe 22 million workers and
their families—their most sensitive information along with their
Social Security numbers, their travel, all of the information that
they provided to get top-secret security clearances, potentially are
now in the hands of hackers. Is that right?
COMEY: Correct, and a lot of those workers are probably sitting

here. One of them is sitting next to you. I assume that the actors
in that intrusion have my SF86, a form that anybody who wants to
work for the government in a cleared position fills out—it’s basically
your entire life. It’s the world’s most detailed résumé. Even if you
didn’t get the job, it’s in that database. So we have to assume that
the intrusion netted those.
BLITZER: Who are the main cyber threats?

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THE ASPEN IDEA

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BLITZER: Last April, you were the keynote speaker at the US
Holocaust Memorial Museum dinner. You explained why every
FBI agent, every FBI intelligence analyst, has to go visit the US
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and study it.
COMEY: They go for two reasons. First, we want them to see

in a gut-wrenching, nauseating way what the abuse of power on
an almost unimaginable scale looks and feels like, because we’re
about to give them extraordinary power. As a second reason, I want
them to see what human beings are capable of. One of our greatest
strengths is our ability to convince ourselves of the righteousness of
our own cause, and one of our greatest weaknesses is our capacity
to surrender our moral authority to the group so it can be hijacked
by the least common denominator. I want them to stare at that and
understand the weaknesses that we all share, because they’re about
to have tremendous power, and I want them to have a sense of that
in a way that will last with them their whole career.
All Leading Voices transcripts have been edited and condensed.

Dan Bayer

COMEY: It’s just use the common sense that you would use walking

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LEADING VOICES

In July 2015, more than 350 entrepreneurial leaders from
37 countries—the vast majority Aspen Global Leadership
Network Fellows—gathered for the third-annual Aspen Action
Forum designed to connect and inspire Fellows to move “from
thought to action.” The theme of this year’s forum, collaborative
leadership, was exemplified by Institute Executive Board Member
Lynda Resnick’s keynote address and Action Pledge. Resnick,
vice-chair and co-owner of the Wonderful Company, discussed
her high-impact community-development work in California’s
Central Valley.

BEYOND
WONDERFUL
LYNDA RESNICK ON GROWING CENTRAL CALIFORNIA’S
AGRICULTURE—AND ITS COMMUNITIES

RESNICK: Five years ago, I had an epiphany here at the Aspen
Institute. I realized that instead of investing in other people’s visions
of charity, I really had to start doing the work myself. I had to get
in the field, and I had to get my hands dirty. The Central Valley of
California is where our crops grow, and that is where I saw the most
need and where we should go.
Let me introduce you to the Wonderful Company. Our
products are real food—unprocessed, natural, and nutritious.
Being wonderful goes beyond consumer promise; it also extends
to our philanthropic activities. Our main focus is investing in the
communities where our employees live and work, and that is the
Central Valley—45,000 square miles with 6.5 million people.
It is the heart of California. It is where 50 percent of the fruits,
vegetables, and nuts that we in America consume everyday are
grown. It also is the home of the majority of the Wonderful
workforce.
We’ve placed a great deal of importance on establishing
extensive community-development outreach programs and

40

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

educational initiatives across the region. We are trying in our way
to transform the cycle of poverty and neglect that has plagued this
region for decades. After visiting several small towns in the region,
we picked the little hamlet of Lost Hills to start our communitydevelopment work. The Wonderful Pistachio plant is 13 miles
from this little community, but otherwise it was lost—forgotten by
county, state, and federal government. The community park was
dilapidated and unsafe. They didn’t have streetlights or any basic
infrastructure. And the children had nowhere to go after school
to play.
In business, before we go to market, we do market research to
understand if our product or service is relevant to our consumers.
I believe that philanthropy is no different. I didn’t know any other
way to start, except to build our work on the wants and needs of the
people we were serving. So we started with focus groups. And then
to verify our findings, we went door to door to every single house.
The community’s first request was to put lights on the basketball
court because the kids would back up their cars and turn the lights

Courtesy of Lynda Resnick

Resnick

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41

LEADING VOICES
on so they could play basketball at night, but we didn’t stop there.
Today, the Wonderful park has two community centers, two soccer
fields, volleyball courts, and everything a playground needs to make
kids happy and engaged. We offer English-as-a-second-language
classes, summer camps, afterschool activities, zumba, martial arts,
computer science, ballet, voter registration, and so forth. The scope
of our improvement projects reaches well beyond the park. We also
paved the roads, put in sidewalks, bus shelters, streetlights, storm
drains, and planted drought-resistant landscaping. All working side
by side with the citizens of Lost Hills.
In a joint project with the USDA, we helped build 82 affordable
single-family three-bedroom homes and apartments. The rent
starts from $350 a month to $700 depending on how much the
agricultural worker makes. These will be ready for occupancy in
February of next year. And we helped finance and build Gabby’s,
the town’s first restaurant. (It is the best taco you’ve ever had in
your life.)
Along the way, we reduced crime 50 to 60 percent. We helped
return annualized benefits of $200,000 to $500,000 in county taxes
back to the community. They never got a dime of the taxes that
were paid, and now they do. But most important, we’ve helped
establish a community advisory group: local residents who are
learning empowerment so that they can run their town, and they
will very soon. It will become an incorporated town.
But without education all our good work might not be
sustainable. Through the Wonderful program, we’ve reached
55,000 students at 58 schools in 18 districts, and we already
awarded 1,500 college scholarships and incentives as well as 1,300
teacher grants. We also operate two preschools with two more on
the way. We put art education in 11 schools. We have 26 summer
camps in a place that never had summer camps before. We also
have our own Wonderful College Prep Academy founded in 2009.
But what I’m most proud of is our Wonderful Agricultural
Career Prep. This is a program that prepares students for careers
in the new Ag, which is highly technical and STEM-oriented, by
creating a collaboration between regional community colleges,
high schools, and our company as the industry partner. During an
innovative, rigorous four-year academic track, each student and
their fellow cohorts do more than meet high school graduation
requirements. They take college courses given by college professors,
earning them college credit. So when they graduate from high
school, they have an AA degree in agriculture, and they can either
go to a four-year school and enter as a junior or they can enter
our skilled Ag workforce and get an entry-level job at $30,000 to
$50,000 a year.
As we’ve become more and more involved with the families and
their communities, we realized that they had a lack of focus on their
general wellness and basic health needs. This is a region of the state
that has an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Look at the numbers;
these are taken from a survey of our employees: 11 percent have
diabetes, 49 percent are pre-diabetic. That’s 60 percent of our
employees, 20 percent higher than California’s rate. As for obesity,
34 percent are overweight and 43 percent are classified as obese. It
is a pretty grim picture for health. In an attempt a few years ago
to help this problem, we hired an outside clinic provider to serve
the 7,800 employees and their families in the Valley. However, we
discovered that our employees weren’t using the clinics, and only 30
percent of the appointments were taken.
So we went directly to the employees, and we held 13 focus
groups; we managed to get to the root of the issues pretty quickly.
Problem number one, our health care provider wasn’t doing a good
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job. The staff wasn’t bilingual. The clinic hours were inconvenient.
The doctor was only available one day a week. And the turnover
rate was so high, they couldn’t build a feeling of collaboration
with their providers. Many patients were sent away untreated for
everything from flu shots to shortness of breath to sever chest pains.
Medications weren’t dispensed onsite. No one was getting a clear
definition of their health concerns.
We asked in the focus groups, “How would you describe a
healthy person?” They said: “If you’re able to work, you’re healthy.
You only go to a doctor if you’re sick, and a healthy person doesn’t
need a doctor.” And then we asked about diabetes, hypertension,
and obesity. Our employees know they’re at risk. So we asked,
“Why don’t you go to a doctor?” What we discovered is they think
it’s inevitable that they’ll get sick. So they don’t feel empowered to
change. They’re afraid to find out, as many of us are, that something
else might be wrong. If there’s no road map to wellness, it can be
overwhelming to figure out how to do it on your own. They live on
tight budgets and have poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.
And after a long tiring workday, who wants to exercise or take that
extra step to be healthy? And the Valley folks like the rest of us, get
too little sleep, so any additional task seems insurmountable.
So what to do? We need to show our employees that they’re
empowered to make the changes that are necessary in their lives.
And that involves three things: the re-launch of our wellness clinics,
workplace outreach, and community outreach. So we’re expanding
our clinics. We will have new staff, extra exam rooms, and separate
waiting rooms for the children—all this with more of a focus on
wellness and a commitment to our employees and their families.
Here’s our new staffing model. Each clinic will have a full-time
onsite physician and a nurse practitioner as well as psychiatric
social workers. We will have health coaches who will be assigned
a full caseload of patients. Every employee who comes into the
clinic will have someone on their team to advocate for them every
step of the way, free prescriptions given onsite, and of course
fully bilingual.
Wellness also has to be ubiquitous at work. So we’re training
our supervisors to reinforce health and wellness as part of a daily
routine. We’ve built stretching and walking activities into each
shift on the factory floor. We have fully equipped gyms onsite.
Employee ambassadors have been identified among the work force
to help motivate their fellow colleagues every day. And they act
as collaborators on our new initiatives and give feedback on how
programs are working on a day-to-day basis. At every break on the
factory floor, employees are given free healthy snacks, nuts, and
fruit, and our cafés have more affordable, healthy options with an
all-you-can-eat salad bar with protein for two bucks.
The final component of our three-tier strategy is community
outreach. People live far away and their kids couldn’t come into the
clinic, so we have to go out to the communities. At satellite locations,
we will find promotoras, or health promoters, within the community
to inspire and motivate the people in the towns where they live. We
will establish exercise programs, fitness challenges, health education,
wellness workshops, nutritional cooking, and so forth.
There’s a lot of work to be done and an aggressive time line
to do it in. Our goal is to have our new clinics open in October.
So here is my Action Pledge: I pledge to create and implement
a holistic approach to wellness and health with a clearly defined
road map for our employees and their families in the Central
Valley of California. I further pledge to reduce incidence of
obesity, disease, and stress in their lives. And your prayers would
be most welcome.

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9/28/2015 11:31:47 AM

ASPEN IMPACT: FRANKLIN PROJECT

Dan Bayer

McChrystal

FRANKLIN PROJECT:
THE CALL TO ACTION GETS ANSWERED

The Franklin Project began with General Stanley McChrystal’s call
to national service during the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. The idea
was that American youth between the ages of eighteen and twentyeight would serve their nation in the military or through some form
of civilian public service. Since then, cities and programs have
answered that call, building programs that draw on the expertise
of teachers, artists, musicians, hardware builders, software coders,
business leaders, lawyers, and more. The echo of this call has
reverberated around the country, allowing young Americans to
develop leadership skills and career experience while improving
and strengthening their communities and the nation.
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SAVE THE DATE
JULY 27– 30, 2016
ASPEN, CO

THE SEVENTH ANNUAL
ASPEN SECURITY FORUM
will bring together top-level government officials,
industry executives, leading thinkers, diplomats, noted journalists, and
concerned citizens for three days of in-depth discussion on the major issues of the day in the
fields of national and homeland security, such as cyber-security, intelligence, and counterterrorism strategy
More information: www.aspensecurityforum.org Contact: Leah Dreyfuss, leah.dreyfuss@aspeninstitute.org

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2015 CO-PRESENTER AND SPONSORS

THE ASPEN IDEA

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45

ASPEN IMPACT: FRANKLIN PROJECT

Baltimore Corps
co-founder Fagan Harris,
members of the second
class of Fellows

Bringing Vibrant Skill Back in Baltimore
BY KEVIN EASTERLY

T

wo years ago, we were inspired by the Franklin Project’s call
to reimagine national service. We started Baltimore Corps,
a “professional corps” that recruits high-skill professionals to
scale the impact of community-building initiatives, because the
opportunity to create a new model of service is not only upon
us; it is urgent. From a mentoring program that has ensured the graduation
of hundreds of students over the last decade to the artist with a plan to
transform the city’s underpasses into hubs of dynamic expression, great
work is already being pioneered. The common obstacle these efforts face
is the need for next-generation talent to help guide their development—
energetic minds to complete the bridge from potential-rich initiatives to fully
formed movements.
It’s no secret that Baltimore has been in the news for all the wrong
reasons. Like many other communities thrust into national conversations
about race and society in recent years, two things have been made abundantly clear. One, in a nation whose demographics will look a lot more
like Baltimore’s in fifteen years, our problems and frustrations belong to the
entire nation, not a handful of cities. And two, in order to drive meaningful
progress on our most entrenched challenges, we need new approaches, new
creativity, and new levels of commitment from those we empower to lead.
The question we pose to ourselves, and to all others who want to see
these visionary leaders succeed, is this: How can we connect tomorrow’s
leaders with today’s change-makers to strengthen, and reimagine, our cities?
Part of the challenge is that, in Baltimore, our population has declined for
nearly six decades. This problem is not unique. For every San Francisco and
Austin—cities that continue to boom with their anchors in technology and
other industries—there is a Baltimore, Birmingham, or Buffalo (the list goes
on) that struggles to retain its social capital, especially the coveted demographic of college-educated professionals in their late twenties and early thirties.

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Yet opportunity exists. The oft-concealed edge of the exodus from cities like Baltimore is that, thanks in part to low costs of living, these locales
are frequently the most popular landing spots for recent college graduates. The question these cities must address is not how they will attract
talent, because they already do. The challenge is retaining and engaging
educated young adults as they gain experience and access to opportunities
elsewhere.
Millennials have officially supplanted baby boomers as the most populous generation in the United States, and in the first year of the Baltimore
Corps Fellowship, we have seen many of our assumptions about this young
generation confirmed. They are ambitious, entrepreneurial, interconnected and, above all, civic-minded. Many observers doubted that we could
recruit lawyers, MBAs, and others with years of experience to serve in our
communities for twelve months on a small stipend. Yet even in our first
cohort, when our recruitment was limited primarily to word-of-mouth, we
received an overwhelming influx of applications from millennials with advanced degrees who wanted to use their skills to create social impact.
The talent and the ambition, then, are there. But to tackle our cities’
greatest challenges, we need to enlist an even greater proportion of this
generation in service. By attracting and nurturing professionals and providing them with a sustainable wage, we can position them to become the next
generation of our cities’ leadership. And as we retain that talent, Baltimore
and cities like it can become for civic engagement what San Francisco is
to technology: hubs of progress that become landing spots for the best our
country has to offer.
Kevin Easterly is the communications manager at Baltimore Corps, an organization
dedicated to building a stronger Baltimore by mobilizing a new generation of leaders
focused on urban renewal.

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ASPEN IMPACT: FRANKLIN PROJECT

Gavin

A New Kind of Service Corps in NYC
BY PAULA GAVIN

N

YC Service Corps was created in 2009 as the Franklin
Project’s first city in its City Service Corps, with a focus
on addressing New York City’s greatest needs through
impact volunteering. Today, we seek to expand our mission
to inspire and empower all New Yorkers to volunteer and
serve the city and each other.
As the chief service officer, proudly appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in
2014, I am passionate about the potential of volunteerism and service-year
programs to advance our city’s commitment to equality and opportunity for
all New Yorkers. Study after study show that volunteering enables a person
to be healthier, happier, live longer, and enhance one’s career. Service years
are different from volunteering but both build compassion, character, and
capabilities.
When we met with the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project in May 2014
and learned about their vision of expanded service-year opportunities as
both a transformative experience for the individual and for the communities
served, it was clearly an ideal partnership for making an impact. We quickly
started to brainstorm and plan how we could work together to make New
York City a model service-year city for the nation.
Since joining forces with the Franklin Project, we co-hosted a NYC
Service Summit with United Way of New York City in July 2014, featuring
Mayor de Blasio and 100 of our city’s top civic leaders, to test service years
as a strategy to address our city’s greatest needs. In July 2015, we hosted our
second NYC Service Summit to announce an expansion of our New York
City service years.
In November 2014, General McChrystal, chair of the Franklin Project,
joined a meeting with key city stakeholders to rally people around the cause.
Six short months later, our cross-sector planning committee endorsed a plan
to expand NYC service years, doubling service-year participants from 5,000 to
10,000 over the next few years. Throughout the process, the Franklin Project
team has been a source of inspiration, encouragement, and critical counsel;
they have helped us make the case for new service-year programs in which

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NYC Service Corps members can support our city’s commitment to
enhanced workforce development and career pathways while addressing
social needs defined by our leading city-government agencies. Imagine a
school technology corps that recruits young New Yorkers with the aptitude—
but no previous opportunity—to develop hardware and software skills,
working with public schools on their information-management needs. NYC
Service Corps members will get both professional development and personal
fulfillment during their service year, as well as a modest living allowance—
and a future career in the employment areas of greatest need in our city. This
is our vision for expanding service-year opportunities in New York.
Private and public funding for NYC Service Corps will be one of our
challenges. But we envision that the impact and effectiveness of programs
that harness neighborhood talent from underserved areas to meet the needs
of fellow New Yorkers who are also from underserved neighborhoods will be
our fundraising case for success.
Like any new initiative, moving fast requires an army of supporters and
partners who are willing to both plan carefully and take risks. Our steering
committee—United Way of New York City, the Franklin Project, State
Office of the Corporation for Community and National Service, and Service
Nation—have invested their time and talent to push this initiative forward
with our cross-sector implementation team. We have set a goal to implement
500 to 1,000 new service years in 2015–2016, with a focus on education and
economic and community empowerment—two critical areas to our city.
It is equally powerful to know that our work expanding NYC service
years can be a leading model for other cities that work with the Franklin
Project to fulfill their vision of a year of full-time national service as a cultural
expectation—a common opportunity and civic rite of passage for every
young American. We are inspired by General McChrystal’s call to action
and by the Franklin Project for creating a City Service Corps across America.
Paula Gavin is chief service officer of NYC Service Corps, an office of Mayor
Bill de Blasio.

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THE ASPEN IDEA

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ASPEN IMPACT: FRANKLIN PROJECT
Coufal

Making Service of Passion and Art
BY MARGO DRAKOS

O

liver Wendell Holmes Jr. described life as action and
passion. The Franklin Project is a vehicle to channel my
passion for the arts into action—into service—in the form
of ArtistYear. Through ArtistYear, exceptional young
artists perform a year of paid service, contributing their
devotion to their art and humanity in the service of youth in American
communities where arts access and education is limited.
Service. What does it mean? Why is this important? And how does
ArtistYear contribute to the Franklin Project’s mission of inspiring a 21stcentury national-service system? In July 2013, while attending the launch of
the Franklin Project, I witnessed an impromptu rendition of “Hallelujah”
with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Arthur Bloom, and singer Lance Corporal
Timothy Donley USMC on the Aspen Meadows lawn. Lance Corporal
Donley lost both legs above the knee and the use of his right arm from an
IED attack while on a patrol in Afghanistan in 2012. He and others like
him are the archetype of service—those who volunteer to take on great
risk on behalf of others though it may cost them great pain and, perhaps,
their lives.
This concept was strong on my mind. I was attending the Franklin
Project launch as an active-duty military spouse. My husband was deployed
to Afghanistan. At home, at work with the McChrystal Group, and within
the military community, I interact with men and women who embrace
service as a cornerstone of life.
Service binds us to one another and gives us a stake in our communities
and our country. It is an opportunity to demonstrate our humility,
acknowledging that none of our successes are completely our own.
Furthermore, in some way our successes are unfulfilled, not fully earned, if
others don’t have the opportunity to equal or surpass them.
I have had tremendous opportunity in my own life, in no small part
because I was fortunate enough to be born in the United States. Inspired by

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the Franklin Project’s call to action, I set about trying to earn the privilege
of my citizenship in some small way and to move its mission forward. I
considered my own passions and privileges, which, by good fortune,
brought me to Aspen­­—first, as artist-in-residence at the Aspen Music
Festival in my previous career as a cellist and, in recent years, as a tech
entrepreneur and chief technology officer.
I reached out to leaders at my alma mater, the Curtis Institute of
Music in Philadelphia. A discussion began. What does it mean to be a
21st-century artist-citizen? How are artists relevant to their communities?
What role could and should young artists play in national service? How
would a year of service following graduation with a performing or fine-arts
degree influence the life of a young artist going forward? In what way could
artist-citizens develop young community leaders, innovators, and mentors?
As our second pilot class of ArtistYear Fellows embarks on their service
year, we are committed in our focus to provide youth in underserved
communities with leadership, academic, and citizenship development
through artistic instruction, performance, and appreciation. In tandem with
community partners, Fellows curate projects, drawing upon their passions
and talents, and translating them into local action. From arts therapy at
a children’s hospital to teaching elementary students composition and
producing a high school musical, each program is impact- and metricdriven, laying a foundation upon which to expand ArtistYear across the
country.
In June of 2014, on the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, bassoonist
Wade Coufal opened the Franklin Project Summit with the Prelude from
the Second Bach Cello Suite. It was a fitting start to his ArtistYear.

Margot Drakos is the co-founder of ArtistYear and chief technology officer of
McChrystal Group.

Age

is overrated.
Lin blogs about political and
immigration issues. Works to support
educational equality. Helped create an
app to simplify the student code of
conduct. And she’s only 17.
Allstate believes today’s generation
can change our world for good.
Let’s not get in their way.
Let’s give them a hand.
See the rest of Lin’s story and learn
more about our commitment to
youth empowerment at
Allstate.com/GoodStartsYoung

Allstate is a proud underwriter of
the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Xiao “Lin” Mei
High school junior/education activist
Chicago, IL
© 2015 Allstate Insurance Co.
THE ASPEN IDEA

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ASPEN IMPACT

FINDING THE HOPEFUL ACTION IN
BALTIMORE—AND TAKING IT
BY GRETCHEN SUSI

I

f the turmoil around race and policing against the backdrop
of de facto segregated and often failing education, housing, and
employment systems had not yet come to the forefront of the
national consciousness, it certainly would have on April 27, 2015,
when Baltimore erupted in tears, anger, and flames over the killing
of Freddie Gray—another young black man dead at the hands of police.
What started in 2012 with the killing of Trayvon Martin gained an uncanny
momentum. The question of whether the United States was post-racial
after President Obama’s 2008 election was answered with a sobering no.
For the Baltimore Aspen Workgroup—business, community,
philanthropic, and religious leaders from the Baltimore region—the events
of April hit hard. They were the realization of the workgroup’s worst fears.
The workgroup first met in October 2011 at the Aspen Institute’s Wye
River Campus, for one of the Roundtable on Community Change’s (RCC)
Racial Equity and Society Seminars. The focus was on how Baltimore and
the nation had come to their current state of racial inequity and how to
promote racial equity going forward. The workgroup’s thirty-one members
now meet under the auspices of the RCC in partnership with Associated
Black Charities of Maryland and the Baltimore Community Foundation.
Our first premise is that the Baltimore region’s challenges require
long-term collective action in policy, social, and institutional practices,
and insight into cultural representations and belief systems. Our second
premise is that it can be done.

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A few days after things died down, Diane Bell-McKoy, workgroup
member and CEO of the Associated Black Charities, was in Sandtown,
one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in terms of both unrest and longterm disinvestment. “I saw a small birthday party taking place outside,” she
says. “Sixty percent of the block is vacant. A car that had been burning a
few days before was in plain view of the children. The little girls looked to
be seven or eight years old. They wore colorful party hats, and for as many
years as I have been in Sandtown, those party hats on the little girls hit me
so hard. It drove the point home to me once again that the people are not
broken, but they are living in and responding to a very broken system.”
The workgroup’s first meeting after the unrest was intense and
emotional. Members grappled with how best to contribute and agreed that
trying to catalyze action by building greater awareness made the most sense.
Even the best-educated Americans, regardless of race, often do not have an
understanding of how policies and practices in housing, employment, and
transportation created segregated communities across the United States.
There is also not a common understanding of how stigmatization of people
of color has perpetuated the system of policing and mass incarceration in
which Freddie Gray’s death became an incendiary event.
On September 18, 2015, the workgroup launched the Time Is Now
public-awareness campaign across local media. The campaign is slated
to continue for at least a year, with a radio campaign, public events, and
workshops for legislators and journalists. The campaign is having at least

FROM ASPEN FORUM
TO PRESIDENTIAL SUMMIT
BY DAVID MONSMA

some of its intended effects: The New York Times published a letter from
the Baltimore Community Foundation’s Tom Wilcox in which he named
structural racism as at the root of Baltimore’s current challenges; the
University of Baltimore is offering a new course on structural racism in
Baltimore, led by Provost Joe Wood, a workgroup member; The Baltimore
Sun and WYPR gave recent coverage to the workgroup’s public statement.
It has garnered the interest of key decision-makers, both black and white.
“This is the first time in my memory that such a diverse group has been
willing to stand in Baltimore and say, ‘Structural racism is the problem,’ ”
says Bishop Douglas Miles of Koinonia Baptist Church, a workgoup
member. “It is a point of celebration. But we make a mistake just to have
conversations. We need a listening campaign that draws together various
segments of the community to listen to one another about the issues facing
this city. We can talk for the next twenty years about structural racism, but
nothing changes until people work together and solve problems together.”
Michael Sarbanes, workgroup member and Baltimore City Public
Schools teacher, puts it this way: “Once the honest discussion is happening
and we have a clear-eyed analysis of the problem, we have to be prepared to
answer the question—and it’s not easy—‘What do we do?’ The challenge
to all of us becomes taking the hopeful action. We want to keep people
from thinking ‘It’s too big.’ We want people to know that there are lots of
positive things happening, and there’s a role for everyone. If we’re not part
of the solution, we’re part of the problem.”
Diane Bell-McKoy of Associated Black Charities of Maryland provides
an example of being part of the solution: a Baltimore business owner who
manufactures parts for airlines and the military and makes a point of
hiring ex-offenders. “It is an intentional part of his operation to give them
a pathway,” she says. “When he learned of the scheduling challenges that
many of them have in getting their lives back on track—especially things
like meeting with a parole officer—he changed the work hours for that part
of his shop. He made a five-day week a four-day week—longer days, but
giving them a day off allows them to handle all of those issues. He will tell
you that it is the most productive part of his organization. And he is trying
to figure out how to do more of this.”
As a new year approaches, the workgroup, too, is figuring out how to
do more. As Bishop Miles put it, “Unless our campaign says, ‘This is not
unique to Baltimore,’ then I think we miss a very meaningful opportunity.”
The Baltimore Aspen Workgroup’s goal for the near future is to see that
urgency so evident after Freddie Gray’s death be sustained long enough to
achieve real improvements. Baltimore is not alone in its legacy of structural
racism. But it could be peerless in overcoming it.

Powerful market forces of rapid innovation are driving
change in the energy sector—and driving it toward a
cleaner energy future. The Aspen Institute Energy and
Environment Program helps guide this evolution with
its Clean Energy Innovation Forum, which convenes
every summer in Aspen. Now in its seventh year, the
Forum reflects the increasing influence of clean-energy
innovation and is now a premier gathering of government officials, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and
leading thinkers. This past July, the forum was populated with faces from not only some of the leading
clean-energy companies but also leading technology
companies, legacy utilities, major energy consumers,
major financial institutions—and senior officials from
the Obama administration.
The forum took on particular significance last
summer, when many of the themes presented and
discussed in July were highlighted a month later by
President Obama in his remarks at the National Clean
Energy Summit in Las Vegas. The president announced
several new executive actions and private-sector commitments that will promote energy efficiency and accelerate the transition to cleaner sources of energy.
“The opportunity to engage in sustained nonpartisan conversation in Aspen at the Clean Energy Innovation Forum over the past few years,” says Ali Zaidi, a
longtime energy adviser to the Obama administration
and Aspen forum participant, “has inspired new policy
priorities of the administration, specific to how the
country’s energy system transforms to meet the needs
of the future. These include grid infrastructure investments, expanded energy-efficiency standards, and new
initiatives and partnerships to deploy distributed energy
resources like micro-grids and rooftop-solar.”
The transition to a cleaner-energy future will take
on even greater significance in December, as leaders
from more than 190 countries descend on Paris for the
Climate Change Conference with the aim of achieving a
legally binding and universal agreement on climate. The
Obama administration’s flagship climate-change solution, the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently
finalized Clean Power Plan, depends on the robust
growth of clean energy and greater energy efficiency.
Next summer’s Clean Energy Innovation Forum, with
its spectrum of diverse participants and expertise, will
encourage and enable the new, collaborative, crossdisciplinary thinking that will be necessary to move
progress forward in a post-Paris world.
David Monsma is the executive director of the
Institute’s Energy and Environment Program.

Gretchen Susi is the director of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change.
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Opportunities
Next Generation
Last August in Chicago, the Aspen Forum for
Community Solutions joined dozens of CEOs
and corporate leaders to meet with over 4,000
“Opportunity Youth” and launch the 100,000
Opportunities Initiative. Starbucks, along with
the Schultz Family Foundation, led the charge,
in collaboration with many other corporate,
philanthropic, and nonprofit partners. Howard
Schultz, a leader of the initiative and one of
several partner CEOs at the event, captured its
purpose in a single sentence: “Your zip code
should not determine your destiny.”
BY PETER WALKER KAPLAN

100,000 Opportunities Initiative

Participant at the Chicago
Opportunity Fair, the launch
event of the 100,000
Opportunities Initiative
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100,000 Opportunities Initiative

Rahm Emanuel and
Opportunities Initiative
Participant

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T

because of the economic imperative—young people who struggle
to earn a credential or degree after high school are a drain on the
entire economy and deprive the country of untapped intelligence
and creativity. Helping these youth is a social and moral obligation.
Talent is spread equitably, but opportunity is not.
In 2010, when Melody Barnes, the forum’s chair, convinced
Patty Stonesifer, the former CEO of the Gates Foundation, to chair
the White House Council for Community Solutions, the council
focused on both the imperative and the obligation. Along with fellow
council members, John Bridgeland, the former head of domestic
policy for George W. Bush, was determined to invert the prevailing
narrative about these youth. The council understood that defining
vulnerable youth as “disconnected” did not adequately emphasize
their potential and desire for support. The term also failed to

100,000 Opportunities Initiative

he CEOs, from some of the country’s largest
and most visible corporations, had strong
reactions to what they saw. More than 600
young people were offered jobs on the spot.
“Disconnected youth”: it’s a term that
frequently enters discussions of the economy’s shortcomings. Stories
range from young teenagers who join gangs, their hands forced, to
discouraged students who stop their educational journey, failed by
school systems and communities. This is systemic inadequacy at its
cruelest. The failure of educational institutions, amplified by the
demands of job markets, can dash human hopes early in life.
These young men and women are significant. This is not purely
because of their volume—nearly six million Americans aged sixteen
to twenty-four are not in school or are unemployed. And not only

At the Chicago
Opportunity Fair

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Grace Outreach/Leo Sorel Photography

Tutoring as part of Jobs
First NYC, an Opportunity
Youth backbone program

100,000 Opportunities Initiative

100,000 Opportunities
Initiative participants
in Chicago

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100,000 Opportunities Initiative

Schultz

These youth are optimistic, resilient, and determined
to beat the odds stacked against them. It was for these
reasons that the council convened the more positive
term “Opportunity Youth.”
highlight perhaps their greatest asset: these youth are optimistic,
resilient, and determined to beat the odds stacked against them. It
was for these reasons that the council conceived the more positive
term “Opportunity Youth.”
Stonesifer knew that more had to be done outside of government.
She approached Walter Isaacson and Elliot Gerson at the Aspen
Institute to help build something new, and that led to the launch of
the Forum for Community Solutions at the Ideas Festival in 2012.
The forum helps coalitions that work directly with young
people—K–12, postsecondary, juvenile justice, child welfare, and
others—and helps scale up effective programs that provide the
training and education that opportunity youth need to get jobs.
The coalitions are local and multisector: they include nonprofit,
business, government, faith, and philanthropic groups. Working
with foundations, individual donors, the White House Social
Innovation Fund, corporate partners, and other investors, the
forum has committed over $10 million in grants to twenty-three
communities around the country through three interconnected

initiatives: the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund; Opportunity
Works (with Jobs for the Future); and 100,000 Opportunities
Demonstration Cities, a new coalition of more than thirty major
corporations and foundations committed to hiring opportunity
youth and closing the skills gap.
In July 2012, the Forum for Community Solutions launched the
Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. Through the fund, the forum
has provided significant resources, training, and technical assistance
to dozens of grantee partners on the ground. The communities the
forum collaborates with—in places ranging from Philadelphia to the
Hopi Tribe, from Greenville, Mississippi, to the Bay Area, and from
Chicago to New Orleans—are seeing policies shift and effective
programs grow in support of the nation’s often forgotten low-income
young adults. The opportunity divide is starting to close.
Even as it continues to build the incentive fund, the forum
has been able to provide grants to more than twenty “backbone
organizations” that work across the systems and programs that touch
the lives of opportunity youth.

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A youth leader at
the 2014 Aspen
convening of the
Opportunity Youth
Incentive Fund

Last year, Jobs for the Future, the forum’s implementation
partner, was awarded a competitive White House Social Innovation
Fund grant of $6 million. Jobs for the Future and the forum have
just announced seven grants called “Opportunity Works,” this
time focused on “Back on Track Pathways.” These programs help
young people get reconnected to education and college credentials,
and the new pathways being developed are especially focused on
helping boys and young men of color. Building on the momentum
fueled by the large corporate coalition that launched the 100,000
Opportunities Initiative in Chicago, the forum is helping 100,000
Opportunities Demonstration Cities. Demonstration cities will
connect opportunity youth to apprenticeships, internships, and both
part-time and full-time jobs. This is a potential game-changer for
the forum’s work: in over twenty-five years of working with youth
and young adults, employers have seldom stepped up this powerfully.
Central to all this work on the ground is an unwavering belief in
the capacity, wisdom, and leadership ability of young people. Every
community the forum works with has made a deep commitment to

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including the voice of youth in planning and designing interventions
meant to serve them. The forum’s community commitment is rooted
in equity, which is defined by PolicyLink as the just and fair inclusion
in a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full
potential. Equity is both an economic driver and a moral precept.
Through the work supported by the forum, young people in the cities
the forum supports are now at the center of the conversation, serving
as active advisers on local youth councils and leading alongside
mayors and workforce professionals.
Steve Patrick, the forum’s executive director, recalls meeting one
such youth at a Chicago opportunity fair: Ryan Dalton, a young man
from New Orleans who became homeless and left high school after
Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home. Dalton tried to find work;
with no diploma and limited access to opportunity, Patrick says,
Dalton ended up running with the wrong crowd. He almost paid
for it with his life: he was shot three times before the age of twenty.
Thanks to caring adults who believed in him and to Café Reconcile,
a local youth workforce-development program, Dalton is today an

Hall Williams Photography

These programs help young people get reconnected
to education and college, and the new pathways being
developed are focused especially on helping boys and
young men of color.

Attendees and leaders at the
Chicago Opportunity Fair

100,000 Opportunities Initiative

In over twenty-five years of working with youth,
employers have seldom stepped up this powerfully to
link the demand of the labor market with training
and programs that serve young people.
AmeriCorps member and works for the Boys and Girls Club, helping
young people in New Orleans stay connected to education. Patrick
calls Dalton a “living testimonial to the power of a second chance.”
The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions aims to ensure
that millions of talented young people like Dalton get the
opportunity to turn their lives around while strengthening local
communities and the country. If recent activity is any indication,
it’s on the right track. After the powerful demonstration of
commitment to youth at the August opportunity fair in Chicago,
forum leaders joined around a table with Starbucks CEO Howard
Schultz, Academy Award–winning performer and actor Common,
and Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. The
subject: common goals and a shared future. The forum’s simple
principle—supporting second chances for opportunity youth—had
now become a movement.
Peter Walker Kaplan is research associate for Public Programs at the Institute.

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The Aspen Ideas Festival invites voices
from every discipline and from around
the world to share their big ideas.

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he Institute’s eleventh annual Aspen Ideas Festival
played host to some of the world’s most engaged
academics, politicians, business leaders, journalists, and artists as it looked for “Smart Solutions
to the World’s Toughest Challenges.” Starting with the second annual three-day Spotlight Health, festival-goers tackled a staggering array of issues, from the Ebola crisis to the
recent Charleston shootings to the beauty of mathematics
to the future of religion. They even took a deep dive into the
ocean. Hundreds of top creative minds came together with
an audience of more than 3,000 to provoke, inspire, and
challenge one another in conversations that start in Festival sessions but often end in long walks around campus or
late-night huddles around town. The following pages offer
just a snapshot of the Festival—which has become one of
the world’s premier intellectual celebrations. If you are hungry for more, you’ll find hundreds of thought-provoking
videos, essays, and photos at AIFestival.org.

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LANDRIEU: African-American men between 16 and
35 are an endangered species in certain neighborhoods
in the United States of America. I want to keep the country focused on the fact that 7,000 African-American men
were killed on the streets of America last year. AfricanAmericans are about 10 percent of our population, but
are 40 percent to 50 percent of the victims. And I don’t
know why the nation’s hair is not on fire about this. The
victims of violent crime are disproportionately AfricanAmerican men. I want to try to find a way to solve that
problem, which then gets you into the hard questions
about how did this culture actually get developed,
because, when you ask that question, everybody has to
get involved in that conversation. Then it takes you to
the institutions, it takes you to the community. I’m simply
saying to the country that it is an unacceptable state of
affairs for that many American citizens to be killed the
way they’re killed on the streets of America, and we
should address that problem however we can.

COATES: African-American life in this country has
been violent from the moment we got here in 1619.
There has always been a culture of violence. A culture
of violence that was put upon us. We have 250 years of
slavery, we have 150 years of Jim Crow, which is violence.
And during that period, we herd certain people into certain neighborhoods. We deprive those neighborhoods of
resources, we deprive those neighborhoods of jobs, we
create what sociologists call “criminogenic conditions.”
And then we are shocked that the murder rate is high
there. Why are you shocked? Who is shocked by this? I
object to that phrase “black-on-black crime” not because
I object to the numbers. People tend to kill who they live
around, period. That’s just true. If you study violence,
that’s just true. I mean, you’re talking about the most segregated population in America, through the vast majority of the 20th century and into the 21st century. I don’t
know who else would do the killing. When we use the term “black-onblack crime,” we ignore the fact that black people live in this condition
in the first place. It did not happen by accident. It’s a result of policy
decisions that we actually make.
Landrieu

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Riccardo Savi

A Culture of Violence

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and
Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates
tackle the roots of American violence.

Dan Bayer

I sit here as the
granddaughter of an
iron-ore miner and
the daughter of a
newspaper man and a
teacher. And the first
woman elected to
the Senate from the
state of Minnesota.
So that is what makes
me believe in this
country.”
—Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar
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The Robotic Moment

Sherry Turkle, founder and director of
the MIT Initiative on Technology and
Self, asks who we become when we
talk to machines.

Dan Bayer

We are in the “robotic moment”—not because
we’ve already built robots that can be our friends
but because we’re ready for them. We are programmed to respond to faces and voices. An expressive machine face turns on parts of our brains that
seek recognition. We want that face or voice to see
us, know us. We are triggered to seek empathy from
an object that has none to give. Sociable robots—
robots that mirror gestures, make eye contact, track
motion—light up parts of the brain that think it
wants empathy from an object. One sociable robot,
called “Kismet,” shows facial expression and speaks.
It doesn’t say meaningful things; it babbles with an
emotional cadence that captures the prosody of
human speech. This is thrilling work. But robots are
now being proposed as objects for your home—if
you’re lonely or your child is lonely or needs babysitting. And then a different set of issues kicks in.
It all starts with resignation—that machine companionship is better than nothing. There aren’t people for elder care, not enough teachers, not enough
babysitters. From there, we exalt the possibility of
simulation, and even talk as though the artificial
may actually be better: child-care workers might be
abusive; nurses might make mistakes; a robotic dog
will never get sick. In other words, it’s less demanding. When robotists show captivating moments of
people engaging with sociable robots, the tendency
is to show off, as though it’s a triumph—We did it,
we got a person to be happy with a machine. But
in this experiment, people are the reengineered
experimental subjects. We are performing for the
machine. We’re the ones who are changing. Do we
like what we’re changing into?
Soon there will be empathy apps to teach compassion
and consideration, computer games to reward collaboration
rather than violence. Using technology to repair the empathy
gap is an ironic rejoinder to a problem we didn’t need to have
in the first place. The robotic moment isn’t a moment to reject
technology. But it is a moment to find ourselves.

Turkle

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Riccardo Savi

Dan Bayer

This whole construct of
treating Iran as anything
other than a totalitarian
religious theocracy is nuts.
There are no moderates
in the Iranian government.
There are people that
present well in the Iranian
government; they’re going
to do what the ayatollah tells
them. There are puppets out
front. The moderates rose up
in 2009 and pretty much got
slaughtered.”
—Lindsey Graham

Graham

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Ryan

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Riccardo Savi

Olivier Douliery

We’re not winning the War
on Poverty. We now measure
success based upon inputs,
based on effort: how many
programs do we have, how
much are we spending? We’re
not measuring success based
upon whether we’re getting
people out of poverty, based
on results. This is the kind of
dialogue change that has to
happen. If we simply focus
on the old fight, it’s going
to be Republicans against
Democrats, liberals against
conservatives, not what
works and what doesn’t. If
we can switch this fight to
what works and what doesn’t,
then I feel like we can make
progress.” —Paul Ryan

I’m fully aware of all
the incredible ways
technology has liberated
us, empowered us, given
voice to millions of
people around the world
who wouldn’t have had
voices otherwise. I’m
also acutely aware that
technology is enslaving
us. This is the moment
to take our power back,
put technology in its
place: make clear that
we are the masters
and technology is an
instrument.”
—Arianna Huffington

Huffington

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Maajid Nawaz, the
co-founder of Quilliam and a
counterterrorism consultant,
describes his journey out of
Islamist Extremism.

How did I end up in the torture dungeons of Egypt state security? How did
somebody like me—born and raised
in the United Kingdom with a law
degree, an Arabic degree, and a master’s in political theory—end up in that
situation? The only answer I have is my
own personal story. And that starts in
Essex in the ’90s.
As a 14-year-old British-Pakistani boy,
I found myself hounded by a group of
neo-Nazi skinheads. They would ride
around “Paki-bashing.” They would
pull up carrying machetes, hammers,
and screwdrivers, and pounce on
passersby because of the color of their skin. By 15,
I’d witnessed three of my friends stabbed. Coupled
with that disenfranchisement and disillusionment,
something else unfolded on a far worse scale. In
Bosnia, blond-haired, blue-eyed Muslims were subjected to genocide by the Serbs. That was the first
time I realized others identified me as a Muslim. I’d
never considered myself one; I was raised in a very
liberal, agnostic way. But this was an awakening of
consciousness. And I took the view that defiance was
better than compliance. So I began self-identifying
as Muslim to stick a finger up at those behind the
genocide.
At that crucial moment, somebody I trusted came
along, somebody from my hometown, somebody
who had gone to medical college, who I respected,
and who began joining the dots for me in what I call
the “ideological Islamist narrative.” His argument
was: “It’s not just on the streets of Essex that you’re
being targeted, and it’s not just because of your skin
color. If you look to Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine”—
the list went on—“this is a global war against Islam
and Muslims.” Then he said: “How do you stop

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Dan Bayer

The Radical

Nawaz

When I am writing
fiction, I am really
mostly interested in
honorable intentions—
in the difference
between not good
and bad but
good and great.”
—Aaron Sorkin

Olivier Douliery

this war? What Muslims need is their own state to
protect themselves. To protect Muslims, we need to
resurrect the caliphate.” This simplistic black-andwhite worldview suited a young, angry teenager
faced with very black-and-white problems: a genocide across the continent and being hunted on the
streets. So at 16, I adopted this narrative and joined
Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extreme Islamist group but not a
terrorist group. Our mission was to popularize the
notion that Muslims must resurrect the caliphate.
In 1998, Pakistan tested its atomic bomb. The global
leadership of Hizb ut-Tahrir sent us to Pakistan to
found the organization there, because if the aim
was to resurrect a caliphate, why not have a nuclear
caliphate? In 1999, I went to Pakistan for the first
time, learned Urdu, and laid the seeds for the foundations of that organization. Eventually, I arrived in
Egypt. My activities continued; I recruited people in
Alexandria to Hizb ut-Tahrir. It all caught up with
me in 2002, when the Egyptian state security forces
raided my Alexandria flat, blindfolded me, tied my
hands behind my back, pried my baby son from my
arms, put me in the back of a van, and took me to
the dungeons.
Amnesty International took the bold decision to
adopt me as a prisoner of conscience on the principle that they didn’t agree with what I said but I
wasn’t a terrorist, I had every right to say it, and I
didn’t deserve torture for it. That was my first interaction with human rights: the only thing I’d ever
experienced was violence and more violence. When
Amnesty began campaigning for my release, it had
an impact on my heart. The other thing that influenced me were the debates, the discussions, and the
reading I did in prison. By the time I was released
from prison in 2006 and I returned to London,
I could no longer justify propagating what I now
believe to be a theocratic fascist ideology.
I had always been somebody driven by sense of
justice. And I joined Hizb ut-Tahrir in the first place
because of a deep sense of injustice. But I now realize that we had become the Nietzschean beast we
were attempting to defeat. When I left the group, I
predicted that if this caliphate ever came to fruition,
it would be hell on earth.

Sorkin

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White House adviser Valerie
Jarrett on the moments after
the Emanuel AME shooting in
Charleston, the president’s decision to sing, and the meaning of
“Amazing Grace.”

Two weeks ago tonight, at exactly 8:37,
I was copied on an email to the president
informing him that there had been this
atrocious mass murder. In the hours that
followed, we all grew to learn that, after participating in an hour-long Bible-study class,
a stranger, who had been welcomed into the
Emanuel AME Church, took his gun out and
shot repeatedly, reloading, and murdering
nine people. He left one person alive, who I
met when we went down for the service. He
told her, “I’m leaving you alive so that you’ll
tell the story about why I did this, which is to
try to attempt a racial war in this country.”
Of course, soon after that, the young man
was captured and arraigned—and a moment
I’ll never forget: listening to the sounds of the
family members whose loved ones had just
been brutally murdered in a church offer their forgiveness.
That spirit of our country says a lot about who we are. I
believe if we spotlight what was a catastrophically devastating crime, some good could follow—because the spirit
and the actions of that act of generosity have galvanized

Dan Bayer

Saving Grace

Jarrett

Riccardo Savi

Your zip code
matters a lot
more to your
life expectancy
than your
genetic code.”
—Garth Graham

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Graham

One factor in your life could
lower your risk of heart
attack and stroke, increase
your chances of living longer,
increase your productivity at
work as well as the likelihood of
getting a promotion or losing
weight: happiness—emotional
well-being. Happiness affects
us on a biological level. It
lowers stress hormones
and inflammatory markers.
Happiness is protective.”
—Vivek Murthy

Riccardo Savi

our country. The future is yet to be written, but the president’s message when he spoke in Charleston was: Let’s
recognize our nation’s history and some of the simmering
anger that still exists but realize that we have a choice. We
could do something different.
As the days unfolded, the nation was so focused on this
issue, and at times like this, I think the nation needs to
hear from its president. As we were on the helicopter to
Andrews the morning of the Charleston service, we were
talking about the speech. And he said, “When I get to the
part referring to ‘Amazing Grace,’ I think I might sing.”
And I said, “Hmm.” And the first lady said, “Why on
Earth would that fit in?” He said: “I don’t know whether
I’m going to do it, but I just wanted to warn you two that
I might sing. We’ll see how it feels at the time. I think if
I sing, the church will sing with me.” From the first, he
started to speak, and the church was clearly with him. It
was a powerful moment that I will never forget, particularly if you listen to the words of the song.
The president met with the woman who survived, the
woman the young man spoke to and said, “I want you
to live to tell the story,” along with the other families of
the victims;d she described what that was like. The president’s advice to her was, “Make sure you’re taking care
of yourself while you’re tending to those who lost their
loved ones, your fellow parishioners.” And she said, “You
know, Mr. President, I used to work in the prison where
that young man is now housed, and my friends still work
there, and they were telling me that he’s just so in tears
and remorseful.” And then she said, “In your prayers, Mr.
President, remember him, too.” Amazing Grace.

Murthy

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Caption

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Marriage for All

The most important
differentiation between
the Jesus of history and
the Christ of faith is that
the Christ of faith is a
kind of celestial spirit
who founds a brand-new
religion, whereas the
Jesus of history is a Jew
preaching Judaism to
other Jews.” —Reza Aslan

Legal titans Ted Olson and David
Boies—who successfully argued for
marriage equality at the Supreme
Court last June—discuss the ruling, equal protection, and the
Constitution.
OLSON: That political trend was discussed by the
justices. The dissenters said, “You’re winning 11
states, including New York, including Maryland,
including Washington,” and so forth. We can’t
have laws that take away individual rights and then
say, “Wait until the American people are willing to
vote to rectify that injustice.” That is not acceptable. That is why we have a Constitution. That’s
why we have a Bill of Rights. That’s why we have a
judiciary. Because when individual rights are being
taken away, even if popular sentiment is moving in
the right direction, you can’t wait for that.

BOIES: We have one country, one Constitution.
Just because you’re winning in 36 states, you’re
going to deprive people of their rights in other
states? But even if we could have won legislatively
in every state, it was important for the Supreme
Court to say, as a matter of constitutional law:
“Everyone is equal. Everybody is entitled to the
dignity that comes from being able to marry
the person you love.” If the legislature gives you
something, the legislature can take it away. It’s only when you
recognize this is a constitutional right that people can really
feel secure.

Riccardo Savi

Riccardo Savi

Boies and Olson

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Dan Bayer

Bush

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Dan Bayer

In 20 years, health
systems in Africa will
leapfrog over health
systems in the United
States in terms of
quality, affordability, and
functionality. Why? An
infusion of radical new
leadership from this
generation’s youth. These
incredible leaders think in
a fundamentally different
way about systems and
contribute to a worldwide
spirit of innovation,
exchange, and constant
network-building. They’ll
be working across
disciplines and cultures
to make health a human
right. In 20 years,
accessing affordable and
high-quality health care
will be like breathing air.”
—Barbara Bush

By the time kids are being
convinced to fight for ISIS on
social media, it’s too late. The
counter-narrative has to be
introduced way before that.
They’re taking all the color out
of the situation and making it
black and white: You can go,
or you can come with us and
do the most important thing
of your life. They tap into this
primal idea of doing something
meaningful in your life. Playing
whack-a-mole with their
accounts is futile.”
—Biz Stone

Stone

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Marsalis

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The actual concept of
blackness is not real.
It is something that
exists in this country
only for that group of
people who are deemed
to be black, to be the
other, and always to be
the counterbalance to
freedom.”
—Wynton Marsalis

Look at the victims of the
shooting who forgave the
shooter. How did they have
the ability to do that? Their
deep level of consciousness
and love just comes
from being on Earth and
deciding to do that, being
willing to do that. You have
to be willing to love.”
—Jon Batiste

Riccardo Savi Photos

Batiste

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CIVILITY, LIBERTY,
+ THE COMMON GOOD:
Sixty-Five Years of Aspen Seminars

Dan Bayer

> Todd Breyfogle
When Walter Paepcke, Robert Maynard Hutchins, and Mortimer Adler
set out the “Aspen Idea,” they recognized that our ability to make
humane judgments in any area of our lives depended upon the practice
of civil discourse—both in organizations and in political institutions. Like
Aristotle, they recognized that to live in a city, as citizens, was above
all to understand ourselves as civil beings: civility, from the Latin civis
(civitas translating the Greek polis), is the virtue of being able to live
together not by violence or coercion but by deliberation and persuasion.
By definition, politics that ceases to be civil ceases to be politics at all.

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How did I apply what I learned
in Aspen seminars to my life?
When I came up against a
challenge, I would tell myself to
remember the humanity
behind the problems. They
taught me to look to solve a
problem in a humane way.
What would I say to someone
thinking of taking a seminar?
Go now.
—Leonard Lauder

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For 65 years the Aspen Institute has been a laboratory where
we learn and practice the habits of civility. Perhaps uniquely, the
Institute combines expert knowledge with the habits of what Aristotle called “practical wisdom”—rational deliberation and persuasion with an eye to the common good. Whatever group has come
together, whether from policy, public, and leadership programs or
at a seminar event, becomes—for a moment—a civil association.
Participants are able to work together to move from thought to
action not necessarily because they agree but because they understand more clearly why they disagree.
Each of the nine or ten Executive Seminars on Leadership, Values, and the Good Society held each year gathers fifteen to twenty
people from diverse professions and places for a moderated, textbased dialogue over several days. Participants are nominated or selected for their leadership ability, both demonstrated and potential,
and are drawn from the corporate sector, civil society, nonprofit
organizations, the arts, journalism, government, and the military.
Many are senior executives; roughly a third are from outside North
America; all are keen to learn from accomplished professionals they
would otherwise not likely meet. The seminar complements participants’ expertise by exploring the frameworks of fundamental
values that lie behind decision-making. Drawing on excerpts from
some of the best minds of past and present—authors from Plato
and Aristotle to Martin Luther King and Vaclav Havel—seminar
participants test their own and others’ beliefs.

CREDIT

Ferenc Berko

Walter Paepcke and Adlai Stevenson

I’LL BE BACK A NEW PERSON

>

Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus and lifetime trustee,
has been an enthusiastic advocate for Aspen seminars
since he took his first one, nearly forty years ago. He
recently spoke with Corby Kummer, editor-in-chief of
The Aspen Idea, about what seminars have meant to him.

Lauder

Within a day or two of the start, the group’s reflective dialogue
shifts from the set speeches of political and professional correctness
to a frank engagement in what it means to live a good life in a just
society. At issue are our contested notions of democracy, liberty, efficiency, equality, community, justice, transcendence—all complex,
easily misunderstood goods. No issue is off the table: race, gender,
religion, politics, the existential solitude of making decisions that
affect our organizations and our families.
An Aspen seminar aims not at skills training but at two fundamental leadership qualities: self-awareness and self-correction, as
Paepcke put it in some of the earliest Executive Seminar materials.
Both are habits, not skills—habits that must be nurtured if they
are to flourish, habits that are the bedrock not only of genuine
leadership but of civility itself. In Aspen seminars, we get beyond
the superficial civility of dismissive politeness and acknowledgement of differences to the civility of genuine mutual recognition.
Firm common ground comes from understanding common ends
and clarifying how we can work together, even if we may disagree
about the means to those ends. “Leaving politics aside,” one participant recently remarked to another, “I admire your courage and
the values that inform it.”
The late Vaclav Havel wrote that civility can come about only
through the “complex, long-term, and never-ending work involving education and self-education.” Paepcke, Hutchins, and Adler
understood that the habits of civility could not be taught. But they
can be learned—if we give ourselves the space and time to listen, to
reflect, and to challenge ourselves and others to pursue the neverending work of self-education.
Todd Breyfogle is director of seminars for the Aspen Institute.

The Aspen Executive Seminar was the most soughtafter invitation one could ever imagine. To be invited to
participate was indeed an honor. I took my first seminar in
the summer of 1978, and it changed my life. It introduced
me to a set of values and thought processes I had only
remotely—or even vaguely understood—beforehand. The
seminar put my mind to work in a way it had never been
challenged before. I emerged with stars in my eyes and
have been an acolyte of the seminars ever since.
The seminar was two weeks long, and that it was in
Aspen mattered a great deal. It couldn’t have happened
elsewhere, because of the assembling of the group and
the fact that the group could speak easily. It took two or
three days to relax, and that was crucial: being there two
weeks was important.
The leaders were a circuit-court judge, I think Judge
Morris Lasker, and Najeeb Halaby. The cross-section
of fellow seminarians was also fascinating. It was the
other people who made it—coming into contact with
people I would never have had a chance to meet or see
again. College professors. John J. McCloy, the former
high commissioner in Germany. The head of the Federal
Reserve. It was extraordinary, and not just for what went
on in the classroom—but I did do my reading!
Here I was a grown man attending a graduate school.
This was 25 years after I’d graduated from college. I’d
worked, come into contact with a lot of people. Your mind
is fertile and ready to make contact with new ideas and
new thought processes. For instance, liberty. It may seem
crazy to you, but the concept of liberty was particularly
fascinating. One of the most moving pieces to me was
Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
Each selection was on its own good and important, but
together they elevated me.
I took The Corporation and Society the next year, which
was also like a graduate program, and one or two others.
Then in 1980, I organized a series of Aspen seminars for the
Young Presidents’ Organization, and I never looked back.
How did I apply what I learned in Aspen seminars to my
life? When I came up against a challenge, I would tell myself
to remember the humanity behind the problems. They
taught me to look to solve a problem in a humane way.
What would I say to someone thinking of taking a
seminar? Go now. Go with an open mind. Throw away your
calendar. Say, “I’m going and I’ll be back a new person—
and a better person.”

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> By Henrietta Holsman Fore
A Summer’s Idyll, a Winter’s Work
It was another long day in a hot steelmanufacturing plant in Burbank,
California, when the Aspen Institute
found me. I was a hiker and a skier in
Colorado, and a liberal arts graduate
of Wellesley College, and I had friends
who knew of Aspen and its Institute.

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Albert Schweitzer

The sheer physical beauty of
Aspen in the summer and in the
winter made the Aspen Executive
Seminar float in our minds as a
period of idyll, of intellectual and
personal exploration, of fresh
powder snow challenging our
skills, and the warm bonhomie
and camaraderie of friends.
racy Dallas television show, delivered in our best Texas drawls. The
most talented person who could write, but did not ski, became
our playwright. The producer was crucial, as was the costumer,
choreographer, music director, and actors, and so, new productions
were born.
As our class bonded, the memorable moments were how a
lawyer and an educator dissected and argued about honesty and
rights, how the military and civilian penitentiary systems viewed
liberty and justice, how business people articulated their purpose
in prosperity and the greater good, how civil society thought of
equality as an end in itself or a means to an end. There was time for
contemplation and time for civil debate. These debates, discussions,
and reflections were among friends with a high level of trust.
Participants would try out ideas they could not speak at home or at
work. Also, the readings were sent out very early, so the requirement
to read at night in Aspen was not as heavy as it can be during today’s
shorter format. The longer seminar allowed for more personal

Ferenc Berko Photos

I spotted a course on “Does God Exist?” with Mortimer
Adler. I had loved philosophy and history classes, and here was
an antidote to my work life in a manufacturing plant. It was
a glorious, sunny three days in Aspen.  Mortimer Adler was
in his prime: intriguing and sublime. A theory was posited,
focused, explored, formed, and broadened. The seminar was
like a sailing race. Ideas flew in on changing winds, and you
trimmed your sails to explore the ideas before you reached the
finish line with the end of the seminar. It was both exercise and
recreation for the mind. The biggest surprise was watching, and
participating in, the Socratic method. A leading question, an
open question, a demolished argument. And thus it began, an
Aspen seminar as an antidote to a manufacturing plant and the
drumbeat of business.
An invitation to an Executive Seminar quickly followed.
This presented the prospect of integrating Aspen ideas with a
working life. This time, we arrived in Aspen in winter. We were
two dozen, gathering for a two-week seminar. Our readings had
been sent months earlier, and most of us were in heightened
excitement of a first day of school, or a first day of vacation in
the mountains—and could it be both?
About half of our class was top leadership from large
American corporations. The other half was an assortment of
management leaders from US Penitentiary System, a leading
manufacturing company in Europe and the United States, an
executive  from a top Nordic media firm, a member of India’s
military establishment, a prominent American politician, a
journalist, an educator, a civil rights activist, a top lawyer, a few
business owners, and one who came just to ski Aspen powder.
In those days, most seminars were led by the smart and
energetic Zygmunt Nagorski. With Zyg as our pied piper, we
worked in class all morning and skied in the afternoons, with
discussions and disco dancing late into the night. This led to
terrific teamwork in small groups—and the highlight was our
Greek play. Since we were in co-ed classes in the 1980s, the
few women in the class took the women’s roles. Thus Antigone
and other assignments sprang to life with creativity. The
ancient Greek scripts were being rewritten and recomposed
in delicious ways. We rewrote Antigone as the then popular and

Photo Credit

Groundbreaking for Paepcke
Auditorium; Inset: Eero
Saarinen’s amphitheater tent,
designed for the 1949 Goethe
Bicentennial Convocation
and Music Festival

reflections on values in different settings and cultures. There was
time for team assignments, which created strong bonds, and time
to place our values, assumptions, and differences to a real live test.
We did not yet have cell phones and iPads, and we felt were at
a retreat in the mountains. The sheer physical beauty of Aspen in
the summer and in the winter made the Aspen Executive Seminar
float in our minds as a period of idyll, of intellectual and personal
exploration, of fresh powder snow challenging our skills, and the
warm bonhomie and camaraderie of friends.   We created close
bonds, and some would be friends for life. We all changed, and
wondered how our lives would be changed due to our Aspen
experience.
And some, like me, did not leave Aspen in the past. I was
interested in how the underlying ideas forged our societies, our
common good, and our pursuit of happiness. As the decades

progressed, I became a moderator. After traveling and working
around the world, I was interested in exploring how East, West,
and universal values and cultures interplayed. I became a
trustee and a Henry Crown Fellow mentor to follow the paths of
exploration begun at the Institute.
The classic readings assigned and discussed in the seminars
strike different chords in your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties,
sixties, so it is like greeting old friends who have been doing new
things. But in each decade, we hope we have used our curiosity,
creativity, ingenuity, and practicality to lead lives of values-based
leadership for the common good. If we have, then as Robert
Frost would say, that has made all the difference. 
Henrietta Holsman Fore is a trustee of the Aspen Institute.

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Teen Seminar participants

>

By Catherine Lutz
Bringing Seminars Home—And To High School

The discussion was part of the Hurst High School Great Ideas
Seminar, part of the Institute’s Community Programs at its Aspen
campus, generously underwritten by Institute trustee Bob Hurst
and his wife, Soledad. (Their gift also sponsors a similar seminar
for middle-school students run in collaboration with the Seminars
Department.) The students, who are chosen by their schools to
participate in the program, spend four half-days using text-based
discussion to explore themes and issues in society and in their
own lives. Texts for this particular session ranged from Plato’s The
Republic to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to a selection by Steve Jobs
called “How to Live Before You Die.”
The high school programs underscore the importance of
diversity in the Institute’s Community Programs, and the benefit to
both the individual participant and the group as a whole of having a
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strong scholarship component. The discussion of King’s “Letter
from Birmingham Jail,” for example, would not have been
nearly as interesting, relatable, or impactful without a diverse
cross-section of local teens represented—particularly because
the Roaring Fork Valley (where Aspen is the hub of the local
economy) has a large and under-represented Latino population.
“The core of the Aspen experience is you really learn
when you’re in a room with people for four days,” Bycel,
a senior moderator at the Institute, says. “You’re getting to
know people by being engaged in real conversation that’s
regrettably absent in our increasingly polarized society. No
one’s grading you, so you can take risks. And what they get
out of it is that life is not just college, a job, but what it means
to be human, what it means to feel.”

Ricardo Savi

Eighteen high school juniors sat around the hexagonal table, listening
attentively as moderator Lee Bycel started the discussion on Martin Luther
King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Several hands shot up as he asked
questions relating the text to societal issues. But when the discussion turned
to personal experiences with racial tension—that’s when it got intense. Two
Latina students spoke of their mothers getting mistreated for not speaking
English well. Others spoke of the passive racism and self-segregation that
exists in local schools. One student wanted to know why lower-level classes
tend to have more Latinos than white kids.

> By Rima Cohen
Just Back. Too Soon.
Six days. I want to reflect on my first
Aspen Executive Seminar’s impact
on me while the goodbye hugs,
tears, and promises to reconnect are
still fresh in my mind.

Community Programs encompasses several adult and teen
seminars modeled after the Institute’s flagship Executive Seminar,
which has been at the core of the Institute’s mission since its
founding in the late 1940s. The Aspen Executive Seminar,
designed by Mortimer Adler, uses moderated, text-based Socratic
dialogue to explore the underlying values of society and culture.
Clearly, the seminar programs are having an impact, not
only on students and adult community members but on the local
education system.
Barbara Floria, a teacher and adviser at Bridges High School
in Carbondale (30 miles from Aspen), started participating in
seminars because of her love of learning. But she says that she
“gained incredible ideas about teaching, engaging, and how to
ask questions.” Floria helps choose students from Bridges, an
intervention school for kids who struggle for various reasons,
to participate in the program. Most receive scholarships. Being
chosen for an Institute seminar is a huge vote of confidence,
she says.
For Joselinne Medrano, a junior at Roaring Fork High School
in Carbondale, the High School Great Ideas seminar she attended
“allowed me to think about my verse—what I will contribute to
the world,” she said. Her life goal of studying medicine was made
clear through the seminar, as was the confidence to pursue it.
Such symbiosis benefits both the Institute and the community,
says John Bennett, the former mayor of Aspen, who works at
the Institute to help connect it to the larger Aspen area. “The
Aspen Institute is such an amazingly valuable resource, and the
community for several decades really had not been able to take
advantage of that,” he says. “Community programs deepen the
connection between the Institute and the Aspen community.”

The seminar began for me when I received my binder
of some thirty texts that all participants are instructed
to read before they arrive. I was less than enthusiastic to
forgo my summer novels for Plato, Aristotle, Confucius,
de Tocqueville, Herman Melville, and others. I had read
some of these writers in college, and few of their works had
resonated with me at the time.
More than twenty-five years later, though, I discovered
that every one of them affected me in a way that they didn’t—
or probably wouldn’t have—before. Perhaps I now have the
professional and life experiences that give these readings
meaning and context. I know I have more motivation and
patience to work my way through them.
While the readings inspired me, I still questioned whether
it was indulgent or excessive to disconnect for six days to
discuss classic texts. My concerns melted away immediately.
It helped that our group gelled from the outset. The
thirteen participants represented five different countries
and had careers that spanned the military, human rights,
neuroscience, financial services, environmental activism,
and business. The diversity of perspectives and experiences
added richness to the discussions; the intelligence and
warmth of the individuals made them stimulating and fun.
The high level of trust in the seminar room allowed for a
frankness and vulnerability that is rare or nonexistent in
one’s professional life. We all liked each other, to boot.
It felt like a privilege to have the time and space to
reflect on some of the most important questions in life and
leadership: What is the proper balance between equality and
liberty? Is it better to be feared or loved? Are humans born
good? Can we change someone’s basic nature? What are the
trade-offs between taking care of my family and tackling
society’s problems?
During the week, there were tears (of joy and of sadness)
and questioning of our career paths and the meaning of our
lives and legacies. When the seminar drew to a close, I found
myself wishing I had more time to absorb and reflect. Others
felt similarly. One described the discussions as “blinders being
taken off.” Another spoke of finding clarity and reaffirmation
of the values that were the cornerstone of her work. Some
found more questions than answers. All agreed that it is
critical—perhaps essential—to spend some time thinking
deeply, questioning truths, and assessing how to make our short
time on Earth as meaningful as it can possibly be. Six days. It’s
hard to imagine a better way to use them.

Catherine Lutz is a writer based in Aspen.

Rima Cohen is managing director of the Health Innovators Fellowship.
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90
The Aspen Journal of Ideas
offers thought-provoking
analysis and issue-defining
information from the programs
and partners of the Institute.
The digital magazine, updated
weekly, is at aspen.us/journal.

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How the Flag Came Down
In the hot summer of 2015, we learned
how a Confederate flag gets removed
from our statehouse grounds. Here’s
what it took: the murder of nine innocent victims because they were black.
Confederate flag license plates on the
killer’s car. The world learning that he
wanted to start a race war.

Twenty Best Ideas
of the Day
Every day at noon, the Institute’s
Journal of Ideas posts the Five Best
Ideas of the Day, taken from all
over the web. Here are twenty
provocative, new ideas, many of
them by Institute contributors, that
recently appeared. You’ll find links
at aspen.us.
Netless in the Gig Economy
The challenge with this new
economy—call it the “1099
economy”—is that even if you’re
doing really well, you’re on a high
wire without a net. That may work
for many workers—until the day
it doesn’t.

Insights, Extracted
The Institute’s online Journal of
Ideas fleshes out innovative solutions
to pressing issues and tells stories
about good policy that will change
lives. In each issue of The Aspen Idea,
we present excerpts of just a few
notable articles that appear in full
at aspen.us/journal.
Education Won't End
Income Inequality
It seems unlikely that either
the demand for service workers
or their wages and working
conditions will change as their
education levels increase. In a
country that purports to value
work, we ought to consider why we
are so unwilling to pay for it.

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HOW THE FLAG

CAME DOWN

In the hot summer of 2015, we finally learned how a
Confederate flag gets removed from our statehouse grounds.
Here’s what it took: the murder of nine innocent victims
because they were black. Confederate flag license plates
showing up on the killer’s car. The world learning that he
wanted to start a race war.
June 17, 2015
It was a Wednesday. The state Senate was supposed to adjourn
for the year two weeks earlier. But this session had been an
interminable mix of fake issues, boredom, and political rhetoric,
woven into an inefficient and frustrating record of failures. We call
that “less government” in our state.
So the Senate was called back into extraordinary session the
week of June 16 to grind out a budget before the government shut
down on July 1.
As a rookie member of the finance committee, I had the luck of
sitting on the lowest seat, closest to the door. Behind me and to my
left sat a quiet and thoughtful man, Senator Clementa Pinckney—
“Clem” to those of us who served with him. Clem rarely spoke in
committee. But when he did, his deep, smooth, and rumbling voice
echoed.
Clem and I have been seated near each other for more than ten
years. We started as the two youngest senators in South Carolina,
gaining seniority as time went by.
Over the last few years, we became closer friends as he
supported my campaigns for governor. Clem was an African
Methodist Episcopal preacher, and he would meet me in churches
across the state to vouch for me and talk about the urgent need for
change in our state. He always called me “brother” when we spoke
in churches together. Clem was that oddity of a politician who
never talked about himself.
During the governor’s campaign of 2014, I called for South
Carolina to lower the Confederate flag from the state Capitol
grounds. The goal was to restart efforts to move the flag that had

stalled in recent years. I told friends that if we made it an issue, the
flag could come down within three years whether or not I was the
next governor. The incumbent governor said it should keep flying
and mocked our efforts. But Clem and others understood and
appreciated the stand I took, even if my campaign staff was not
thrilled.
On that day in the finance committee meeting, Clem was
troubled about a provision he didn’t think would be good for foster
kids. It’s the kind of issue he cared about, even when it gained
scant attention from the committee. Clem cared about “the least of
these.” He cared about the voiceless. He cared about foster kids. He
cared, which is a somewhat rare trait in the modern political world.
We adjourned the meeting. Clem and I and other Democrats
headed to our small conference room to eat lunch together and
strategize before the Senate session began.
At lunch, Clem was asked to say the blessing. His deep voice
rose quickly, loudly, smoothly. He blessed our food and thanked
God for “all he had bestowed upon us.” Clem’s blessings of our
food were always prayers of thanksgiving and always quickly
delivered. I appreciated both.
“Clem, l love those AME prayers; they sure aren’t the Baptist
kind,” I said to him, getting ready to deliver the punch line:
“because they are always short.” It was a running joke with
us. Clem smiled his big, kind, gentle smile. The smile that said
everything was all right in his world.
He was murdered less than nine hours later, in his own church,
with eight other members of his flock.

BY VINCENT SHEHEEN

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The initial reaction
of our state’s highest
leaders was mushy
and dodgy, bascially
saying that now was
not the time to discuss
the Confederate flag.

Change
Change is just harder in the South, harder than it should be. But it
feels like a little bit of the South changed last summer.
The Confederate battle flag has flown boldly on the grounds of
many Southern statehouses since the 1960s civil rights movement.
In my home state of South Carolina, the legislature ran it atop the
Capitol Dome in 1961, where it flew for almost forty years. In 2000,
the legislature and governor moved it from atop the dome to wave
in front of the statehouse on a tall brass pole. Or as many have said,
“moved from the top to in your face.”
Many of us in South Carolina, including some members of
the Aspen Institute’s Liberty Fellowship, have urged our leaders for
years to retire the Confederate flag from the statehouse and place it
in a more appropriate museum setting. How could we fly a symbol
that divides our people on the front lawn of the statehouse and feel
good about it?
In the hot summer of 2015, we finally learned how a
Confederate flag gets removed from our statehouse grounds. Here’s
what it took: first, the murder of nine innocent victims because they
were black. Second, Confederate flag license plates showing up on
the killer’s car. Next, the media finding photos of the killer flying
the Confederate flag. And finally, the world learning that he wanted
to start a race war.
Within a few weeks, the years-long campaign—which included
marching, begging, debating, rallying, logical arguments, and a few
political suicides, all unsuccessful—finally came to an end. The flag
came down and was placed in a museum where people can learn
the good and the bad about my state’s history.
Even with the racist massacre driving attention, retiring the
flag was not easy to accomplish. The initial reaction of our state’s
highest leaders was mushy and dodgy, basically saying that now was
not the time to discuss the Confederate flag. But a small group of

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us, including several Liberty Fellows, decided that now was indeed
the time. We mourned the loss of our friend, Clem, at the same
time we began to make public appearances at rallies calling for the
removal of the flag. Our goal was to place so much pressure on our
elected officials, from the governor on down, that they would have
no choice but to change their positions on removing the flag. It was
not an easy effort, but it was a successful one.
Behind the scenes, dozens of political skirmishes played out,
including an effort by some to fly a different Confederate flag.
Through relentless focus and strategy, those of us working to
retire the battle flag prevailed in a series of very close votes in the
Senate and House. We passed a bill retiring the flag just 22 days
after Clem and his church members were killed. And it came
down, ending years of turmoil, division, and boycotts relating to
the symbol.
Some people say that during these three weeks, South Carolina
came together and we saw leadership. As the chief sponsor of
the legislation to remove the flag, I am thankful for what was
accomplished and especially proud of the individual Liberty Fellows
who helped rally public support and put pressure on elected officials
to change their long-held positions.
But as someone who loves my state dearly, I can’t help but be
sad that it took a massacre for South Carolina to do the right thing.
And as the Senate seatmate of Clem Pinckney, I wish more than
anything that he could have been with us when the flag came down
instead of being the reason it did.
Vincent Sheheen represents South Carolina’s 27th District in the state Senate. He
is a partner at Savage, Royall and Sheheen LLP, and a member of the third class
of the Liberty Fellowship in the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

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INSIGHTS,
EXTRACTED

THE ASPEN
JOURNAL OF IDEAS
captures essays,
conversations, and
opinions from the
leaders of the Institute
community. The goal
of the Journal, an
online publication, is
to highlight important
ideas, flesh out
innovative solutions
to pressing issues, and
tell stories about good
policy that will change
lives. Here are just a
few of the voices that
appeared in the Journal
in recent months.
VISIT ASPEN.US/JOURNAL
EARLY AND OFTEN TO HEAR MORE.

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THE PROMISE OF LIBERTY FOR THE
REFUGEES OF SYRIA AND BEYOND
By Jonathon Price

If the words emblazoned on the Statue of
Liberty don’t serve as a mission statement for the
United States, we could take note of one of the
statue’s lesser-known features. At the very base
of the statue, only visible if viewed from above, is
a broken chain wrapped around Lady Liberty’s
feet. It is meant to symbolize her “free forward
movement, enlightening the world with her torch
free from oppression and servitude.” Likewise,
the United States must move—must act—and
continue to be the beacon that allows refugees to
be free, to be safe, and to build a new life.

HATCHING NEW IDEAS TO DELIVER
HEALTH CARE TO THE LAST MILE
By Nikki Tyler and Daniel Brown

As devastating as the Ebola outbreak has been,
the next outbreak could be far worse. Bill Gates
has stated that the event most likely to kill more
than ten million human beings in the next twenty
years is a pandemic disease, and the World Bank
has estimated that a global pandemic could
cost the global economy up to $3 trillion. The
Ebola outbreak called attention to the fact that
hundreds of millions of people are unable to
access high-quality health care and reminded us
that everyone is at risk if even one health system
is not functioning.

THE MYTH OF BEING
BAD AT MATH
By Jo Boaler

Advances in
neuroscience challenge
our basic assumptions
about education,
some of which have
discouraged a lot of
students from sticking
with it. The most
popular and damaging
of these assumptions has
been that some people
can do math and others
just can’t. Parents believe
it, some teachers believe
it, and soon enough, the
students believe it, too.
Luckily, the evidence
against this notion is
piling up.

WHOSE SCORECARD IS IT ANYWAY?
By Josh Wyner

Our nation’s thousands of colleges and universities
offer incredibly diverse opportunities for students
from every walk of life to develop their talents.
As the cost of higher education grows and
state budgets become more constrained, these
institutions must set themselves apart not just by
the programs and amenities they offer but by the
results they deliver.
UNLOCKING THE PROMISE
OF LATINOS IN AMERICA
By Woody Hunt

We are working to amplify the voice of the
significant and existing leadership within the
Hispanic demographic to fully engage and build
our society—not as a bystander but as an architect,
developer, and opinion-maker, alongside those who
today are the prevailing order due to wealth, work,
or wisdom.

A ROADMAP FOR
RESTORING THE
AMERICAN DREAM
By Walter Isaacson

For our nation to power
through our next great
revolution, we need
to reinvent America
as an innovation hub.
We need to work every
advantage possible. We
need to recognize that
education is the greatest
talent engine we possess
and use collaboration to
multiply those talents.
We must take calculated
risks together that will lay
the groundwork for our
emergence as a stronger,
more resilient nation.

The most damaging assumption has been
that some people can do math and others
just can’t. Soon enough, students believe it too.
PRINCIPLED PLURALISM REQUIRES THE COURAGE TO HAVE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS
By Meryl Chertoff

The attack in Charleston, South Carolina, was framed by its perpetrator as an attack on African Americans. But
there are many places he could have accomplished the same murderous goal. That he chose a church says to us
that his attack was based not only on race—it was an attack on religion. That the response of thousands was to
decisively say no to this is a triumph. It is the triumph of the many people of good will over the haters.

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NETLESS IN THE
GIG ECONOMY

P

eople are connecting with new kinds of job options
through digital platforms. Today, online platforms
such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and Etsy
can match supply and demand for things many
people may never have thought about monetizing
before: A spare room. A ride. Free time.
But many of the business models in this on-demand
economy are built on the premise that workers are independent
contractors, not employees. That means companies do not have
to pay costs such as health insurance or retirement benefits.
They also typically do not pay a share of unemployment or
workers’ compensation coverage.
So the challenge with this new economy—call it the “1099
economy”—is that even if you’re doing really well, you’re on
a high wire without a net. That may work for many workers—
until the day it doesn’t. That’s also the day taxpayers could be
handed the bill, which is why Washington needs to start asking
some tough policy questions.
How do we think about these questions in a way that
maintains the freedom and flexibility and innovation of the
new economy but still recognizes that there needs to be some
level of social contract?
The biggest challenge may be the change in the employeremployee relationship. Are there options for providing safetynet benefits to workers who are not connected to a traditional
full-time employer? Who should administer them? Should they
be opt-in or opt-out?

Part of the reason these questions arise is because—love
it or hate it—Obamacare has given people the ability to have
health care that is not tied to their employment.
So as we look at traditional state-run social programs,
we could also look to the Affordable Care Act’s health care
exchanges as a public-private model for these benefits. We
could perhaps borrow the idea of the “hour bank,” used by
the building trades for sixty years, to administer benefits for
members who work for a series of contractors. The model
could in part be consumer-driven, too—perhaps allowing
customers to designate a portion of their payments to a fund
that helps support workers.
You don’t want to squash innovation. As I talk with people
working in the on-demand economy and even with CEOs,
though, they all realize there need to be policy prescriptions.
We don’t want to come in heavy-handedly. But we also don’t
want to default to 100 different litigation cases all across the
country. We have a moment right now, before providing social
services to workers in the 1099 economy gets polarized. By
collaborating with the people who are working in these new
companies and with the people who are innovating in providing
social services, we can get ahead on the policy that will prevent
a new generation from working without a safety net.
Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, has been in office
since 2009.

The challenge with this new economy—call it the “1099
economy”—is that even if you’re doing really well, you’re
on a high wire without a net. That may work for many
workers—until the day it doesn’t.
BY SENATOR MARK WARNER
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TWENTY
BEST IDEAS
OF THE DAY

1

Your next insurance
inspector could
be a drone.

Homeownership is too
expensive to stay part
of the American dream.
Mechele Dickerson
in The Conversation

2

Julie Rovner
in Kaiser Health News

3

6

Nafeez Ahmed
in Middle East Eye

7

America needs hip-hop
in our conversation
about race.

This program to teach
inmates to tame wild
horses gives both a
better life.
Melanie Ruiz in Ozy

4

Talib Kweli
at the Perception Institute

8

Bananas are doomed.
Can we genetically
modify their salvation?
Mark Hay in Good

It’s time to kill the
performance review.
Melissa Dahl in
The Science of Us

5

9

Stop buying food in
bulk. It wastes food
and money. Shop more
frequently instead.

Baltimore’s vacant
industrial buildings can
spawn a new maker
movement.
Anthony Flint in CityLab
THE ASPEN IDEA

Cameron Graham
in Technology Advice

Water and Oil: Is Saudi
Arabia heading for a
collapse?

Liberal arts majors—not
pre-med students—can
make better doctors.

98

Every day at noon, the Institute’s Journal of Ideas posts the FIVE BEST IDEAS OF
THE DAY, taken from all over the web. Here are twenty provocative, new ideas, many of
them by Institute contributors, that recently appeared. You’ll find the links at aspen.us.

10

Eric Holthaus in Slate

WINTER 2015/2016

11

Investment advice
for America’s energy
future? Short coal.
Carl Pope in Bloomberg View

16

Listen to what women
say, not how they say it.
Ann Friedman
in New York Magazine’s The Cut

12

Is it time to say
goodbye to tipping?
Twilight Greenaway
in Civil Eats

13

The next billion
entrepreneurs
will be women.
Carol Leaman in The Next Web

17

Can scientists build a
better sweet potato to
fight blindness?

Micropayments for news
stories might be making
a comeback.
Matt Carroll in MediaShift

14

Your phone can tell if
you’re depressed.
Lucas Matney in TechCrunch

15

The “entrepreneur
gene” is a myth.
Aimee Groth in Quartz

Adityarup Chakravorty at the
American Society of Agronomy

18

End the bias against
black jurors.
Mary Turck
in Al Jazeera America

19

America wants you to
feel ashamed about
procrastinating. Don’t.
Jonathan Malesic
in The New Republic

20

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IDEAS

EDUCATION
WON’T END INCOME INEQUALITY
In a country that purports to value work, we ought
to consider why we are so unwilling to pay for it.

L

et’s try this thought experiment. Imagine that every poor
person suddenly has successfully completed a rigorous
course of study and earned a bachelor’s degree. Do we
then no longer need child care workers, home health aides,
landscape workers, security guards, food servers, office
cleaners, and retail sales associates? Will companies employing
these workers suddenly decide that since they now have bachelor’s
degrees, they should be paid more than $11 or $12 per hour? Will
corporations now decide that these workers should have regular
schedules and a predictable income? Be paid sick leave and have the
opportunity to save for retirement?
It seems unlikely that either the demand for service workers or
their wages and working conditions will change as their education
levels increase. Indeed, that has been the experience to date. The
truth is that we have more workers with bachelors’ degrees than ever.
Some economists find there is an excess of college graduates who
are competing for jobs that don’t require a degree. The New York
Federal Reserve found that 46 percent of recent college graduates
and 35 percent of college graduates overall are employed in jobs
that do not need a college degree.
In addition, while the rate of growth of jobs that require postsecondary skills is high, it is still the case that most jobs do not require
post-secondary credentials at all—of any type. The US Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported that in 2012 only about one-third of
jobs required any post-secondary credential. And while the rate of
growth for jobs requiring post-secondary credentials is faster than it
used to be, America will still create more jobs in the next decade that
don’t require anything beyond a high school diploma.
No one can deny that it’s heartwarming to see an individual
come from difficult circumstances, get an education, and achieve
economic security. But we should not imagine that an inspiring story
for an individual provides a solution for the masses.
Next, let’s look at what keeps people from succeeding in
education right now. One of the leading indicators that children and
young adults will do poorly in school is their economic status: poverty
correlates with poor education attainment. In particular, for young
adults in post-secondary school, Public Agenda found that the main
reason these students leave college without completing it is the need

to work and make money. In fact, the students who leave college
report that even if they had free tuition, they would still need to work
to support themselves and would be unlikely to go back to school. To
escape poverty, a person should get an education; but poverty is likely
to prevent a person from succeeding in education.
Education is a wonderful thing, but it is not costless and it is not a
silver bullet to address poverty. One factor glaringly absent from all
the celebratory discussions of education is the changing condition
of work. The reason it remains a good idea for most people to at
least try to get a college degree is not because today’s jobs require
college-level skills. Rather, it’s because employment options available
to people without a college degree are terrifyingly awful. And in a
country that purports to value work, we ought to consider why we
are so unwilling to pay for it. We should ask ourselves why the people
who care for our children and elderly parents or grandparents, the
people who prepare and serve us food, the people who clean our
homes and secure our office buildings—why do all of these people
deserve poverty-level wages?
It is undeniable that investing in education is a good thing.
But if we want the masses to get “good jobs” so they can support
themselves through their work—and not just the lucky few who
can get ahead of their peers through education—then we need to
look much more carefully at the nature of work and the kind of
opportunity a job offers. Businesses have choices about the ways
they structure work, just as surely as individuals have choices about
pursuing education. Our society is unlikely to address the inequality
we face by encouraging an arms race among people desperate
to gain access to shrinking opportunities for decent work. We
must address the dynamics that encourage companies to extract
from, rather than invest in, their employees. We need to raise our
expectations of the rewards of work and improve the quality of
opportunities available to people willing to work hard. If we want
people to climb the economic ladder through education, then we
need to ensure that ladder rests on a foundation of work that pays
enough to live on.
Maureen Conway is the executive director of the Institute’s Economic
Opportunities Program.

BY MAUREEN CONWAY
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FACES:

ACTION FORUM

Karla Blanco, Alexandra de Sola

Margot Pritzker, Rehmah Kasule,
Dele Olojede

ssling,
Alexandra Ki
a
pt
Gu
n
Arju

Dele Olojede, Quratulain Bakhteari, Walter Isaacson
Leili Ge
ra

mi

Suzanne Malveaux,
Jonathan Ferrara

WHO: Members, alumni, and friends of the Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network from every corner of
the globe meet each year in Aspen. Some of the faces at the 2015 event included Richard Braddock, Lynda and
Stewart Resnick, William E. Mayer, and Anne Welsh McNulty. WHAT: The Aspen Global Leadership Network’s
Action Forum, a unique gathering held to inspire gifted leaders as they take on world-changing projects—from
hunger and nutrition to education, sustainable fisheries, political empowerment, and more. WHERE: Action
Forum participants gathered at the Institute’s Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado. WHEN: July 28–31, 2015.
WHY: The Action Forum asks leaders to pledge their talents to do even more by setting new and greater goals.

100

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Dan Bayer

David Brooks,
Skip Battle

FACES: SOCRATES BENEFIT
auder

d Gary L

Laura an

Elaine Deming,
Ann Nitze,
Claiborne Deming

John Irons, Erin Brooks, Kenneth Sawyer

Marjorie
S
Deborah ims, Gloria Gon
zalez,
Marton

Reid Hoffman

Leigh Vogel

Bass
Mercedes T.

Jeffrey Rosen,
Laura Lauder

WHO: Co-chaired by Laura and Gary Lauder, Mona Williams, and Scott Sillers, the dinner honored Jeffrey
Rosen and featured a conversation between LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman and Walter Isaacson. WHAT:
Institute supporters and emerging leaders gathered to explore contemporary issues under the guidance of
expert moderators such as John Irons, managing director of global markets at the Rockefeller Foundation, and
James Traub, columnist for ForeignPolicy.com and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.
WHERE: Seminars and the dinner took place on the Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado. WHEN: July 10–13,
2015. WHY: Participants spent time in thought and in engaging conversations on the big issues of the day,
including the future of work, race and cultural identity, and the future of technology and privacy.
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FACES: ASPEN SECURITY FORUM
James Comey, Clark Ervin

Loretta Lynch, Andrea Mitchell

Caroline
K
Jeh John rass,
son

Matt Olsen, Mike Isikoff, Juliette Kayyem

er,
H. Webst
William hl
ta
S
y
Lesle

Noah Shachtman,
John Pistole, Gordon Chang

WHO: National-security experts, industry leaders, leading thinkers, journalists, and concerned citizens. Some of
the faces at the 2015 event included Keith Alexander, former National Security Agency director; Lisa Monaco,
assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism; Lukman Faily, Iraq’s ambassador to the
United States; Deborah James, secretary of the Air Force; and James Clapper, director of national intelligence.
WHAT: The Aspen Security Forum, where participants gather to discuss the nation’s most dangerous threats;
presented by the Institute’s Homeland Security Program in partnership with CNN. WHERE: The Institute’s
Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado. WHEN: July 22–25, 2015. WHY: The Aspen Security Forum allows
participants to raise critical questions and explore the key national security issues of the day.
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Dan Bayer

John Allen,
Ja
Bob Dickie, ne Harman,
M
Walter Isaa ichael Chertoff,
cson

FACES: SUMMER CELEBRATION
rton
John Fulle

Ken Burns,
Robert McDuffie

Annie and Gerald D. Hosier

Uday and Nitya Khemka

Josh and G
ary Lauder

Ken Adelman,
Robert K. Steel,
Ken Burns

Emily Chaplin

yama
Teisuke Kita
Kitayama,
o
ik
sh
Yo
iko Ito,
Ken Ito, Ke

WHO: Hundreds of friends of the Institute gathered for the 22nd Annual Summer Celebration, chaired by Jessica
and John Fullerton and honorary co-chairs Carol and Ken Adelman. WHAT: This year’s Summer Celebration
honored award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. WHERE: The discussion took place in the Greenwald
Pavilion on the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus, and a reception and dinner were held in the Doerr-Hosier
Center. WHEN: August 8, 2015. WHY: Burns received the Public Service Award and discussed his thoughts on
storytelling, US history, and what it means to be an American.

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FACES: ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2015
Laura Car
stensen

Ashley Judd

Philippe Cousteau

David Koch,
Tom

Steyer

dman,
Karl Frie
e Debs,
Catherin arpenter
C
Cameron

Katie Couric,
Wynton Marsalis

WHO: Some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other
leaders from around the world and across a variety of fields gathered in Aspen this summer. They interacted
with each other and an audience of thoughtful participants who delved deeply into a world of ideas, thought,
and discussion. WHAT: In partnership with The Atlantic, the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival featured a diverse array
of topics, from the future of religion to wellness, global health, recent US Supreme Court decisions, violence,
technology, mathematics, the arts, and the endangered American Dream. WHERE: Every year, the Festival is
held at the Institute’s Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado. WHEN: June 23–July 2, 2015. WHY: Gathering the
sharpest minds from many disciplines together on one campus gives rise to creativity, inspiration, and discovery.
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Dan Bayer Photos; Steyer/Koch by Ricardo Savi

Jon Batiste,
Monique Clarine

IN MEMORIAM

Melva Bucksbaum (1933–2015)
A renowned art collector, curator, and philanthropist, Melva Bucksbaum’s
vision and leadership left an indelible mark on the Institute, where she
served as a trustee. She was passionate about supporting young artists
and invigorating the arts in America, including through the Bucksbaum
Award and her generous support of the Institute's Arts Program.
In addition to her service as an Institute trustee and co-chair of the
Aspen Meadows Arts Advisory Committee, Bucksbaum served on the
boards of the Whitney Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture
Garden, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
among many others.
Her legacy will live on in the many Aspen Institute programs that she
guided and supported over the years, as well as in the people for whom
she advocated a deeper connection with the arts.
“Melva was a natural addition to the Aspen Institute board. Her
intellect, combined with her aesthetic curation of life and her
long history with Aspen, made for the perfect embodiment of
'mind, body, and spirit.' ”
—Chairman of the Aspen Institute Board Bob Steel 
 

Yotaro Kobayashi (1933–2015)
One of Japan’s great business and nonprofit leaders, Yotaro “Tony”
Kobayashi was instrumental in championing the Institute’s core
mission—to foster values-based leadership—both in the way he lived
and as president of the Aspen Institute Japan.
Kobayashi’s first experience with the Institute was in 1977, when he
participated in an Aspen Executive Seminar in the United States with
fellow business leaders, one year prior to taking office as president of
Fuji Xerox. Inspired by the Aspen method of exploring timeless values
through open-minded dialogue, Kobayashi sought to create a similar
educational experience for business leaders and other executives
in Japan. He was heavily involved in the establishment of the Aspen
Institute Japan in 1998 and served as the Institute's first chairman. True
to his vision, the Aspen Institute Japan today offers a variety of executive
seminars throughout the year, providing the current and future leaders
of Japan with opportunities to reflect on their roles in improving society.
In addition to his leadership of Aspen Institute Japan, Kobayashi
was chairman and CEO of Fuji Xerox and chairman of the International
University of Japan, among many other achievements and contributions.
"Tony was not just a great friend and supporter of Aspen but
was one of the great leaders of modern Japan. His values will
go on forever."
—Institute Chairman Emeritus Leonard Lauder, who worked
closely with Kobayashi to develop Aspen Institute Japan

THE ASPEN IDEA

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INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

GLOBAL REACH

Lukasz Z / Shutterstock.com

Syrian refugee
and her child at a
volunteer’s camp

THE INSTITUTE’S EUROPEAN PARTNERS
RESPOND TO THE CURRENT REFUGEE CRISIS.
NO ISLAND IS AN ISLAND
The worst refugee crisis since World War II has quickly become Europe’s biggest challenge. Three thousand people arrive every day, most fleeing from Syria and Libya. Inside the
European Union, based on the Schengen Agreement of 1985,
there is free movement of people. Until now, the Union has
not behaved like an island but more like an archipelago—one
can navigate inside but only after strenuous effort to arrive.
Newcomers to the European Union aim to relocate to member states that are generous toward political refugees.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban views the situation
as one of strict border control. By contrast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited centers for refugees in a gesture
of official protection to the disinherited. She has also decided
that, in Germany, the point of entry into the Union will not determine the country in which the political-asylum application
is processed. Along with French President François Hollande,
Chancellor Merkel has argued for distinguishing immigration
based on poverty from those fleeing to avoid violent deaths.
She has also worked with the European Commission to develop a fair system of immigrantion distribution. The chancellor understands that Germany should set an example, both
because of its economic means and the general sentiment
of the German population, who favor a greater effort to help
refugees. Her moral leadership echoes 8th-century philosopher Maimonides: “I only know what humanity means when I
meet a foreigner.” Merkel has thus broken from the image of

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a woman obsessed with austerity that she projected during
the euro crisis.
But the European Union is still divided after the euro crisis. Europeans have not been able to restart 21st-century economic and political integration. With populist movements on
the rise, it is more difficult than ever to establish a European
strategy on immigration. However, if there is no change in EU
policy, the Schengen Agreement will break down, and, most
important, the ethical vision behind European integration—
how do we treat the “other”—will lose its meaning.
The likelihood of more newcomers in the near future is very
high. Given this difficult aspect of globalization and the wars
of our time, new measures to seal national corridors cannot
be put in place without first paying serious attention to fundamental rights, identity, and citizenship issues. In addition to
Merkel’s call to share responsibilities, member states should
establish best practices. Relying only on welfare policies only
increases the votes of anti-European demagogues. Progress is
needed to standardize the rights and obligations of refugees.
As David Cameron has reminded us, the other big challenge
is still the ongoing turmoil back in the immigrants’countries of
origin. Until the European Union itself becomes an effective
global actor, EU institutions and national governments will
have to learn to manage many similar crises.
José M. de Areilza is the Jean Monnet Chair at ESADE and
secretary general of Aspen Institute España.

A EUROPEAN CRISIS, NOT A MIGRATION CRISIS
Watching recent media reports on Europe’s migration crisis, it
is easy to forget that mass migration is a structural, long-term,
global issue. It is not simply a humanitarian crisis. Massive socioeconomic imbalances, combined with widely available instant communication—together with conflicts—are the root
of migration in today’s world.
But more than a migration crisis, what we see at work is a
European crisis in managing migration flows, both in the case
of asylum-seekers and refugees, and in the case of economic
migrants. EU governance is poorly geared to deal with contingencies that require rapid, agile, and centralized decisions
and implementation. The European Union is based on a delicate balance among the member states, as well as between the Council (representing national governments) and the
Commission (whose president was indirectly selected through European elections, yet he represents a semi-independent
bureaucratic system). The political climate only compounds
the problem, as EU citizens are by and large mistrustful of
Brussels and easily influenced by populist parties.
Migration issues appear to be tailor-made to deepen the
current vicious cycle, because purely national responses exacerbate the collective problem for Europe while also further
weakening common institutions. It would be disastrous for
Europe if this challenge were to boil down to a deadly conflict
between East and West, particularly in the wake of the equally damaging economic clash between South and North.
To make a common European response possible, Europe’s
nation states have to achieve a consensus around a new migration and asylum system. First, the Dublin rules, which penalize countries on the European Union’s external borders, need
to be revised. Germany took a step in that direction when it
declared its readiness to take in Syrian war refugees regardless of their point of entry into the European Union. (Current
Dublin rules state that asylum-seekers’ applications must be
processed in the first country through which they enter Europe.) Second, Europeans need to accept a relocation mechanism resting on a “redistribution key” based on criteria such

as a country’s GDP, its unemployment rate, and so on. Countries opposed to the system could pay some form of financial
compensation. Europe’s migration policy would be shaped as
a “two-speed” policy allowing for opt-outs from the EU-enforced relocation system. But everyone must be quite clear regarding the principles underpinning a common policy: greater
national responsibility and greater European solidarity.
The alternative to a common EU response is clear: a weakening of the European Union’s external borders will inevitably lead to the erection of new internal walls among the EU
countries themselves. A review of the Schengen system may
be necessary given the present circumstances but not at the
cost of undermining one of the European single-market’s essential pillars: the free circulation of people.
If the European Union fails to successfully overcome the
challenges posed by migration, it will lose its soul and disintegrate. The migration challenge is far more of a make-or-break
moment for the European Union than the Greek debt crisis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be aware of
this, and in that regard, she has the support of France and of
Italy, which has long been lobbying for a European response.
In the longer term, creating a European Coast Guard and a
European Asylum Authority appear to be necessary to strengthen external EU borders while preventing new internal divisions among Europeans themselves. Europe is also going
to have to succeed in managing—rather than suffering—the
influx of a qualified labor force that is capable of bridging the
gaps in its internal labor market.
If Germany exercises its leadership, and if a core of key
countries displays the will to press ahead with a common policy, then that common policy has a real chance—with optouts for those EU member states that want them. Ironically,
with every crisis it has to face, the EU grows in integration but
also in differentiation.
Marta Dassù is senior director of European affairs at the
Aspen Institute and editor-in-chief of Aspenia, Aspen Institute Italia’s journal.

2015 Aspen Prague conference

ASPEN INSTITUTE PRAGUE
In April 2015, Aspen Prague participated in the European
Economic Congress in Katowice, Poland, to discuss economic
and political developments in the European Union. Among
the conference panelists were Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav
Sobotka, Aspen Prague Chairman Ambassador Michael
Zantovsky, and board member Ivan Hodac, who spoke about
developments in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. In October, Aspen Prague held its annual
conference, “The Czech Republic: The Shape We’re In.” Leading representatives of government, business, and independent
experts gathered together to examine the Czech Republic’s
competitiveness, national security, and quality of life.
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INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

2015 Shepard Stone award ceremony

The Aspen Forum at Expo Milan tackles food, women, and science.

ASPEN INSTITUTE GERMANY
RECOGNIZES LEONARD LAUDER

ASPEN AT EXPO MILAN ON FOOD SECURITY,
NUTRITION, AND HEALTH

On October 14, for the second time in its history, the Aspen
Institute Germany bestowed the Shepard Stone Award for
Outstanding Transatlantic Leadership in Berlin. The award
was endowed in 2014 in honor of Shepard Stone, the founder
and first director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, now the Aspen
Institute Germany.
This year’s awardee was American businessman and philanthropist Leonard A. Lauder, who was honored for his support of Aspen Germany, his contributions to fostering transatlantic relations and business, and his longtime stewardship
of the Aspen International Committee. Lauder has been instrumental and deeply involved in supporting the nine Aspen
international partners, which are all committed to the Aspen
mission of fostering leadership based on enduring values.
Garry Kasparov, political activist and former world chess
champion, gave a keynote speech on the challenges the West
is facing due to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Wolfgang
Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference and a personal friend of Leonard Lauder, praised Lauder’s international
achievements.
The gala was the climax to the Berlin Transatlantic Conference. More than 150 political, policy, and business leaders
from both sides of the Atlantic along with other international
partners gathered to search for ways to restore our universal
values and credibility, as well as to face current transatlantic
challenges.

“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” was the core theme
of Expo Milan 2015, where Aspen Italia organized a forum to foster dialogue, aggregate ideas, and showcase
innovations in food security, nutrition, global health, and
sustainability. The event featured a special collaboration between Aspen Institute Italia and the Institute’s
Food Security Strategy Group, whose experts explored
the politics and international ramifications of food security
challenges.
The forum also included a special focus on women as
the event took place during Women’s Week. Participants
discussed how food and nutrition insecurity, as well as poor
health, are associated with poverty and gender inequality:
60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and
girls. Participants explored how promoting better nutrition,
universal access to health care, and healthier environments
can significantly minimize these impacts.
Another main focus of the Aspen Forum at the expo was
science and innovation. The program featured a special conversation on the human mind and innovation with Walter
Isaacson, Aspen Institute CEO. Isaacson shared his reflections on how the most important innovations of our time are
the product of a combination of human inspiration and computer-processing power. Aspen Italia also hosted the international Aspen partners for a meeting at their headquarters
in Venice leading up to the events at the expo.

CONTACT OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

108

ASPEN INSTITUTE ESPAÑA
Madrid, Spain
mail@aspeninstitute.es
aspeninstitute.es

ANANTA ASPEN CENTRE
New Delhi, India
admin@anantacentre.in
anantacentre.in

ASPEN INSTITUTE MÉXICO
México City and Cancún, México
aim@aspeninstitutemexico.org
aspeninstitutemexico.org

INSTITUT ASPEN FRANCE
Paris, France
contacts@aspenfrance.org
aspenfrance.org

ASPEN INSTITUTE ITALIA
Milan and Rome, Italy
info@aspeninstitute.it
aspeninstitute.it

ASPEN INSTITUTE PRAGUE
Prague, Czech Republic
office@aspenprague.cz
aspeninstitute.cz

ASPEN INSTITUTE GERMANY
Berlin, Germany
vandiepen@aspeninstitute.de
aspeninstitute.de

THE ASPEN INSTITUTE JAPAN
Tokyo, Japan
aspeninstitute.jp

INSTITUTUL ASPEN ROMÂNIA
Bucharest, Romania
office@aspeninstitute.ro
aspeninstitute.ro

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

ASPEN INSTITUTE MÉXICO
The Aspen Institute México, in collaboration with Laureate
Universities, held a conversation titled “Challenges of Education in a Globalized World,” with the special participation of
President Ernesto Zedillo alongside former Undersecretary
for Economics Luis de la Calle and President of the Aspen
Institute México Juan Ramón de la Fuente.
In its first transatlantic collaboration, Aspen Institute México worked with Aspen France to hold a workshop, “Clinical
Research in Mexico,” that took place in the wake of President
Peña Nieto’s visit to Paris. Aspen Institute México’s second international workshop on Palliative Care, “Care beyond Cure,”
took place in September as a joint effort with the Mayo Clinic,
the National Academy of Medicine (Mexico), and the School
of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico;
more than 150 doctors, students, researchers, public officials,
and others attended.

ASPEN INSTITUTE ROMANIA
The fourth edition of Aspen Romania’s Bucharest Forum, the largest strategic international event in Romania, took place October 14–16. More than 450 international experts, business and civic leaders, and
government representatives from Europe, the United
States, Israel, Iran, Russia, Georgia, and China met in
Bucharest to discuss recent European challenges and
transatlantic relations. Issues covered included: the Syrian refugee crisis, European institutional and economic
governance issues, the Ukrainian crisis, the increase of
populism and extreme ideologies, trade negotiations,
and the role of regional powers. The forum discussions
highlighted the importance of solid EU-US links at times
of European structural divisions and deep partisan rifts
in Washington, especially in the context of the upcoming US presidential elections.

ASPEN JAPAN BRINGS STUDENTS TO NY

Japanese students in New York

On August 26, the Aspen Institute in New York—in
partnership with Aspen Japan—welcomed high school
students from Japan’s elite Hibaya High School for
a morning of ideas, presentations, and discussions
on global food issues. The students presented their
ideas to local experts, including NYC’s Health Equity
Department Senior Advisor Cathy Nonas, Director
of the Public Policy Program at Roosevelt House Dr.
Shyama Venkateswar, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, and
Food Group Director of Sales and Marketing Jeannette Park. The students submitted ideas in two different areas under the “food issue” umbrella: (1) how
education and awareness can minimize food waste in
developed countries; and (2)ways in which developing
countries can reduce foreign reliance for food sources
by prioritizing the cultivation of nutrient-rich produce.
The experts commented on the sophistication of both
groups’ presentations and encouraged the students to
delve more deeply into these areas and to continue to
question even accepted solutions to food issues.

ANANTA ASPEN CENTRE
In late August, the India Leadership Initiative Fellows of the
Ananta Aspen Centre held the fourth annual IDEAS India in
Srinagar, India. IDEAS India explored the economic, political,
social, religious, environmental, and demographic factors affecting India using the Aspen dialogue format. Over three
days, delegates participated in several open, roundtable-style
discussions on topics of great importance to India, such as
“Does India have the leadership and institutions it needs and
deserves?” and “What you always wanted to know about
Kashmir but were afraid to ask.” Delegates also discussed
readings by poet William Stafford, politician Edward Kennedy, and others.
Earlier in August, Ambassador Satinder K. Lambah took
over as chairman of the Ananta Aspen Centre. Ambassador
Lambah previously served as special envoy to the prime minister of India from 2005 to 2014 and as ambassador of India
to the Russian Federation, Federal Republic of Germany, and
Hungary, among other senior government positions.

IDEAS India 2015

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FACTS/PROGRAMS

Dan Bayer

SEMINARS

SEMINARS HELP PARTICIPANTS EXPLORE THE TENSIONS AMONG THE VALUES THAT FORM OUR
CONCEPTION OF A GOOD SOCIETY, WITH THE AIM OF DEEPENING KNOWLEDGE, BROADENING
PERSPECTIVES, AND ENHANCING THE CAPACITY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS LEADERS FACE.
THE ASPEN EXECUTIVE SEMINAR ON LEADERSHIP,
VALUES, AND THE GOOD SOCIETY
The Aspen Executive Seminar challenges leaders in every
field to clarify the values by which they lead and to think
more critically and deeply about their impact on the world
in a moderated, text-based Socratic dialogue.

LEADERSHIP AND CHARACTER
Leadership and Character takes up where the Aspen
Executive Seminar leaves off, looking at the internal
context of making leadership decisions and exploring the
competing tensions that form our internal moral compass.
aspeninstitute.org/characterseminar

aspeninstitute.org/aspenseminar

MARCH 12–18, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
APRIL 2–8, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
APRIL 30–MAY 6, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD
MAY 14–20, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD
JUNE 4–10, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
AUGUST 20–26, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
SEPTEMBER 10–16, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
OCTOBER 1–7, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD

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NATURE, SOCIETY, AND SUSTAINABILITY
Nature, Society, and Sustainability provides both updated
content and a values framework as we balance the
tensions between a vibrant human social and economic
ecology and environmental sustainability.
aspeninstitute.org/natureseminar

Dan Bayer

ASPEN ESPAÑA SEMINAR
Transatlantic Values at a Crossroads:
Contemporary Leadership Challenges
In collaboration with Aspen Institute España, this seminar
probes the European context of modern leadership in
the midst of the uncertainties in democratic capitalism,
nationalism, and culture. aspeninstitute.org/espanaseminar

ASPEN ROMANIA LEADERSHIP SEMINAR
In collaboration with Aspen Institute Romania, this seminar
explores the specific leadership challenges facing business,
government, and civil society in a post-communist
environment. aspeninstitute.org/romaniaseminar

OCTOBER 2016 | RONDA, SPAIN

WYE ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
In a longstanding collaboration with the Association of
American Colleges and Universities, these seminars engage
faculty, senior academic administrators, and college
presidents in an exchange of ideas about liberal arts
education, citizenship, and the global polity.

ASPEN ITALIA SEMINAR
Values and Society & Leadership, Globalization,
and the Quest for Common Values
In collaboration with Aspen Italia, these concurrent
seminars explore the cultural challenges of leadership in a
European context, deepening partcipants' understandings
of the values by which they lead even as those values are
tested by the demands of globalization. aspeninstitute.org/
italiaseminar

MARCH 3 – 6, 2016 | CASTELVECCHIO PASCOLI, LUCCA, ITALY

JUSTICE & SOCIETY SEMINAR
Co-founded by the late Supreme Court Justice Harry
A. Blackmun, this seminar brings together people from
diverse backgrounds to discuss what we mean by justice
and how a just society ought to structure its legal, judicial,
and political institutions. Roundtable discussions are led by
two distinguished and experienced moderators: a federal
or state high court judge and a professor of law or politcal
theory. Contact Michael.Green@aspeninstitute.org if interested.

aspeninstitute.org/wyeseminars

WYE DEANS' SEMINAR
JUNE 5 – 9, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD

WYE FACULTY SEMINAR
JULY 16 – 22, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD

CUSTOM SEMINARS
Custom Seminars enable organizations and companies
to develop one-day or multiday seminars relevant to their
day-to-day operations.
aspeninstitute.org/customseminar
aspeninstitute.org/socratesseminars

aspeninstitute.org/jss

FOR MORE INFORMATION,

JULY 5 – 11, 2016 | ASPEN, CO

CONTACT THE INDIVIDUAL PROGRAMS.
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111

FACTS/PROGRAMS

LEADERSHIP
THE INSTITUTE CULTIVATES ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERS AND ENCOURAGES THEM TO
TACKLE THE GREAT CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES THROUGH SOCIAL VENTURES. SPANNING
VARIOUS GEOGRAPHIC AND ISSUE AREAS, WE HOST 14 DIFFERENT FELLOWSHIPS.

Dan Bayer

Fellows network
during the 2015
Aspen Action Forum.

THE ASPEN GLOBAL LEADERSHIP NETWORK
Each Aspen Global Leadership Network program, inspired by the Henry
Crown Fellowship Program, is developing a new generation of civically
engaged men and women by encouraging them to move “from success to
significance” and to apply their entrepreneurial talents to addressing the
foremost challenges of their organizations, communities, and countries.
Today, there are more than 2,000 Fellows in 49 countries.
THE HENRY CROWN
FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The flagship leadership program
aspeninstitute.org/crown

THE ASPEN INSTITUTE-RODEL
FELLOWSHIPS IN PUBLIC
LEADERSHIP
Elected leaders in US government
aspeninstitute.org/rodel

THE AFRICA LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVE (ALI)/EAST AFRICA
Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya
aspeninstitute.org/ali

THE AFRICA LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVE (ALI)/WEST AFRICA
Ghana and Nigeria
aspeninstitute.org/ali

THE AFRICA LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVE (ALI)/SOUTH AFRICA
aspeninstitute.org/ali

THE CATTO FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Energy and environment leaders
aspeninstitute.org/catto

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THE CENTRAL AMERICA
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE (CALI)
Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica,
Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador
aspeninstitute.org/cali

THE FINANCE LEADERS
FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Leaders in the global financialservices industry
aspeninstitute.org/flf

THE INDIA LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVE (ILI)
aspeninstitute.org/ili

THE CHINA FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/china

THE LIBERTY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
South Carolina
aspeninstitute.org/liberty

THE MIDDLE EAST LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVE (MELI)
aspeninstitute.org/meli

PAHARA-ASPEN
EDUCATION FELLOWSHIP
Entrepreneurial leaders
for public education
aspeninstitute.org/pahara

HEALTH INNOVATORS FELLOWSHIP
US health care innovators
aspeninstitute.org/hif

CENTER FOR URBAN INNOVATION
The center bridges the gap between
innovators and underserved
neighborhoods, so that innovators
focus more attention on community
challenges and so neighborhood
residents can bring their own
groundbreaking ideas to life.
aspeninstitute.org/
center-urban-innovation

THE SOCRATES PROGRAM

Leigh Vogel

The Socrates Program provides a forum for emerging leaders
(ages approximately 28–45) from a wide range of professions
to explore contemporary issues through expert-moderated
roundtable dialogue. aspeninstitute.org/socrates

Add some
horsepower.

NOVEMBER 5–7, 2015
ASPEN MEXICO SOCRATES | PUEBLA, MEXICO
The Next Wave of Tech Innovation:
What It Means for How We Live and Do Business
Moderator: William Powers, research scientist at MIT Media Lab

NOVEMBER 13–14, 2015
NEW YORK SALON | NEW YORK, NY
Artificial Intelligence, Business, and the Future of Work
Moderator: Neil Jacobstein, co-chair of the AI and Robotics Track at
Singularity University, headquartered at the NASA Research Park in
Mountain View, California

FEBRUARY 12–15, 2016
WINTER SEMINARS | ASPEN, CO

Carol Dopkin is a long time
Fellow of the Aspen Institute
Carol created an Idea when she
came to Aspen to introduce

Real Estate with Horse Sense

It has been a successful
competitive edge – establishing
relationships with clients looking
for all types of properties from
condos to large ranches

The Realtor With
Horse Sense!

Who Are Cities For? Opportunity, Access,
and Hope in the American City
Moderator: Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the Institute's
Center for Urban Innovation

With expertise, Carol has
guided hundreds of clients to
the homes of their dreams

Over the Horizon: Five Trends Shaping the
Future of Technology, Business, and Society
Moderator: William Powers, author of The New York Times
best-seller Hamlet's BlackBerry

Always One Of
ASPEN’S TOP PRODUCERS

The Sharing Economy
Moderator: Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist for The New York Times

MAY 5–7, 2016
ASPEN SERBIA SOCRATES | BELGRADE, SERBIA

MAY 19–22, 2016

CAROL DOPKIN

and Olé – a Dutch
Warmblood Show Hunter
970.618.0187 cell
Carol@CarolDopkin.com

www.CarolDopkin.com

ASPEN ESPAÑA SOCRATES | RONDA, SPAIN

MAY 2016
ASPEN UKRAINE SOCRATES | KIEV, UKRAINE
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113

FACTS/PROGRAMS

POLICY

Policy programs and initiatives serve as nonpartisan forums
for analysis, consensus-building, and problem-solving on a
wide variety of issues.

ASCEND, THE FAMILY ECONOMIC
SECURITY PROGRAM
ascend.aspeninstitute.org

ASPEN FORUM FOR
COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS
aspeninstitute.org/solutions

ASPEN GLOBAL HEALTH
AND DEVELOPMENT
aspeninstitute.org/ghd

ASPEN INSTITUTE
FRANKLIN PROJECT
aspeninstitute.org/franklin-project

ASPEN INSTITUTE LATINOS
AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/
latinos-society

ASPEN NETWORK OF
DEVELOPMENT ENTREPRENEURS
aspeninstitute.org/ande

BUSINESS AND SOCIETY PROGRAM

GLOBAL ALLIANCES PROGRAM

aspeninstitute.org/bsp

aspeninstitute.org/gap

CENTER FOR NATIVE
AMERICAN YOUTH
aspeninstitute.org/cnay

CITIZENSHIP AND AMERICAN
IDENTITY PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/citizenship

aspeninstitute.org/apep

ASPEN STRATEGY GROUP
aspeninstitute.org/asg

THE ASPEN IDEA

WINTER 2015/2016

HEALTH, MEDICINE, AND
SOCIETY PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/health

COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM

HOMELAND SECURITY PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/security

COMMUNICATIONS AND
SOCIETY PROGRAM

aspeninstitute.org/justice

aspeninstitute.org/c&s

COMMUNITY STRATEGIES GROUP
aspeninstitute.org/csg

CONGRESSIONAL PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/congressional

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
PROGRAM

EDUCATION AND SOCIETY
PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/education

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/ee

114

FINANCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM
aspeninstitute.org/fsp

aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence

aspeninstitute.org/eop

ASPEN PLANNING AND
EVALUATION PROGRAM

Steve Johnson

Michael Tomasky, editor of Democracy; Alyssa Rosenberg, lead culture blogger at
The Washington Post; E.D. Hirsch Jr., author of Cultural Literacy; and Eric Liu,
executive director of the Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program,
talk about “What Every American Should Know: Cultural Literacy in the 21st Century.”

JUSTICE AND SOCIETY PROGRAM

PROGRAM ON PHILANTHROPY
AND SOCIAL INNOVATION
aspeninstitute.org/psi

PROGRAM ON THE WORLD
ECONOMY
aspeninstitute.org/pwe

ROUNDTABLE ON COMMUNITY
CHANGE
aspeninstitute.org/rcc

SPORTS AND SOCIETY
aspeninstitute.org/sports-society

POLICY PROGRAM

FELLOWSHIPS
Born from the policy
programs at the Aspen
Institute, the Policy
Leadership Programs seek
to empower exceptional
individuals to lead with
innovation in their chosen
fields. These individuals
then become more
effective change agents
who can influence the
institutions and fields in
which they work (or lead)
to create better outcomes
for society.

How Aspen Sends Flowers

300 Puppy Smith St. (next to Clark's Market) ~ Aspen, CO

970.920.6838 ~ sashae.com

NEW VOICES FELLOWSHIP

Sashae_AspenIdea_Wtr15.indd 3

Founded by the Institute’s Global Health

9/24/15 9:08 PM

John Sarpa – my close

and Development Program, the New

connection with the Aspen
Institute began 25 years ago
when I co-chaired a group of
dedicated leaders of various
nonprofit organizations to
successfully rezone the Aspen
Meadows. That was a key step
for the Institute in securing its
long term presence in Aspen.

Voices Fellowship cultivates compelling
experts to speak on development issues.
aspeninstitute.org/newvoices

THE ASCEND FELLOWSHIP
Founded by the Institute’s Ascend
Program, the Ascend Fellowship
targets diverse pioneers paving new
pathways that break the cycle of
intergenerational poverty.

Since then I have been involved
with millions of dollars of Aspen
real estate developments and
home purchases. Please let me
help you make your real estate
investment in the mountains so
that you too may experience
the mind, body and spiritual
joys so unique to Aspen.

aspeninstitute.org/ascend

FIRST MOVERS FELLOWSHIP
Founded by the Institute’s Business
and Society Program, the First Movers
Fellowship seeks to help the business
community live up to its full potential as
a vehicle for positive social change.
aspeninstitute.org/firstmovers

JOHN SARPA 970.379.2595
John@JohnSarpa.com

FACTS/PROGRAMS

Dan Bayer

PUBLIC

Public conferences and events provide
a commons for people to share ideas.

Public art by JR at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL
This weeklong, large-scale public
event—co-hosted by The Atlantic—
brings some of the world’s brightest
minds and leaders to Aspen every
summer for enlightened dialogue on
the planet’s most pressing issues.

ASPEN SECURITY FORUM
On the Institute’s campus in Aspen,
the Aspen ­Security Forum convenes
leaders in government, industry,
media, think tanks, and academia to
explore key homeland security and
counter­terrorism issues.

aspenideas.org

aspensecurityforum.org

WASHINGTON IDEAS FORUM
Presented in partnership with
The Atlantic and the Newseum,
this Washington, DC–based event
features leading figures in public
policy discussing the most important
issues of the day.

THE ASPEN CHALLENGE
With the Bezos Family Foundation,
the Aspen Challenge provides a
platform, inspiration, and tools for
young people to design solutions
to some of the most critical and
complicated problems our
society faces.

NEW YORK IDEAS
The Institute and The Atlantic host an
annual event featuring cutting-edge
innovators in discussion on the state
of the global business landscape.

theaspenchallenge.org

ASPEN WORDS
Throughout the year, Aspen Words
encourages writers in their craft
and readers in their appreciation
of literature by hosting festivals,
readings, and other literary
exchanges.
aspenwords.org

THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ARTS PROGRAM
The Arts Program was established to
support and invigorate the arts in
America and to return the arts to
the Institute’s “Great Conversation.”
It brings together artists, advocates,
educators, managers, foundations, and
government officials to exchange ideas
and develop policies that strengthen the
reciprocal relationship between the arts
and society.
aspeninstitute.org/arts

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ONGOING PROGRAMS
IN NEW YORK
The Institute hosts a variety of programs in New York City, from book
talks and benefits to roundtable
discussions, forums, and the Aspen
Leadership Series: Conversations with
Great Leaders in Memory of Preston
Robert Tisch.
aspeninstitute.org/events/newyorkevents

ASPEN COMMUNITY PROGRAMS
The Institute offers residents of
Aspen and the surrounding Roaring
Fork Valley communities a variety
of programs throughout the year,
including speaker series, community
seminars, and film screenings.
aspeninstitute.org/community

ONGOING PROGRAMS
IN WASHINGTON, DC
From September through June, the
Institute’s DC headquarters hosts the
Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book
Series, featuring discussions with
major recent authors. Concurrently,
the Washington Ideas Roundtable
Series focuses on world affairs, arts,
and culture.
aspeninstitute.org/events

The
things
you care
about are
the things
we care
about
too.
One billion dollars for education by the end of 2015. Four million
dollars to communities every week. Over one million volunteer
hours in 2013. 100% sustainable and traceable seafood by the
end of 2015. And that’s just the beginning of the good you help
us do every day. Learn more at target.com/community.
©2014 Target Brands, Inc. Target and the Bullseye Design are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. 594405 T H E A S P E N I D E A

WINTER 2015/2016

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FACTS/PROGRAMS

UPCOMING

EVENTS

JOIN

THE SOCIETY OF FELLOWS

SOF DISCUSSION RECEPTION: DR. RISHI MANCHANDA
November 16 | Private Home | Aspen
SOF DISCUSSION RECEPTION: JON MEACHAM
December 1 | Private Home | San Francisco
ASPEN INSTIUTE HOLIDAY RECEPTION
December 29 | The Doerr-Hosier Center | Aspen
SOF SYMPOSIUM: CHINA
February 15–18 | Koch Building | Aspen
SOF SYMPOSIUM: THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY
March 14–17 | Koch Building | Aspen
*Please visit aspeninstitute.org/sof for a complete list of Society of Fellows events.

The Society of Fellows
is an engaged community
of supporters who actively
participate in the Institute’s
programs, act as advocates
and ambassadors, and help
sustain the Institute’s mission.
For more information on
joining the Society of
Fellows, please contact
Peter Waanders, director
of the Society of Fellows,
at 970.544.7912 or by
email at peter.waanders@
aspeninstitute.org.

SUSAN
GUGGENHEIM
LODGE
AspenSnowmassSIR.com

Going Above and Beyond

Iconic ski-in, ski-out home on premiere Wood Run lot sits majestically atop private run, Guggenhill Trail, providing a direct line to Snowmass
VIllage and major lifts. Top of the world views in Snowmass. Light filled 6 bedroom home includes a separate 1 bedroom apartment. $4,950,000

Distinctive home with 1,000+ feet of private Roaring Fork River access. 15 minutes to Aspen/Snowmass skiing. $1,750,000

970.379.1467 Susan.Lodge@sir.com AspenLodgeProperties.com
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ASPEN OFFICE 300 S. Spring Street

CALENDAR

For more information on any of these events,
call Leah Bitounis at 202.736.2289.

2016 Aspen Ideas Festival
Date: June 23–July 2, 2016
Location: Aspen Meadows campus
aspenideas.org

2016 Aspen Action Forum
Date: July 18–22, 2016
Location: The Doerr-Hosier Center,
Aspen Meadows campus
aspenactionforum.org

2016 Aspen Security Forum

Olivier Douliery

Date: July 27–30, 2016
Location: Aspen Meadows Campus
aspensecurityforum.org

2016 Summer Celebration
Date: August 6, 2016
Location: Aspen Meadows campus

Aspen Pitkin County Airport

Taking flight to the future

Safety, preserving commercial air service, and a better terminal
are top priorities in an environmental assessment now underway.
We invite you to learn more about how you can have a stake in the

future of your airport at aspenairportplanning.com.

— John Kinney, Airport Director

NON-STOP CHICAGO DENVER LOS ANGELES SAN FRANCISCO
HOUSTON DALLAS/FT.WORTH ATLANTA MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL

A SPEN A IR P OR T.C OM

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OUR SUPPORTERS

MAJOR GIFT ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Lauder Foundation - Leonard and Judy Lauder
Fund pledged $2.5 million to support the growth and full
integration of the Aspen Institute's network of international
partners. As issues of policy and leadership become
increasingly interconnected and global in scope, this gift will
ensure that the Institute can have a greater impact around
the world by enhancing cooperation, fostering deeper
relationships, and encouraging knowledge sharing between
the United States-based Institute and international affiliates.
The Lauder Foundation's gift establishes a scholarship fund
to facilitate cross-cultural exchanges that enable leaders
from the Institute's international partners and the United
States to attend global seminars and forge a closer network
of cooperation. In combination with earlier exceptional gifts
to the Socrates Program, Seminars, and the International
Partners, Leonard Lauder personally and through private
foundations, including The Lauder Foundation, have provided
more than $7 million to the Aspen Institute as part of the
Scholars & Scholarships Campaign.

Jackie and Mike Bezos

The Bezos Family Foundation pledged one of the largest
gifts in Institute history to support the launch of the Aspen
Institute Stevens Initiative, a series of virtual exchanges that
equip young people in the United States, the Middle East,
and North Africa with the skills they need to gain a deeper
understanding of diverse cultures and to succeed in the 21st
century. Inspired by Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who
dedicated his life to fostering cross-cultural understanding,
the Stevens Initiative aims to achieve the largest-ever
increase in people-to-people educational exchanges between
the United States and the broader Middle East.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to get a passport and
travel the world, but with increases in technology, young
people do have the opportunity to have a meaningful crosscultural exchange,” says Mike Bezos, vice president and cofounder of the Bezos Family Foundation and Institute trustee.
“This is why we have invested in virtual exchange and are
thrilled that the Aspen Institute is now a leader in this work,”
he adds.
The Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative is a multilateral
partnership of the U.S. Department of State; the Bezos Family
Foundation; the MacArthur Foundation; the governments
of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, and Algeria;
Microsoft; Mozilla; and GoPro.

Judy and Leanord Lauder

PLANNED GIVING: LIVING A LEGACY
The Institute continues to work closely with longtime
supporters who are interested in making a legacy
gift to secure the future of the Institute through
their estates. Donors who make such commitments
become members of the Institute’s Heritage Society.

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Trustee Robert J. Hurst pledged a bequest to support the Aspen Institute
endowment. One of the largest confirmed bequests in Institute history,
this visionary investment builds upon Soledad and Robert Hurst’s
philanthropic leadership, which includes the establishment of the Hurst
Lecture Series and Hurst Community Fund, both of which have been
wonderful additions to the Aspen calendar and enriched the Institute’s
engagement with communities throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

David Rubenstein pledged $5 million to the Rubenstein
Leadership Fund, which continues his critical support of
two Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) programs:
the China Fellowship Program, launched in 2012 thanks to
Rubenstein’s philanthropic leadership; and the Aspen Action
Forum, an annual convening of AGLN Fellows from around the
world who are committed to turning ideas into action.
The goal of the China Fellowship Program is to energize
China’s private-sector business leaders to step up in a
meaningful way to the challenges facing their society. Fellows
are all under 45 and come from the worlds of technology,
finance, real estate, media, manufacturing, and more. Each has
been selected because they have achieved success in their
careers and yet are at a point in their lives where they'd like
to have a broader impact. The program is designed to guide
Fellows through reflection, insight, and action in an area of
their choosing in which they would like to make impact—be
it in education, health care, the environment, or housing. As
they pursue that goal they will become more effective and
enlightened leaders, and move "from success to significance."

Rubenstein

Jerry and Gina Murdock

Trustee Jerry Murdock and Gina
Murdock pledged $5 million to fund
a wide range of initiatives at the
Institute, including the establishment
of the Murdock Scholars Fund to
support innovators; the creation of the
Murdock Fund to seed new initiatives
at the Aspen Institute; and long-term
underwriting for the Murdock Mind,
Body, Spirit Series. Launched in 2014,
this Aspen-based speaker series
provides a forum for leading experts and
practitioners to discuss their research
and share revelations about the link
between mindfulness, physical activity,
and emotional well-being. Past speakers
include Deepak Chopra and Goldie
Hawn.

Trustee Jerry Greenwald and Glenda Greenwald pledged an
exceptional bequest to permanently endow the Greenwald
Pavilion on the Aspen Meadows campus. Built in 2005, the
Pavilion has hosted some of the Institute’s most memorable
conversations and speakers, especially during the Aspen
Ideas Festival and Institute summer programming. This
generous endowment will ensure that the Greenwald Pavilion
is maintained in beautiful condition for perpetuity and
continues to host open-minded discourse and the sharing of
great ideas.

Greenwald Pavilion

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121

OUR SUPPORTERS

Harmen

The Eisner Foundation pledged $1 million
to the Arts Program and the Harman-Eisner
Artist in Residence Endowment. The Eisner
Foundation’s ongoing investment in the
Arts Program and trustee Michael Eisner’s
leadership as chair of the Board of Trustees'

Trustee Jane Harman pledged $1
million to continue her longstanding
and generous support of the HarmanEisner Artist in Residence Program.
Building on a previous gift from the
Harman Family Foundation, this
extraordinary investment supports
Sidney Harman’s vision that the views
and voices of some of the world’s
leading artists be incorporated
into a variety of programs across
the Institute. It also creates greater
opportunities for Harman-Eisner
artists to engage with young people in
underserved communities.

Arts Committee has made it possible for
the Arts Program to bring together artists,
advocates, educators, policymakers, and
investors to exchange ideas and develop
programs that strengthen the role of the
arts in society. This exceptional gift builds
upon the legacy the Eisner Foundation
first established with the creation of the
Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Program,
and not only helps secure that program’s
future but also enables the Institute to use
the arts to inspire and reach more young

Trustee Marc Nathanson and Jane
Nathanson pledged $1 million to establish
the Nathanson Public Diplomacy Scholarship
and to fund a range of other programs and
initiatives at the Institute, including the Arts
Program and the Communications and
Society Program. The Nathanson Scholarship
will enable young leaders working in public
diplomacy to attend relevant Institute
seminars, roundtables, and events. Not only
will this gift strengthen and diversify the
discourse at Institute events; it will support
individuals who have committed their
professional lives to strengthening crosscultural understanding and promoting an
open-minded approach to public discourse.

Marc and
Jane Nathanson

people across the country.

The Resnick Foundation continued its
critical funding as lead sponsor of the
Aspen Action Forum, which in 2015
included more than 300 Fellows from the
Aspen Global Leadership Network. Fellows
are leaders from business, education,
nonprofit, public policy, and other sectors
who come together to commit their talent
and energy to addressing major challenges
and opportunities in their communities,
companies, and countries. In addition to
this critical funding, the Resnick Foundation
also supports several programs across the
Institute, including Aspen Words and the
Aspen Strategy Group.
Stewart and Lynda Resnick

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Gilchrist Berg pledged $1 million to create a permanent conservation easement
on a natural wildlife preserve located at the heart of the Aspen Meadows campus.
The land will be permanently named “Amy’s Meadow” in honor of his wife, Amy
Margerum Berg, the Institute’s executive vice president of development and
operations and corporate secretary.
Describing his inspiration for the gift, Berg noted: “In the early 1990s, several
local Aspen visionaries, including my wife, Amy Margerum (Berg), saved the large
tract of land between the Aspen Institute campus and the distant mountains from
development as part of a larger plan for the Meadows property. This preserved
the vista, which is so beautiful and inspiring for so many. Although already zoned
as open space, I wanted to ensure the old “racetrack parcel” remained pristine
in perpetuity. It’s my great privilege to honor Amy and those gentlemen with
the implementation of a conservation easement, which will preserve this space
forever. The whole-hearted encouragement of the Aspen Institute’s leadership
will result in a glorious space with views and tranquility to be enjoyed by
all for all time."

Amy Margerum Berg

Trustee and Henry Crown Fellow David McCormick pledged $500,000 to
support Aspen Across America; alumni gatherings of the Henry Crown Fellowship
Program; and the new Finance Leaders Fellowship Program. These investments
will strengthen the Institute’s commitment to fostering leadership rooted in
timeless values and also help bring substantive dialogue about important issues to
communities around the United States where the Institute has not traditionally had
a presence.
McCormick

Carolyn and Bill Wolfe

With generous underwriting
support from Society of Fellows
(SOF) members Wilma and
Stuart Bernstein and Carolyn
and Bill Wolfe, the Institute
has launched a new series of
SOF discussion receptions in
Washington, DC. Hosted in the
private homes of SOF members
and other Institute friends, these
small gatherings will feature
moderated panels and speakers
discussing a variety of topics and
current affairs.

Wilma and Stuart Bernstein

FINANCE LEADERS FELLOWSHIP
The Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network is launching its newest fellowship program, the Finance Leaders
Fellowship. Modeled after the Henry Crown Fellowship, the Finance Leaders Fellowship will develop the next generation of
responsible, community-spirited leaders in the global financial-services industry. The first class, launching in October 2016,
will consist of 20 to 22 industry leaders working in the broad finance ecosystem, from savers and users, to intermediates
and stewards of capital. This program is made possible by the lead underwriting support of the CFA Institute and
Christopher Varelas, and major support from David McCormick, Ranji Nagaswami and Bo Hopkins, Lisa Shalett, as well
as the Pactolus Family Foundation.

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123

LEGACY

A GOOD LIFE DESERVES
A LASTING LEGACY.
WHAT WILL
YOURS BE?
Charitable giving is one very important
way to make a difference, and by
supporting the Aspen Institute you
can help extend your impact on our
programs for generations to come.
Please contact Kristin Robinson,
Vice President of Development, at
Kristin.Robinson@aspeninstitute.org or
(202) 736-3852 for information on
options for your family and the benefits
of membership in The Heritage Society.

aspeninstitute.giftplans.org

CONNECT WITH US
ASPEN ACROSS AMERICA
Executive Director of National Programs
Eric L. Motley
202.736.2900
eric.motley@aspeninstitute.org
SOCRATES PROGRAM
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS
Vice President, Director
Melissa Ingber
202.736.1077
melissa.ingber@aspeninstitute.org
aspeninstitute.org/socrates
aspeninstitute.org/international

THE SOCIETY OF FELLOWS
Director
Peter Waanders
970.544.7912
peter.waanders@aspeninstitute.org
aspeninstitute.org/sof

TO CONTACT INSTITUTE LEADERS
SEMINARS
Director
Todd Breyfogle
202.341.7803
todd.breyfogle@aspeninstitute.org
aspeninstitute.org/seminars

HENRY CROWN
FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Managing Director,
Henry Crown Fellowship Program
Tonya Hinch
202.736.3523
tonya.hinch@aspeninstitute.org
aspeninstitute.org/crown

DONATIONS, SPECIAL EVENTS,
AND BENEFITS
Director of Development Events and
Donor Relations
Leah Bitounis 202.736.2289
leah.bitounis@aspeninstitute.org

ASPEN COMMUNITY PROGRAMS
Director
Cristal Logan
970.544.7929
cristal.logan@aspeninstitute.org
aspeninstitute.org/community

PUBLIC PROGRAMS
Vice President
Aspen Ideas Festival,
Director
Kitty Boone
970.544.7926
kitty.boone@aspeninstitute.org
aspenideas.org

Vice President, Director
Jamie Miller
202.736.1075
jamie.miller@aspeninstitute.org

Willow Darsie 202.736.3545
willow.darsie@aspeninstitute.org

POLICY PROGRAMS
Director of Administration,
Policy and Public Programs
Donna Horney
202.736.5835
donna.h@aspeninstitute.org

aspeninstitute.org/leadership

aspeninstitute.org/policy-work

ASPEN GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
NETWORK
Dep. Director, Operations & Partnerships

HERITAGE SOCIETY
To learn more about planned giving
opportunities, please call ​
Kris Robinson
202.736.3852
aspeninstitute.org/heritagesociety

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Managing Director, Communications
and Public Affairs
Pherabe Kolb
202.736.2906
pherabe.kolb@aspeninstitute.org

OFFICES
HEADQUARTERS
Suite 700, One Dupont Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1133
202.736.5800
ASPEN CAMPUS
1000 North Third Street
Aspen, CO 81611
970.925.7010
WYE RIVER CAMPUS
2010 Carmichael Road, P.O. Box 222
Queenstown, MD 21658
410.827.7168
NEW YORK OFFICES
477 Madison Avenue, Suite 730
New York, NY 10022
212.895.8000

THE ASPEN IDEA

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125

CONNECT WITH US

FOLLOW US

Join our friends at
Facebook.com/AspenInstitute.
To learn how to reach individual policy
programs on Facebook, go to
aspeninstitute.org/socialmedia.

Follow the Aspen Institute with
@aspeninstitute. To follow individual Institute
programs and directors go to
 Twitter.com/aspeninstitute/lists/aspen-institute.

THE INSTITUTE ONLINE
E-NEWSLETTER
Sign up for the Aspen Institute
biweekly e-newsletter at

THE ASPEN IDEA MAGAZINE
To find and share this issue online,
go to aspeninstitute.org/aspenideamag.

See the Institute’s people, places, and things
on Instagram.com/aspeninstitute.

aspeninstitute.org/newsletter.

 
MULTIMEDIA CHANNEL
Find videos of many of the
Institute’s panels and discussions,
many of which are invitation-only at
aspeninstitute.org/video.

THE ASPEN IDEA BLOG
Aspen Institute directors, experts,
and guest bloggers offer insight
into the work of the organization at
aspeninstitute.org/blog.

PUBLICATIONS
To find Institute publications, some
of which are available for purchase or
downloadable for free, go to

THE ASPEN JOURNAL OF IDEAS
The Institute’s digital collection of
thought-provoking analyses and
opinions on critical issues is at

aspeninstitute.org/publications.

aspen.us/journal.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH THE
ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL
To join the ongoing conversation about the
Aspen Ideas Festival on Twitter, go to:
Twitter.com/aspenideas or @aspenideas.

Join our LinkedIn Group to read more
from the Institute at
Linkedin.com/company/the-aspen-institute.

Watch videos of the Institute’s events
and panel discussions at
YouTube.com/aspeninstitute.

See what the Institute is pinning at
Pinterest.com/aspeninstitute.

To download the Aspen Ideas App on Google
Play or iTunes, visit as.pn/apps.
To get daily updates, live feeds, videos, blog
content, and more, join us all year long for
today’s most innovative ideas at aspenideas.org.

To find the Institute’s photos, go to
Flickr.com/aspeninstitute.

Find some of the Institute’s longer
publications, including the magazine, at
Scribd.com/aspeninstitute.

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Communication and Society Program

LAST PAGE

WHERE'S WALTER?
Walter Isaacson’s first Institute experience was the Communications and Society Program's
Catto Conference on Journalism and Society in the summer of 1999. Directed and moderated
by Charlie Firestone and managed by Sunny Sumter, the conference centered on new ownership
in media confronting media leaders with new technologies, pressures for higher returns, and
sharpened public criticism of journalism—all of it leading to a “raucous media bazaar.” The group's
recommendations included heightened attention by CEOs to the quality of news, education to
shareholders about the competitive importance of journalistic values, greater communication
between management and journalists, and a new commitment to self-criticism and transparency.
The answer revealed: Back row left to right, Ken Auletta, Geoff Cowan, David Bollier,
Tony Ridder, Leslie Moonves, Robin MacNeil, Jim Lehrer, Dick Wald, Hodding Carter, Merv
Adelson, Jack Fuller, Robert Decherd, Randall Pinkston, Henry Catto, John Cochran,
Kathryn Downing, Rick Smith, Del Brinkman, and Amy Garmer. Front row left to right,
Sunny Sumter, Jessica Catto, Merrill Brown, Sandy Rowe, Creed Black, Walter Isaacson,
Jerry Levin, Charlie Firestone, Barbara Cochran, Asa Briggs, Brandt Ayers, and Lee Cullum.

128

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THE ASPEN IDEA

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