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Two Decades of
Dares Teens to
Reimagine Their Cities
China and Africa
Unite to End Poaching
W H AT E V E R Y O U R V I S I O N ,
W E ’ L L F I N D T H E V I E W.
From the Pass to Pyramid, Red Mountain to Reudi, Sopris to Stillwater, when you
know the kind of life you want to live, we’ll find you the perfect place to live it.
E V E R Y T H I N G , E X P E R T LY.
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970 925 8088
F E AT U R E S
46 | WHERE THE WILD THINGS WERE
Africa’s wild elephants and rhinos are facing extinction from
illegal poaching and a thriving pipeline between Africa and Asia.
That’s why China is working with the African Union to curb the
ivory and rhino-horn trade. Chinese and African officials are
looking at how to make conservation policy part of the Chinese
government’s recent—and substantial—investments in Africa.
David Monsma and Nicole Buckley examine the Institute’s
role in bringing these two delegations to the table, leading the
discussions, and saving wildlife.
50 | 20 YEARS OF NEW LEADERS AT SOCRATES
The Socrates Program, one of the Institute’s most dynamic
projects, pushes young leaders to reconsider their places in society
as trailblazers in corporate America, education, economics,
politics, journalism, and law, among other areas. This year the
program celebrates 20 years of encouraging participants to use
their energy and talents to make lasting and positive impacts.
Alison Decker supplies the history; participant Bill Resnick
remembers his favorite Socrates moments; and founders Laura
and Gary Lauder and William D. Budinger look back at 20
years of fiery discussions with some of the world’s most exciting
thinkers and look ahead to topics that cut to the core of modern
life, like technology, race, energy, and privacy—and, of course,
more opportunities to connect on Aspen hiking trails and in
venues across the globe.
58 | BE THE SOLUTION
The Aspen Challenge is a contest that empowers high-school
students to initiate the changes they want to see in the world. This
year the Challenge went to Chicago and returned to Washington,
DC, to ask teenagers to reimagine their urban enclaves—from
redesigning play spaces to creating farm-to-city markets to leading
financial-literacy clinics—and then launch their projects in the
real world. Sacha Zimmerman introduces the initiative and the
inspiring young people who won the latest challenge—and who
will share their projects at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
THE JOURNAL OF IDEAS
62 | RESTORING THE GRAY ZONE
The United States became the nation it is today thanks to a pursuit
of freedom of religion. Yet terrorism, fear, and culture wars have all
led to more divisive black-and-white thinking about religion—and
less tolerance. But in the gray zone, religious diversity is a strength,
not a point of contention. Meryl Justin Chertoff explores the
work of the Institute’s Inclusive America Project.
6 6 | H OW TO W I N T H E L AT I N O VOT E
With two million more Latinos eligible to vote in this year’s
presidential election than in the last, whichever political party
manages to harness Latino voting power could be the
difference between going to the White House or going home.
Matt A. Barreto and David Damore do the math.
Two Decades of
Dares Teens to
Reimagine Their Cities
China and Africa
Unite to End Poaching
ON THE COVER
Elias Okwara, a fellow with the
Global Governance Institute,
unwinds with participants at a
2014 Socrates seminar in Aspen.
© John Dolan
How Will You
M A J A D U B R U L
325 East Hopkins, Aspen | www.majadubrul.com
| 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 launches its Forum on Women and Girls; Darren
Walker receives the Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic
Leadership; leaders from the art world learn the business side of
foundation work; the Institute asks what makes an American; and
30 | A S P E N L I B R I S
The Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series features Michael
Eric Dyson, Melanne Verveer, Garry Kasparov, Diane Rehm,
Evan Thomas, among many others.
32 | L E A D I N G VO I C E S
Eric Motley, of the Institute’s newly renamed Department of
Institutional Advancement, talks to David Rubenstein, one of
America’s leading philanthropists, about forming partnerships as
part of contemporary giving and ensuring projects are meaningful.
36 | I M PAC T
Young writers join the Arts Program each summer in Aspen for a
special seminar to think about how their work engages with society
and to be mentored by some of today’s most vibrant literary voices;
three young artists reflect on the effect the program had on them.
Members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network often leave their
Fellowships inspired to take on the today’s most pressing challenges;
three Fellows from different parts of the world share how they are
leveraging their businesses to make an environmental impact.
70 | FAC E S
Behind the scenes at Institute events.
76 | I N T E R N AT I O N A L PA R T N E R S
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meets with the Institute’s
Elliot Gerson to discuss the work of Aspen Institute Kyiv; European
partners meet to examine both the Syrian refugee crisis and energy
security; India brings Aspen seminars to its police force; and more.
79 | O U R S U P P O R T E R S
Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson underwrite the Great Decisions Series;
Al and Gail Engelberg support the Aspen Health Strategy Group.
82 | FAC TS
Get to know the Institute’s programs.
96 | CO N N E C T W I T H U S
Contact our program directors; get in touch on social media.
100 | L A ST PAG E
Walter Isaacson and Henry Crown Fellows tackle Mardi Gras.
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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.
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Ideas animate the Aspen Institute. They’re its
lifeblood. Every policy program, every public program,
every event that takes place in and around the Institute’s
campuses, meeting rooms, and friends’ tables is aimed at
finding, listening to, and engaging with new ideas.
So when we were recently looking for a new name for
the launch of the first issue of our new three-time-a-year
frequency, we didn’t have to look far. Ideas are what we
brings you in every issue—particularly in The Journal of
Ideas (page 61), our magazine-within-a-magazine that
shows you some of the freshest and most provocative
ideas on the minds of the Aspen family.
And, of course, the people in the Aspen family bring
those ideas to life. Nowhere do people and ideas connect
in quite the exhilarating way they do at the Institute.
For evidence, look no further than our overview of the
Socrates Program (page 50), this year celebrating its 20th
anniversary. Friendships, partnerships, collaborations,
businesses, foundations—they all get started at Aspen
gatherings, as Socrates shows. As pretty much every story
in our Around the Institute section (page 13) shows. It’s
you, though, who keeps the Institute inspired. Give us your
own ideas, please, at firstname.lastname@example.org—
and welcome to the first issue of our new
IDEAS: The Magazine of the Aspen Institute.
President and Chief Executive Officer
ELLIOT F. GERSON
Executive Vice President, Policy and Public Programs; International Partners
Executive Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services;
Chief Financial Officer; Corporate Treasurer
ERIC L. MOTLEY, PHD
Executive Vice President, Institutional Advancement;Corporate Secretary
Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs;
Executive Director, Henry Crown Fellowship Program
Executive Vice President, Youth & Engagement Programs
Vice President, Administration; Executive Director, Aspen Wye Campus
JAMES M. SPIEGELMAN
Vice President, Chief External Affairs Officer; Deputy to the President
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND PUBLISHER Corby Kummer
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sacha Zimmerman
MANAGING EDITOR Alison Decker
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Douglas Farrar
SENIOR EDITORS Jean Morra, Tarek Rizk
ASSISTANT EDITORS Arica VanBoxtel, Keosha Varela
DESIGN DIRECTOR Katie Kissane-Viola
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Paul Viola
EDITOR EMERITUS Jamie Miller
MANAGING DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS Pherabe Kolb
CONTACT EDITORIAL email@example.com
ADVERTISING Cynthia Cameron, 970.544.3453, firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL The Aspen Institute,
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
– Corby Kummer
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 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, William Bynum, Stephen
L. Carter, Troy Carter, Cesar Conde, Katie Couric, Andrea Cunningham, Kenneth L. Davis, John
Doerr, Thelma Duggin, Arne Duncan, Michael D. Eisner, L. Brooks Entwistle, Alan Fletcher,
Corinne Flick, Henrietta H. Fore, Ann B. Friedman, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Henry Louis Gates
Jr., Mircea Geoana, David Gergen, Antonio Gracias, Patrick W. Gross, Arjun Gupta, Jane Harman,
Hayne Hipp, Mark Hoplamazian, Gerald D. Hosier, Robert J. Hurst, Walter Isaacson,
Natalie Jaresko, Salman Khan, Teisuke Kitayama, Michael Klein, David H. Koch,
Satinder K. Lambah, Laura Lauder, Yo-Yo Ma, Frederic V. Malek, James M. Manyika,
William E. Mayer*, Bonnie P. 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, Carrie Walton
Penner, Margot L. Pritzker, Peter A. Reiling, Lynda Resnick, Condoleezza Rice, James Rogers,
Ricardo Salinas, Anna Deavere Smith, Michelle Smith, Javier Solana, Robert K. Steel*,
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, Ann Korologos*
Keith Berwick, John Brademas, James C. Calaway, William T. Coleman, Jr.,
Lester Crown, Tarun Das, William H. Donaldson, Sylvia A Earle, James L. Ferguson, Richard N.
Gardner, Alma L. Gildenhorn, Jacqueline Grapin, Irvine O. Hockaday Jr., Nina Rodale Houghton,
Anne Frasher Hudson, Jérôme Huret, William N. Joy, Henry A. Kissinger, 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 Institute sets high standards to ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable manner.
This issue was printed by American Web on recycled fibers containing 10% postconsumer waste, with inks containing a blend of soy base. Our printer is a certified member
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better place to live.
A great realtor
does much the same.
VISION, INNOVATION, LONGEVITY.
Those are a few of the qualities of a
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IS CREATING HEALTHIER FUTURES FOR
KIDS TODAY AND GENERATIONS TO COME.
It’s expert doctors and nurses providing the best
quality care, while advancing the cures of tomorrow
through world-class research. It’s making treatments
less invasive, more effective and easier on patients and
families. And it’s being a leading voice for children’s
health needs across our community and beyond.
At Children’s National, we do everything in our power
to help every child be their happiest, healthiest self.
Because we don’t just want kids to grow up. We want
them to GROW UP STRONGER.
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
A City That Thinks for Itself Cities that blend urban planning,
economic development, and innovation are becoming truly smart, networked enclaves. The
experts and entrepreneurs on the Communications and Society Program’s Roundtable on
Information Technology examined how digital networks are changing urban life and governance.
Their March report, The City as a Platform, studied urban areas around the world. But even looking
just at Los Angeles provides a window into how cities think. aspeninstitute.org/city-as-platform
worn by Los
about 20 percent
of the total number
of bodycams in
the world. Also:
86 percent of
police are dropped
based on video
connected to the
Internet in LA
to Los Angeles’s city-government
websites per month.
of LA drivers use Waze, a navigation app that lets drivers
share real-time traffic updates, accidents, police traps, etc.
LA sends Waze data on its city projects, and Waze gives
LA traffic data every 2 minutes.
The number of different incorporated
cities in Los Angeles County
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
“You don’t just grow the
downtown and hope
everybody’s going to
benefit, because we know
that they won’t,” said
Marjorie Kelly, an executive
vice president at the
Kelly spoke at an Institute
event in January hosted by
the Economic Opportunities
Program’s Working in
America series about
Moderator Dorian Warren,
MSNBC contributor and
a Roosevelt Institute
fellow, moderated a panel
to discuss development
approaches that are
driven by values—equity,
cultivate high-quality jobs.
Richmond, Virginia, Mayor
Dwight Jones said that
cities must “make sure that
the economic development
accrues the benefit, not only
[to] the city but particularly
to the poor community.”
Sociologist Sanjay Pinto
and the Wellspring
Emily Kawano offered
like alternative businessownership models,
leveraging the purchasing
power of large public and
and robust workforcedevelopment plans. “We
really can build something
better from what we have,”
Kawano said. Watch the
video at as.pn/econdev.
And for more, go to
RECEIVES 2015 PRESTON ROBERT TISCH
AWARD IN CIVIC LEADERSHIP
“It is the job of a leader to shape a vision people are motivated by.” Ford Foundation
President Darren Walker spoke of the challenges of leadership—both personally and as
the head of a major philanthropic institution—at a program honoring him with the 2015
Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership. The December program at New York City’s
Museum of Modern Art featured a conversation between Walker and Institute CEO Walter
Isaacson. Walker discussed his decision to focus the Ford Foundation’s work on inequality,
which he said has led to an unraveling of American society. He spoke about the need to
look at what produces inequality, including cultural narratives that perpetuate stereotypes
about poverty and race. Walker called upon foundations and individual donors to “move
from a paradigm of generosity to one of justice.” Justice, he explained, requires not just
writing a check but looking at why the need exists. He also challenged philanthropists to
ask: What can be done to build a world where philanthropy is no longer as necessary? The
Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership, created in 2009, honors the legacy of the
late Bob Tisch, a leader in business, public service, and philanthropy, and is underwritten
by his family—Steve, Laurie, and Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch, as well as by the Laurie M. Tisch
Partnering with industry leaders, government agencies,
and global law enforcement, Intel Security oﬀers systemic
threat lifecycle defense through applied integration,
automation, and orchestration.
Learn more at intelsecurity.com.
Intel and the Intel and McAfee logos are trademarks of Intel Corporation or McAfee, Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Copyright © 2016 Intel Corporation.
Foundation leaders at the
Roy Lichtenstein Studio
in New York City
THE ART OF STEWARDING ART
Foundations associated with artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helen Frankenthaler increase arts funding
and give the public access to unrivaled cultural resources. But unlike most private foundations, artist-endowed foundations
are given non-liquid assets—art collections—that must be used for educational purposes as well as translated through sales
into financial resources, whether to support charities, education programs, or grants. Yet the people tapped to head these
organizations mainly come from the art-museum world. They are deeply knowledgeable about art history but often face a
steep learning curve when it comes to operating under extensive private-foundation regulations, as well as creating grant
programs and operating study centers or artists’ residencies.
Since 2010, new foundation leaders have been navigating this territory with the Institute’s Artist-Endowed Foundations
Initiative—the first and only source of information on forming and governing these uniquely endowed charities. The individuals
using AEFI’s resources wanted a more integrated educational experience. So this spring AEFI launched the Seminar on
Strategy for New Artist-Endowed Foundation Leaders, presented with the University of Miami School of Law. The annual
New York City seminar will orient new leaders to foundations’ complex business models, their art-historical role, and varied
governance requirements. What’s more, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Joan Mitchell
Foundation, Robert Motherwell’s Dedalus Foundation, and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum will each
host one day of the program, offering participants a firsthand view of their operations. aspeninstitute.org/aefi
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
“Women where? Women when? What women? ... Do
we really need the category of women?” asked Melissa
Harris-Perry, formerly with MSNBC, in the kickoff to the
Institute’s first Forum on Women and Girls, in March. In
honor of International Women’s Day, the Institute hosted a
series of discussions with more than 100 women’s-rights and
economic-justice leaders. The forum was a lead-up to the
June White House Summit on the United State of Women,
which the Institute organized with the administration.
At the forum, speakers were frank: “We as a society do
WHAT MAKES AN AMERICAN?
not want to be uncomfortable,” said Teresa Younger of the
Ms. Foundation for Women. “That is why patriarchy survives
In an essay for Democracy Journal, Eric Liu, the executive
director of the Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity
Program, argued that a diversifying United States needs a
shared base of historical, cultural, and political knowledge.
Inspired by E.D. Hirsch’s 1987 book Cultural Literacy, Liu
argued that a 21st-century sense of cultural literacy must be
radically inclusive—reflecting the true breadth of American
diversity. The article sparked the What Every American Should
Know project, an initiative to build civic and cultural literacy in
America. Liu and his team at the Institute are crowdsourcing
Top 10 lists of what all Americans should know in order to be
engaged and literate citizens. Submissions have come in from
across the country and across the political spectrum. At the
top of the aggregated list so far are:
today.” Speakers were also pragmatic: Tina Tchen, chief of
staff to the first lady, noted, “Once you put a gender lens
on how you’re doing policy, a whole new set of things come
up.” The message was forward-looking: “What’s really
galvanizing young people is the possibility that we can
see freedom in our lifetime,” said Alicia Garza, founder of
Too often, conversations about women’s issues are
separated into two camps—those that affect American
women and those that affect women in every other country
on the planet. But as Kavita Ramdas of the Ford Foundation
said, “If we think these distinctions—‘First World,’ ‘Second
World,’ and ‘Third World’—exist, we are kidding ourselves.”
1. US Constitution
The forum was organized by two Institute programs:
2. Declaration of Independence
Ascend and Aspen Global Health and Development.
3. Martin Luther King Jr.
4. US Civil War
5. Trail of Tears
6. Manifest Destiny
7. “I Have a Dream”
9. White Privilege
10. Gettysburg Address
Harris-Perry, Garza, and Younger
The project has launched a campaign to have educators,
librarians, historians, artists, scientists, and everyone across
the country submit their own Top 10 lists. And the team is
now expanding the conversation through spin-off projects
such as segments on the Aspen Idea podcast featuring
guests like E.D. Hirsch, author of the seminal Cultural Literacy;
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas; and
Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America.
The American Federation of Teachers’ Randi Weingarten
kicked off a related blog on The Huffington Post. And Liu
and his team are hosting a series of public events on What
Every American Should Know. Submit your own Top 10 list to
“Building a Culture of Health
in America… is much like
assembling a quilt. It requires
many hands working together.
And often, the most unlikely
pairings create the most
Now, more than ever, the movement to
improve health must be championed not
solely by the health sector, but also by those
who have not historically seen themselves
as part of the health arena.
With that in mind, the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation is issuing a challenge to individuals
and organizations across America to forge
new and unconventional partnerships with
the goal of building a Culture of Health that
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA,
President and Chief Executive Officer
Think big. Act together.
Learn more at rwjf.org/2016AnnualMessage.
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
ON THE GROUND AND IN THE WORLD
The “Aspen Idea” is not just something the Institute exports; it’s something
nurtured in its own employees, too. The Aspen on the Ground service initiative
was the brainchild of Institute employees Erin Bailey, formerly of the Native
American Youth Program, and Katie Drasser, of Aspen Global Health and
Development, who were awarded an Aspen Innovation Fund grant to design
the program. The initiative’s goal is to promote the policies that employees
work on every day in the office with service projects out in the world. The
inaugural Aspen on the Ground winners are Travis Green, Janice Joseph,
and Gina Rogari. Green, a program manager at the Community Strategies
Group, will work with Communities Unlimited to start a local food system
using WealthWorks, an economic-development program the Institute helped
refine. Green’s project will connect low-income Delta producers to Memphis’s
local-food movement. Joseph and Rogari, the program manager and program
associate in Global Health and Development, will merge Joseph’s Haitian
ancestry and Rogari’s work with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. They will
host business workshops for Haitian artisans to help them build economically
viable businesses for the global market.
On April 19, Viking Penguin’s Carole Desanti, the author of The Unruly Passions
of Eugenie R., moderated a discussion about the growing popularity of
fantasy fiction in an event cosponsored by the Institute and Aspen Words. Lev
Grossman, who recently published the last novel in his The Magicians trilogy,
talked about the appeal of created worlds for adults and children. His magical
world of Fillory, compared by critics to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, was recently brought
to life in a SyFy TV series of the same name. Hannah Tinti, who received the
Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize for her best-selling book, The Good Thief,
discussed how strange and otherworldly events can redefine the borders of
truth and storytelling. And Mark Tompkins joined the conversation; his debut
novel, The Last Days of Magic, combines Celtic and Biblical mythology with
medieval political intrigue. aspenwords.org
THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING
THE 2GEN WAR ON POVERTY
In January, the Ascend Program commemorated five years at the Institute with an
event assessing states’ efforts to break the cycle of poverty for families. National
experts shared advances in two-generation, family-focused policies from the
last half-decade. The State of 2Gen Roundtable included leaders from the White
House, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of
Education, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We are hungry to use every ounce
of the resources on this planet,” said the White House Domestic Policy Council’s
$2 billion in emergency aid to impoverished families, and Ascend is eager to help
the administration focus those resources on the whole family.
Luke Tate on battling generational poverty. President Obama has committed to
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AROUND THE INSTITUTE
HOW TO MAKE A BETTER WORLD BY 2030
For the past three years, hundreds of highly successful
entrepreneurial leaders have come together for the Aspen
Action Forum to discuss how to make a positive societal
impact on health, education, business, and more. Lynda and
Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company,
recently announced a $15 million endowment—the largest
gift in the Institute’s history—to ensure the program’s
continued operation through 2030.
Renamed the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, the annual
event is held over four days in Aspen, where attendees
(most of whom are Fellows in the Aspen Global Leadership
Network) make public “Action Pledges” that detail specific
ways in which they will create positive change in their
communities. Past pledges include:
Educate and empower teen mothers in the red
light district of Panama City
Curb child-marriage practices in northern
Educate 100,000 girls in India
Build a sustainable manufacturing facility in the
Midwestern United States
In 2015, Lynda Resnick herself made a pledge: to reduce
obesity, disease, and stress in California’s Central Valley,
where most of The Wonderful Company’s workforce lives.
“This event is one of the few in the world that moves real
change-makers from thought to action,” said Lynda Resnick,
who is also a Trustee of the Institute. “The outcomes of
the Resnick Aspen Action Forum are tangible, and Stewart
and I are excited to support it in this way.” The Resnicks
have provided major support for the forum since 2013,
and in that time, over 1,000 participants from more than
40 countries have attended. With this endowment, AGLN
hopes to deepen the impact Action Pledges are making. This
year’s forum, themed “Leading Toward Justice,” is July 19
to 22. Participants will be challenged to envision a better
world by 2030. Combined with seminars, workshops, and
topical dialogues designed to support pledges and spur new
connections, the Action Forum will create bridges across
countries, cultures, and industries to bring new resources
and solutions to the world’s most complex problems.
A Special Note from Walter Isaacson
I am pleased to announce that Lynda and Stewart Resnick,
co-founders of The Wonderful Company, have pledged $15
million to the Institute to create a term endowment that will
ensure the continuation of the Aspen Action Forum, now the
Resnick Aspen Action Forum, through 2030. Over the past
three years, Lynda and Stewart’s extraordinary support has
enabled hundreds of Fellows from across the Aspen Global
Leadership Network—as well as a variety of other leaders,
including an annual cohort from California’s Central Valley—
to connect with each other at the Action Forum, deepen
their commitment to values-based leadership, and add
depth and staying power to their social-impact ventures.
The Action Forum is among the Institute’s greatest platforms
for effecting real and measurable change in the world, and
it is also our most geographically and demographically
diverse annual convening. Lynda and Stewart’s personal
commitment to diversity, leadership, and fellowship make
them natural partners to help carry the Action Forum into
the future, and we thank them for their continued support.
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AROUND THE INSTITUTE
“EVERYONE HAS TO WIN”
“Foreign policy is not about power or interests alone but about relationships,”
Jeremi Suri said at a Hurst Lecture Series discussion in Aspen. “Some will win
more than others, but everyone has to win.” This March, the series brought Suri,
a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University
of Texas, and Robert Hutchings, a professor at Princeton University and the
former chair of the National Intelligence Council, to Aspen to discuss their new
book, Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy. The book
examines diplomacy through ten case studies, ranging from the Camp David
Accords to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Hutchings discussed
the remarkable use of diplomacy to end the Cold War, and Suri talked about
how Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong opened China to the United States. The
Hurst Community Fund established the series to bring renowned leaders to the
Institute for public events. aspeninstitute.org/events/hurst
RACE: ON CAMPUS AND IN THE CITY
The annual Symposium on the State of Race in America, a partnership between the Institute’s Communications and Society
Program and the Comcast Corporation, explores what it means to be a person of color in 21st-century America. This year, the
March symposium featured panels on higher education and on urban demographics. Moderated by Fox News’ Juan Williams,
the first panel featured student activists, advocacy organizations, and university presidents on topics like prioritizing diversity
and inclusionary policies on campus. “Diversity is one thing,” said Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami-Dade College.
“Inclusion is another.” In the second panel, journalist Ray Suarez moderated a debate between government officials and
housing advocates on the pros and cons of gentrification. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake explained: “I want
Baltimore to be a welcoming city. But I don’t want to lose our character.” All participants then attended a town hall for a
passionate, informal conversation on race and the 2016 election. as.pn/stateofrace
As technologies become more sophisticated, so have
the potential threats to cybersecurity. The coordinated
hacker attacks on companies such as Sony Pictures and on
nations like last December’s Ukraine power shutdown
have underscored the vulnerability of an online world. In
March, The New York Times’ David E. Sanger moderated
a conversation on cyber threats with Jason Healey, a
cyber specialist at Columbia University, and Andy Ozment,
from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of
Cybersecurity and Communications. The event was part of
the Aspen at Roosevelt House series, a partnership between
the Institute and Hunter College. Ozment stressed the
primary importance of vigilance in protecting personal data.
Still, both he and Healey were optimistic about using the
Cloud for cyber defense. “Our strategy now is centralizing
things in one place where we can protect them,” Ozment
said. Created by the Institute’s Homeland Security Program,
the conversation was a preview of the 2016 Aspen Security
Forum, where experts will debate the national security issues
of the day. aspensecurityforum.org
When Hackers Attack
ENDOWED FUNDING PROVIDED BY
For over 60 years, the Aspen Institute has convened
the world’s leaders to pause and reflect on the critical
issues of our time.
THE RESNICK FAMILY FOUNDATION
ADDITIONAL SPONSORSHIP PROVIDED BY
DAVID M. RUBENSTEIN
THE SKOLL FOUNDATION
At the annual Resnick Aspen Action Forum, we invite
these leaders to do more than just reflect. We encourage
them to move “from thought to action.”
Track the progress past participants are making with
Action Pledges. Watch our series of short video updates
to learn about how they’re moving the needle on
changes in their communities.
THE JOHN P. AND ANNE WELSH MCNULTY FOUNDATION
THE CHARLES AND LYNN SCHUSTERMAN
MICHAEL KLEIN AND JOANY FABRY
PAUL HASTINGS LLP
MARGOT AND TOM PRITZKER
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HEALTH INNOVATORS FELLOWSHIP
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
Kathy Cox, Teresa Ruiz, and Rich Crandall
THURSDAY, JULY 7
THURSDAY, JULY 14
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20
ELEANORE & DOMENICO DE SOLE
THURSDAY, JULY 21
CARRIE MAE WEEMS
THURSDAY, JULY 28
STATE OF EDUCATION
States collectively invest nearly $600 billion per year in education, making it one of
the largest line items in their budgets—on par with federal investments in military and
national defense. And yet legislators often don’t have the time or capacity to develop
education-policy expertise. That’s why last fall the Education and Society Program part-
nered with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation to assemble a bipartisan group of
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2
islative leaders became students themselves as they worked with policy experts to ex-
National Council Special Event*
ANN PHILBIN in conversation
with CHARLES RAY
*To join the National Council,
call 970-923-3181, x212
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
state legislators for the 2015 Education Summit in Aspen. Over two days, veteran legplore their role in education and to deepen their knowledge of critical public-education
issues. Two classroom teachers kicked off the summit with compelling reflections on
the purpose of public education in an interview with Institute CEO Walter Isaacson.
Kansas Speaker of the House Peggy Mast called the summit “a rich learning experience
that has empowered me to confidently become more involved in the education challenges we face.” In December, the Education and Society Program published findings
from focus groups with state legislators, Engaging State Legislators: Lessons for the
Education Sector. aspendrl.org.
SATURDAY, JULY 2
ENRIQUE MARTÍNEZ CELAYA
WEDS. JULY 13 – THURS. JULY 14
The Dynamic Culture of
Contemporary Art Making
with TOM SACHS & TOM HEALY
Reservations or registration required
AndersonRanch arts center
andersonranch.org (970) 923-3181
5263 Owl Creek Road, SNOWMASS
ASPEN WORDS GIVES EMERGING WRITERS A BOOST
Despite the digital changes transforming the publishing world and the challenges
facing aspiring authors, writers keep writing. And Aspen Words fosters new
literary voices through its Emerging Writer Fellowship. The fourth class was
announced in February, following a competitive process in which candidates
were selected based on the quality and promise of a writing sample. The seven
winners will receive a full scholarship to Summer Words—Aspen Words’s annual
writing conference and literary festival for workshops, consultations with agents
and editors, panel discussions, readings, and receptions. Former Fellows have
gone on to win prestigious literary awards and have received major book deals.
This year’s 2016 Emerging Writer Fellows are: Stephen Narain, Amanda Rusher
Foushee, A.L. Major, Esther Amini, Sarah Eisner, Jessica Lynn Suchon, and A.K.
AROUND THE INSTITUTE
Before 1978, Native American children
were ripped from their families and cultures and placed in non-Native homes at
alarmingly high rates. The practice was
so distressing that Congress ultimately
passed the Indian Child Welfare Act—with
strong bipartisan support—to ensure that
Native children would remain with their
tribes. Since then, when placing Native
children in foster care or in private adoptions, courts must first look to extended
family or other tribal members before
considering non-Native placement. Although Native children interact with the
foster-care system at higher rates than
their non-Native peers, ICWA has played
a vital role in ensuring that children remain connected to their tribes, culture,
and language, which experts have found
supports healthy development. Recently,
however, the law has come under attack
by groups seeking to undermine the law
based on spurious claims about its intent.
The Center for Native American Youth
hosted a roundtable meeting at the Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
last December on the law and general
Native American child-welfare issues. The
discussion brought together White House
staff, leading child-welfare advocates, and
tribal leaders to address anti-ICWA concerns and to understand why Native children need additional support and cultural
connections. Two Native foster youth attended to provide their perspectives and
to share why staying within their tribal
culture has helped them succeed despite
the early challenges they faced. cnay.org
Cameron Carpenter, the Institute’s Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence, opened
his US tour in January at SFJAZZ, and Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel
joined the organ superstar for a pre-concert conversation. While in San Francisco,
Carpenter also launched his educational initiative—an organ workshop for
children that he hopes to stage prior to as many of his concerts as possible.
Carpenter’s instrument of choice is a revolutionary digital organ and speaker
system he helped design, called the International Touring Organ. That the ITO
actually tours is itself revolutionary: pipe organs are not known for their mobility.
Carpenter calls it “a profound queering of the question of what an organ really
is.” As the Touring Organ moves from city to city, Carpenter thinks it is vital
to “make a serious effort every time it’s staged to open it up to children.” The
Arts Program also added a new element to the artist’s residency: mentorship.
Carpenter has taken under his wing a New Jersey musician named Matthew
Whitaker, who is 14, blind, and a largely self-taught organ and piano prodigy.
The young talent joined Carpenter onstage. aspeninstitute.org/arts-program
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Power Words From the incongruous personality of Richard Nixon to the future of work
to an intimate portrait of grief, this season’s 2015/2016 slate of authors for the Institute’s
Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series represented some of the most anticipated
books in recent years. Biographers, historians, philosophers, political scientists, and
journalists came to the Institute’s Washington, DC, headquarters to tackle the presidency,
global politics, public education, industry, women, and death. Below is just a sample. To
watch videos of the events, go to aspeninstitute.org/video.
Journalist and New York Times best-selling author
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON
Sociology professor, Georgetown University
Being Nixon: A Man Divided
The Black Presidency: Barack Obama
and the Politics of Race in America
Even Nixon didn’t know what it was like
to be Nixon.
Black people deserve a president who cares
about us in public spaces.
Distinguished visiting fellow,
Johns Hopkins University
Contributor, The New Yorker
The Prize: Who’s in charge of
The Industries of the Future
If you’re not talking to teachers, you’re really
missing an opportunity for change.
executive editor, Random House
Destiny and Power: The American
Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
He … fully understood that compromise was
not a dirty word but was the oxygen of
Humans are much more difficult to
upgrade than software.
Executive director, Georgetown Institute for
Women, Peace, and Security
Fast Forward: How Women can Achieve
Power and Purpose
Increasingly today, women are using
their power for purpose.
Chess grandmaster and political activist
The Court and the World: American Law
and the New Global Realities
Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin
and the Enemies of the Free World Must
The Constitution does not write the
president a blank check—even in war time.
Distinguished fellow, Washington Institute
for Near East Policy
Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israel
Relationship from Truman to Obama
Some of what Israel does is to motivate the
rest of the world.
Associate justice, US Supreme Court
I’m always on the side of anti-Putinism—
whether that’s in Russia or this country.
Host, The Diane Rehm Show
On My Own
I rage at a system that would not allow
John to be helped toward his own death.
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Yassine El Mansouri
The head of the Institute’s newly renamed Department of
Institutional Advancement, Eric Motley, talks to one of America’s
leading philanthropists, David Rubenstein, about the contemporary
world of giving, forming smart and spirited partnerships, making
sure projects are meaningful and impactful, and why advancing
the Institute toward an ambitious future means constantly turning
creative ideas into action. By Eric Motley
have recently been honored with the responsibility to advance the
the purchase of the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta for
Institute’s mission as Executive Vice President of Development.
the National Archives, the restoration of the Washington Monument,
To be truthful, I did not expect my journey here to lead me
and the historical reconstruction of the slave community at Thomas
to development. I came to the Institute in 2007 from the State
Jefferson’s Monticello. He stands at the helm of numerous academic
Department, where I had been helping to run the Fulbright
and cultural boards, including the Kennedy Center, Duke University,
Program. My history with Aspen, though, goes back to 2003, when
Lincoln Center, the University of Chicago, and the Smithsonian.
I was invited to be part of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program
David sets an example for the entire charitable community
during my time at the White House. In the years after that first deeply
through his participation in the Giving Pledge, a commitment to give
meaningful engagement, I had the pleasure and good fortune to
away at least half of his wealth within his lifetime. So in thinking about
experience firsthand every single department within this organization.
the future of the Institute, my role in it, and the way that I hope the
I went on to oversee the Henry Crown Fellowship Program, in our
larger Aspen community will consider participating in our programs,
Leadership department. I ran a
I asked David to share some of his
commission to reform the White
vast wisdom. Here are excerpts
House appointments process, within
our wide-ranging conversation,
The interdisciplinary training from
Policy Programs. And for the past two
which took place on a chilly weekend
years, I have overseen a pair of event
in “Aspen-ism” I had, in fact, morning in Washington as winter was
series that straddle Public Programs
drawing to an end.
probably constitutes the best Motley: Could you share a bit about
My 13-year history with the
the underlying motivation behind
possible preparation for my
Institute has given me a profound
education in the art of moving thought
current duties, which turn on
into action. In my policy work, that
Rubenstein: I came from very
action was legislative. With Henry having an instinct for who we modest circumstances and feel that
Crown, our Fellows become agents
I’ve been fortunate in my business
for action through social enterprise are, what we do very broadly career. I now am in a position to
and advocacy. I see this as a unifying
give back to my community, my
and very specifically, and
pattern throughout the work of my
society, and my country, and I have
colleagues and friends here at the
the type of people who make an obligation to do so. I don’t need
Institute: our mission to move thought
to buy more houses and other kinds
into action. Though I had received
good partners in our quest for of ornaments of wealth, and I have
several offers to oversee external
more than enough for my personal
relations for other nonprofits, I always
and my family’s well-being, and I
doubted whether my fundamentally
don’t really see a need to leave an
scholastic inclinations and talents
enormous sum to one’s children. So
would be well suited to the activities of development, which I took to
if you have more money than your family needs, what else can you do
be transactional at their core.
with it but give it away? And I feel that giving it away while I am alive
But I now realize that my thinking was mistaken and that my new
is better than having an executor give it away, so I have begun a fairly
role is at the very heart of this endeavor. What we do in “Development,”
extensive program to give away the bulk of my wealth.
which I will shortly be renaming “Institutional Advancement,” is work
with diverse partners across fields to bring great ideas to life through
Motley: What draws you to specific institutions and what are
the singular resources of the Institute. It is really about building
you looking for out of the partnerships that you have, say, with the
successful partnerships and is perhaps more analogous to the work of
University of Chicago or the Kennedy Center, and how do you
an investment manager—with that profession’s emphasis on research,
describe which causes and organizations you will support?
value, and return—than the old-school model of fundraising.
The interdisciplinary training in “Aspen-ism” I had, in fact,
Rubenstein: I began by starting with organizations that had
probably constitutes the best possible preparation for my current
been helpful to me in my life or career: so the university that I
duties, which turn on having an instinct for who we are, what we do
went to, Duke, or law school I went to, University of Chicago.
very broadly and very specifically, and the type of people who make
But I also am very indebted to institutions in the city where I
good partners in our quest for social good. And I have not found a
live, Washington. So institutions like the Kennedy Center, the
better partner or guide for thinking about my new field than David
Smithsonian, and the National Archives are organizations I’ve
Rubenstein, founder of the Carlyle Group and one of the great
gotten some benefit out of over the years. So I tended to pick
philanthropists of our era. David has led such signature investments as
things that were meaningful to my life, to the place that I live, or
helpful to my family. But then, my interests tend to be relatively
eclectic, and I acquired more institutions that I was interested
in when I learned more about them. I probably have too many
to support as meaningfully as I would like, but I am probably
supporting about 70 organizations annually in a meaningful way.
I chair about six national capital campaigns, and I serve on about
30 nonprofit boards—way too many for any sane person to do. I
am more actively involved in the ones that I chair, obviously, and
so I chair a number of organizations. I get a lot of pleasure out
of being involved in the nonprofit world, and I try to balance my
for-profit activities with my not-for-profit activities in a way that I
enjoy. I just wish I had more time in the day.
Motley: You give generously to the Institute. What is it about
what we do that engages you, and what has been most fulfilling
about your relationship with us?
Rubenstein: Even among the 70 nonprofits I support, Aspen is
a unique organization, in the way that it brings people together
from all over the country and indeed all over the world to have
very interesting conversations, dialogues, and networking. And I
find the Aspen Ideas Festival and Resnick Aspen Action Forum
to be unique assemblages of very talented people. You can learn
a great deal by meeting with people and listening to them. The
Aspen leadership has done a spectacular job of bringing out the
best in people from throughout the country and around the world.
Motley: I doubt that all of your experiences with nonprofits
have been great. Are there qualities that you find lacking in your
Rubenstein: When you get involved with any organization, you
ultimately, if you are in my position, will probably be asked to give
or want to give money. And some organizations are better at figuring
out what to do with the money productively than others. The best
ones keep you informed of what is happening with the money you’ve
given and keep you engaged in the institution. Some are better at
that than others. I don’t have any unpleasant experiences, but there
are some organizations where I’ve probably shied away from giving
more money or spending more time because the experience was not
as intellectually interesting as I would have wanted, or the receptivity
to my ideas was not anywhere close to what I had hoped it would be.
But that’s a very, very modest number, and generally the organizations
I pick are ones I am very happy with today.
Motley: How do you measure success and impact when you think
about the gifts you give?
Rubenstein: I am not wealthy enough to say that I can tackle the
problems of health in Africa or K-to-12 education in the United
States. Bill Gates has a great deal more wealth, and I admire his
efforts to try to tackle those problems. I am trying to do three things:
One, find a project I can start that wouldn’t have gotten started had
I not gotten involved. Two, I can complete something that wouldn’t
have been completed had I not gotten involved. And three, that
I’m likely to see during my lifespan the reasonable success of
this project. So if, for example, I were to say that I want to tackle
K-through-12 education in the United States, I’m not sure at my
age—66—I would live long enough to really see the success of that.
So I will say to Monticello, Why don’t you take some resources that
I will be happy to give you and try to rehabilitate Monticello, and
I’m likely to live long enough to see that happen. Or scholarships
to undergraduates. I’m likely to see these young adults receiving
the benefits of that scholarship. But there is an enormous amount
that you can give your money to profitably and productively, and
I have to pick and choose. Generally, I’m looking for things where
I can make a difference, I can see the impact of it while I’m alive.
Motley: How is today’s philanthropic challenge different from that
of previous generations? For example, you have made incredible
contributions to the cultural infrastructure of our nation’s capital,
often in the absence of federal action. In the current political
climate, how can public and private entities work together on
preserving national treasures?
Rubenstein: The federal government does not have the resources
that it once had and will not be able to provide funds for cultural
institutions among other things it used to be able to do. Therefore,
private citizens should step up and try to engage in public-private
partnerships with the government. I’ve, for example, made some gifts
where the National Park Service will probably put up some money
alongside the money that I might put up. In the Washington Monument
project, the government matched what I put up. In a project that was
recently announced, I will be putting up the bulk of the money to help
rehabilitate the Lincoln Memorial, but the government is putting up
some money. It’s designed to say to citizens, If there is a project that
would be enhanced by your involvement, the government might be
willing to put up some money so you can get something done that
would not otherwise have been done.
I look for, one, a project I can
start that would not otherwise
have gotten started. Two,
something that wouldn’t have
been completed had I not gotten
involved. And three, something
where I can make a difference-where I can see the impact while
I’m alive. We’re all on Earth for
a relatively short period of time,
and we have an obligation
to society to give our financial
resources, our time, our energy,
and our ideas, depending on
ourability to give. Everybody
will feel a much richer human
experience if they do.
Motley: What advice would you offer to philanthropists who are just
starting out or rethinking their approach to charitable investments?
Rubenstein: You have to find an institution you’re interested in.
You have to find something where you have some passion, where
you want to stay involved. And you should start small and then
grow, and try to have some impact on the institution or particular
project you’re involved with. We’re all on Earth for a relatively short
period of time, and we have an obligation to society and humanity
to try to give back to society with our financial resources, our time,
our energy, our ideas, depending on what you have the ability to
give. Everybody will feel a much richer human experience if they
do that. I feel much better about what I’m doing with my time on
this Earth when I am giving away money than when I am making
money. I hope that I just live long enough to give away the bulk of
my money and see the impact of it.
Motley: What advice can you give me as I begin this new role, after
being at Aspen for 13 years in other roles?
Rubenstein: I have no doubt you’ll succeed in this. My experience
is that people who succeed in one project rarely fail in another.
And what you’ve done before at Aspen has been very successful. I
would try to talk to as many potential donors as you can and try to
find out what interests them and try to help them craft something
that will make them interested in getting involved and providing
support. But also make certain donors understand it’s not only
financial support but also their time, their energy, their ideas that
will be useful.
IMPACT: ASPEN ARTS PROGRAM
THE SINGLE STORY
Each summer, the Institute’s Arts Program gathers young
creative leaders for a special session of the Aspen Seminar,
“Leadership, Arts, and the Good Society.” Three of them share
the discovery of coming together in Aspen—and what they
brought back to their student lives.
he summer seminar is a culmination of the Creative Young
Leaders Alliance, which begins with local seminars organized
by the Arts Program throughout the year. Participants from
local seminars are then selected to come to Aspen, where they
also have the opportunity to take workshops with Arts Track speakers at
the Aspen Ideas Festival. Last year, participants worked with Elizabeth
Alexander, Barack Obama’s inaugural poet and the director of creativity
and free expression at the Ford Foundation, and Claudia Rankine, whose
most recent book, Citizen: An American Lyric, won the National Book Critics
Circle Award and was nominated for the National Book Award.
College-bound alumni of the program are eligible to serve as
Civic Practice Scholars, the formal representatives of the Arts
Program for one year both online and in person. They share their art
and continued thinking on their roles as artists in society through a
monthly blog and regular social-media presence. And they engage as
mentors for new students taking part in the seminar. The first scholars
for 2015–2016, Madeleine LeCesne and Karlyn Boens, come
respectively from the National Student Poets and Young Chicago
Authors. They are joined here by Louis Lafair, who participated in the
first seminar in 2014.
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IMPACT: ASPEN ARTS PROGRAM
Landing at the Aspen airport took my breath away. It was an incredible
view—and a terrifying descent. The plane, buffeted by wind, slipped
The participants in my seminar were coming together from different
parts of the country, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different
perspectives. Some of us were Young Chicago Authors; some medalists in
the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; and some—myself included—were
National Student Poets. We shared one thing: a love of poetry.
From the moment we all met in Aspen, we didn’t stop talking—and
none of the talk was small. Over the following days, discussing the writing
of Plato and Aristotle, Hannah Arendt and Martin Luther King—and
more—we explored the role artists play in society. The conversation
often became intense, with conflicting opinions and existential debates.
Navigating it sometimes felt like landing at the Aspen airport.
Time and again, we returned to Chimamanda Adichie’s ideas on
the danger of a single story. As a child in Nigeria, Adichie had a house
servant, Fide, whose poverty became her single story of him. When she
attended college in the United States, she herself became a similar victim:
her roommate was shocked that Adichie spoke English, asked to hear some
of her “tribal music” (the best Adichie could do was a Mariah Carey tape),
and assumed that Adichie couldn’t use a stove. When we reduce someone to
a single story, Adichie says, there’s “no possibility of a connection as human
equals.” But “when we reject the single story, … when we realize that there
is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
It was easy enough in Aspen, our own little paradise, to reject the single
story, to dive deep beyond the surface, and to see each other as more than just
the places where we’re from. But how would we translate this idea into the
Three months later, I was landing at a different airport, this time in
California, to begin freshman year of college. I encountered hundreds of
other students. But I became frustrated by how few of them I could truly
meet. I knew an individual just by his or her name, dorm, hometown—maybe
a small, defining anecdote. Here was the girl from Montana, the guy in the
military, the kid who can solve Rubik’s Cubes blindfolded.
Eventually, I started getting to know people better. I became friends with
Rachel, Pablo, and Noah. That they’re from Montana, in the military, and
capable of solving Rubik’s Cubes blindfolded are now just minor facts in the
complex stories of who they are.
Since the seminar, my hunger for people’s stories is insatiable. I seek them
wherever I can. For example, John, who swipes my card every day at Arrillaga
Dining Hall, is not just “the John who works at Arrillaga.” John Edward Cabrera
also works at a McDonald’s and a movie theater, he has been an extra in 23
movies, and he attends clown camp each summer. He is the nephew of one of the
Mirabal sisters and the cousin of a congresswoman currently running for president
in the Dominican Republic. Unsurprisingly, when we sat down to have a longer
conversation than our standard greeting, he said, “I have stories for you.”
And so my college—full of so many people with so many wonderful
stories—can become, like Aspen, “a kind of paradise.”
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IMPACT: ASPEN ARTS PROGRAM
As a freshman at a college that has only a 25 percent minority population,
I am not surrounded by a lot of people who look like me. When we talk
about race in my classes, I often find that the real conversation we’re having
is about being black. And generally not the good parts—it’s usually about
slavery or oppression. As the only black student in many of my classes, my
teachers look to me to offer “insight,” to be the voice of blackness. Even
worse, when my teacher or classmates voice any kind of opinion on the
subject, they quickly look to me to check my reaction. I feel like an animal
at the zoo.
But last summer, during a workshop with the award-winning poet
Claudia Rankine, I was no longer on display. It started with a simple
question. Prompting us to write on racial identity, Claudia asked us,
“What is your view on whiteness?” Frankly, I had never thought about it.
At first, I could still only respond in terms of blackness. “Over here,
black people are experiencing cultural paranoia,” I wrote. “This is a
survival mode where black people question the motives of all white people
and presume them to be antagonistic to blacks.”
Claudia invited us to share our responses. I doubt I was the only poet who
felt uneasy. No one was eager to share their thoughts first. I do not remember
if I was the very last person to share, but when I did, I offered nothing new to
the conversation. Every one of us expressed in one way or another how being
white meant everything that being black was not. In Claudia’s book, Citizen,
she writes, “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a white sharp
background.” I don’t feel the same way. I always feel a strong awareness
of my skin color no matter what kinds of complexions are in the group of
people I am around. But when I am surrounded by people who look like
me, it is easier to think about our lack of privileges. To think about how
often I am asked to see the “person in charge,” and how high the odds are
that the person in charge will not look like me. To think about how my
social class is not advantageous when it comes to seeking legal or medical
help. To think about how innocent people who look like me can be killed
carrying nothing more dangerous than a drink and a bag of Skittles.
I don’t think I realized at the time that Claudia’s question about
whiteness was really a conversation about privilege. Never had I heard
the word “privilege” used in the context of race relations. I listened to
my white peers talk about the privilege of being articulate without people
around them being shocked, or what a privilege it is not to ever worry
about being followed while in a shopping center.
We thought about race from the opposite view of how my classes
thought about it—the perspective of whiteness and not blackness. All eyes
were not on me, and I was not looked to for validation or insight. Sitting
in the workshop, I listened to what each of my white peers had to offer
and dared not make them feel on display, as I had felt whenever topics
were about blackness. I wanted them to embrace their privilege with no
I cannot tell you that by the end of my workshop with Claudia Rankine
we all held hands and sang wonderful songs of togetherness. But she opened
our eyes wider that afternoon. It didn’t give me any answers—in fact, I’m left
with more questions. How can privilege build community and not chaos?
How can I help create this world?
But I do have an idea of how I can participate in change. It starts with
more vulnerability and more open and honest conversations. It starts with
me telling this story over and over again. It is no longer just a workshop
between Claudia and poets. Now, when I am in class and the topic shifts
to blackness, I no longer feel on display. I know that in order to grow as a
community of students and understand one another’s uniqueness, tough
questions have to be asked. I have chosen to be the black student who
responds with no shame.
My first night in Aspen, we had a welcome dinner for everyone participating in the seminar: the poets, the mentors, the Arts Program staff, and
Todd Breyfogle, our seminar leader, who was there with his family. Amid
each of us taking a turn to say hello and introduce ourselves, Todd’s sixyear-old son, Lucas, got up and introduced himself to the group as Harry
Potter. He explained that he was “there” but that we actually couldn’t see
him—since he wore a cloak of invisibility. And we played along, calling
into the sky, “Where’s Lucas?” as he sat giggling over a plate of pasta.
Over three days of discussing art, philosophy, and race during the
seminar sessions, one of the many discoveries we made was that in our real
lives back home, invisibility wasn’t part of a game that we were playing: it
was something many of us had fallen victim to.
One poet told us that he felt nervous about moving from his family’s
farm in South Carolina to go to college; I shared this fear with him, as
I too worried about leaving the South—in my case New Orleans—for
school in the Northeast. Someone else told the group that the open approach the seminar provided afforded him his first opportunity to openly
and honestly respond to questions about race and gender—since he often
felt silenced on such subjects as a young white man from Indiana. Another
poet said he couldn’t believe that no one looked at him suspiciously in the
grocery store here, an unbelievable occurrence for a young black man
from Chicago. We found that our various backgrounds and identities, despite all their differences, had managed to create in us fears so great that
we were in danger of becoming invisible, so lost in others’ projections
of us that we couldn’t clearly see ourselves. In my case, I came to Aspen
believing that no matter where life had taken me thus far—to the White
House when I became a National Student Poet, to Aspen to take the leadership seminar—my accomplishments were tainted by my own impostor
syndrome, that I didn’t deserve any of it, that someone must have missed
the real me, and that I had just gotten lucky.
Each day, we grew braver together as we talked through the meaning of
citizenship, which we defined as active belonging. We created our own community as we accepted each other, one by one, through discourse and writing—always connected through our love of poetry. On the last night, one of
our mentors, Dominique Chestand, told us: “Never apologize for breathing.
Never apologize for taking up space.” When she said this, I realized so many
of my experiences had been tainted by my own impostor syndrome. I readily
believed that no matter where life took me, I didn’t deserve to be there—I
had just gotten lucky. But I remember, sitting there together that night, how
closely we saw each other and how firmly we believed that we belonged. It
was the first time I didn’t doubt my presence. I was meant to be in that room
with those people. We all were.
I still work on this, reminding myself that it’s OK to be seen and to stop
apologizing for being present. I’m less convinced that someone’s going to
“find me out” and more committed to the idea that I’ve earned my accomplishments. I can’t say that this isn’t difficult to do at Princeton, and most
days I still ask myself, “What are you doing here?” But then I go to my poetry
workshop every Thursday, and the conversations spiral into the same themes
as those discussed in Aspen—often because I try to direct them there—and I
begin to feel as if my time there never really ended.
CREATING THE ENERGY
Where will the energy of tomorrow come from? From ideas. From
imagination. From a passion for making things better. We’re discovering,
creating and investing in energy solutions that will power us into a new era.
We’re working today on the energy of tomorrow. Because the most powerful
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© 2016 Southern Company
IMPACT: LEADERSHIP INITIATIVES
Three AGLN Fellows came from Institute seminars ready to
clean up their home territories—literally.
or 20 years, since the launch of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program in 1996, the Institute has been developing entrepreneurial
leaders from around the world to lead with values through the 14
Fellowships in the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Fellowships
can be based on location (Africa, Central America, the Middle East, South
Carolina) or a specific field (education, public service, health, finance). Fellows are nominated when they are at an inflection point in their lives and
careers, meaning they have achieved a high level of professional success and
are looking toward the broader roles they might take in their communities
or globally. Over the course of two years, Fellows take part in four seminars,
including the classic Aspen Seminar, that challenge them to examine their
leadership values, the good society, and their places in it.
To date, more than 2,200 leaders—mostly business leaders—in 49 countries have been challenged to move from success to significance by using their
creative energies and resources to tackle the most challenging issues of our
time—such as poverty, sustainability and energy projects, impact investing,
health-care systems, disaster response. Fellows leave the Institute inspired to
step up and take action. Some choose to partner with community groups
to provide direct services to underserved populations. Others leave lucrative
jobs in the private sector to become public servants. Here, we look at mem-
bers of the Aspen Global Leadership Network who are using their businesses
as platforms for change. In the process, they are raising the bar for their
industries as a whole and reimagining the ways businesses can have a positive
impact on society.
Yan Yan: Clearing the Air in China
As president of SOHO China, China’s leader in prime office properties in Beijing and
Shanghai, Yan Yan is responsible for project investment, business development, and overall
management of the company. Based in Beijing, SOHO China is widely recognized as
one of China’s highest-profile companies both domestically and abroad. It has even been
named by Fortune magazine as one of China’s “Most Admired Companies” six times
consecutively from 2006 to 2012. In 2014, she joined the second class of the Aspen Global
Leadership Network’s China Fellowship Program. Being a part of the China Fellowship
Program encouraged Yan to use her role to spur progress on one of China’s biggest environmental challenges: air pollution.
It’s no secret that Beijing has a smog problem. The quality of the air we
breathe is a daily concern for those of us living here. Emissions from cars,
coal-power plants, and other industries have led to high amounts of pollution in the air, causing public-health issues like asthma, bronchitis, and even
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IMPACT: LEADERSHIP INITIATIVES
cancer. When I was accepted into the Institute’s China Fellowship Program
in 2014 and asked to tackle a challenge that was important to me, I didn’t
have to look very far.
For years, my company, SOHO China, has been pioneering ways to cut
energy consumption in our buildings. As the leading developer of branded
prime office property in Beijing and Shanghai, we’ve developed a smart
Building Energy Savings System (BESS) that maximizes energy efficiency
and reduces consumption by up to 30 percent, helping to reduce carbon
emissions. We have the scale and the influence to set the example for our
industry, but we weren’t terribly active in doing so. When Aspen challenged
me to step up and stretch my leadership, this was my opportunity. My Fellowship project is to become a leading voice in energy efficiency by educating the
public—as well as our industry peers—about its benefits.
Today, we host students, business leaders, architects, and government
officials to learn about our environmentally friendly technology and to encourage other developers to implement the same technology in their own
buildings. We have had over 250 visits to our BESS demonstration center,
reaching over 4,000 business leaders, environmentalists, and public officials.
And this is just the beginning: I am also currently reaching out to my peers
in the industry to make the case for BESS in their businesses as well. With
another Fellow in my class, Jianyu Zhang of the Environmental Defense
Fund in China, I am helping to develop and promote the sharing-economy
concept in China. In May, we organized a forum featuring leaders from new
and successful tech companies to discuss how the sharing economy can create smart solutions for sharing cars, space, and roads in Beijing and help solve
even more of the environmental and economic challenges we face.
Scrubbing a Dirty Industry
Adam Lowry is co-founder and co-CEO of Ripple Foods, which seeks to change the dairy
market with high-protein plant-based milks. Before Ripple, Lowry was co-founder and
chief greenskeeper of Method Products, PBC—an innovator in sustainable home-cleaning
products. In 2010, he was chosen to be part of the Institute’s environmentally focused Catto
Fellowship Program. Lowry believes that the purpose of business is to create societal and
environmental benefit. He was recognized as a 2013 John P. McNulty Prize laureate for his
Ocean Plastic Project at Method, which pioneered a new approach for sourcing, recycling,
and marketing plastic harvested from the vast garbage patches polluting the Pacific. Lowry
says his Fellowship helps him make values-based decisions while leading a global company.
When I co-founded Method, 14 years ago, I looked at the landscape
of home-cleaning products on the market and asked a question: which was
dirtier—what we’re cleaning up, or what we’re cleaning with? With products
full of toxic ingredients and unsustainable manufacturing practices, cleaning
is a dirty business. Business can and should be a powerful agent of change,
and as a pioneer of premium planet-friendly home, fabric, and personal-care
products, Method is playing that role.
I constantly try to reinforce the connection between what we do on a
day-to-day basis and the impact it has on the world at large. As a Catto Fellow, I’ve looked to the Institute as a source of inspiration to continue making
that connection. At the 2014 Aspen Action Forum, I made an Action Pledge
to build a world-class manufacturing facility in the Midwest region of the
United States. As a native son of the Great Lakes region, I saw the downfall
of the manufacturing sector in that part of the country. So bringing greencollar, high-quality manufacturing jobs to that area is really important to me.
I’m pleased to say that with the opening of our LEED-Platinum-certified
South Side Soapbox manufacturing plant in Chicago, we’re doing just that.
It’s setting new standards in clean-soap manufacturing, operating at the highest levels of efficiency and sustainability. We designed the factory so that it
would send zero material to landﬁlls. Everything that comes in is used in
products, recycled, or composted. We generate 50 percent of our energy
onsite through wind- and solar-power generators to reduce our carbon footprint. And our roof actually serves as a 75,000-square-foot greenhouse that
will produce 500 tons of fresh, pesticide-free produce annually for the local community and surrounding retail and restaurant market. For the South
Side of Chicago, an area considered a food desert, this is a valuable resource.
The global perspective I’ve developed from the Aspen Institute inspires
how we develop Method’s strategy and scale. We hope to show everyone that
by integrating social and environmental performance into our manufacturing, we can create a more prosperous and sustainable world.
Opportunities Rising from the Ashes
Leighton Lord is a senior partner with Nexsen Pruet, one of the largest law firms in the
Carolinas, and founder and managing director of Nexsen’s communications and crisis-management affiliate, NP Strategy. Lord also serves as the chairman of Santee Cooper, South
Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, the largest generator of power in South
Carolina. In 2008, he joined the third class of the Liberty Fellowship Program, which
focuses on building exemplary leaders in South Carolina. Lord currently serves as a seminar
moderator for the Aspen Global Leadership Network and the Liberty Fellowship, helping to
shape the experiences of Fellows. He says that being part of a network of trusted peers with
diverse perspectives helped shape his thinking around a major business and environmental
challenge facing the Santee Cooper electric and water utility.
Coal ash is a general term for the by-product of burning coal. Traditionally, it has been used as a raw material in cement, asphalt for roads, and in
industrial rubbers and plastics. Surplus ash is mixed with water and put into
what are known as “coal-ash ponds.” If not properly built or maintained,
these ponds pose a long-term environmental risk for leaching or spilling into
clean-water sources as well as a risk for disasters like the recent Dan River
coal-ash spill in North Carolina. As chairman of Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s largest electricity generator, it was my job to figure out what to do with
the coal-ash ponds from our retiring coal-power plants.
This is where being part of the Liberty Fellowship in South Carolina
was key. Fellows in the Liberty Fellowship are very close. We see each other
regularly—at happy hours, dinners, or alumni events—and build genuine
relationships with each other, even if we’re on opposite sides of an issue.
Generally in the world of utilities and environmentalists, the operating
atmosphere is one of gamesmanship, posturing, and hostility. It’s hard to
take anyone at their word. But with the space created by the Liberty Fellowship, I know that if I called other Fellows for advice, they would give it to
me straight. I spoke to environmentalists, hydrologists, and other leaders in
the network, and they told me which solutions would lead to progress—and
which ones would lead to lawsuits.
With their help, we proposed a solution to solve two problems at once—
the need to get coal ash out of pits near surface water and the need for
a new source of dry ash within the industry. We partnered with a South
Carolina company and helped them construct a $40 million facility at one of
our operating coal plants to prepare pond ash for reuse by industry. Today,
coal ash from all of Santee Cooper’s unlined coal-ash ponds is being mined,
processed, and sold to the cement, paint, plastics, and rubber industries. Our
operation is mining over 400,000 tons of coal ash a year. The good problem
we face is that our program is so successful, we will soon run out of coal ash.
The input of my Fellows was invaluable in this whole process. It wasn’t
just the substance of our conversations but the mutual trust that helped me
reach a decision with the confidence to know I was placing the right bet for
our company, community, and the environment.
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All photos Courtesy of the African Wildlife Foundation
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
If the international community does not act quickly,
poaching for ivory could kill off Africa’s wild elephants
within a decade. Recognizing the extent of its ivory
and rhino-horn trade, alongside its growing investment
in Africa, Chinese civil-society leaders recently
joined their African counterparts to consider how
conservation could be an official part of African Union
policy and Chinese government investment.
The Institute led the discussion.
By David Monsma and Nicole Buckley
ruger National Park, in South Africa, is facing a threat that could damage its entire
ecosystem. At any given time, as many as
45 poachers working in teams hunt in the
park for elephant tusk and rhino horn, which
bring in significant money through illegal trade.
An estimated 8 percent of Africa’s elephant population is being
poached annually—a rate at which elephant populations may not survive
another ten years in the wild. The population of black rhinos has declined
by over 97 percent since the 1960s, and last year, South Africa lost more
than a thousand rhinos to poachers, most of them from Kruger. The threat
is so great that even when park officials are able to rescue rhinos orphaned
by poachers, the location of the orphaned animals must remain undisclosed to prevent further attacks. The park is huge—about the same size as
New Jersey, 8,000 square miles—providing a significant security challenge
for park rangers on the ground.
Faced with the staggering impact of the illegal horn and tusk trades
between Africa and Asia, the Chinese government is beginning to recognize that the critical losses occurring daily require new types of cooperation on wildlife protection across the African continent. China has
been a particular locus of the trade, estimated to account for some 70
percent of international ivory flows. China’s close economic involvement
with Africa also makes it particularly interested in being part of the solution—China has built more than 2,000 kilometers of railways and 3,000
kilometers of highways on the continent, and it has pledged to invest at
least $60 billion in Africa.
Experts fear that the disappearance of rhinos and elephants could have
vast consequences not only for Africa’s biodiversity but for the growth of lo-
of Africa’s elephant
population is being
rate at which elephant populations may
not survive another ten years in the wild.
cal economies. They emphasize the need to stem global demand while developing alternate economic opportunities for the communities living around
To further the development of a vision for China-Africa cooperation
on wildlife and wildland conservation and governance, the Institute—in
partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation and with support from
the World Bank—hosted a high-level roundtable dialogue series in 2014
and 2015 with African and Chinese civil-society leaders and experts. Dialogue meetings took place in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and China
over the two-year period.
Based on the meetings, participants submitted formal recommendations to the African Union to protect Africa’s wildlife and lands, supported
by former presidents Festus Mogae of Botswana and Benjamin Mkapa of
Tanzania. The recommendations, submitted in late 2014, advocated for an
expansion of the African Union’s definition of natural resources from its
Clockwise from top: Patrick
Bergin; Phillip Idro; David
Monsma and Alikiba; Tebogo
Lefifi; dialogue participants
view wildlife in Kruger
This trip gave dialogue participants
a chance to see and hear firsthand
about the devastation that poaching has wrought on Kruger’s rhino
focus on extraction to including the high-value potential of conservation
activities—including community lands, conservancies, and corridors. The
recommendations were successfully integrated as a priority in the continent’s published development agenda, known as the African Union’s Vision 2063 Plan.
Last December, African and Chinese participants met for a three-day
field visit and roundtable dialogue at Kruger National Park, the center of
Africa’s rhino-poaching crisis. As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepared
to meet with African heads of state in Johannesburg the following week,
dialogue participants worked to elevate wildlife issues within the agenda
of the official China-Africa talks. The group was honored to have Chinese film star Wang Baoqiang and Tanzanian singer-songwriter Alikiba
join the effort as cultural ambassadors who can draw further attention to
the group’s work.
“This trip gave dialogue participants a chance to see and hear firsthand
about the devastation that poaching has wrought on Kruger’s rhino population,” said African Wildlife Foundation CEO Patrick Bergin.
For many of the participants from China, including actor Wang
Baoqiang, the trip to Kruger was their first time visiting a national park
in Africa. Alikiba, a wildlife ambassador in his native Tanzania, noted
that celebrities as well as government leaders and conservationists have
a role to play in protecting wildlife. “My country has lost many of its
elephants in the last few years to poaching,” he said. “We must all find
ways to work together to stop the killing and safeguard our wildland.
As a musician and artist, I am using my platform to inspire people to
The Institute’s close relationship with the African Wildlife Foundation,
led by Bergin and Chief Scientist Philip Muruthi, has been crucial to this
initiative’s success. This partnership has allowed the Institute to dive deeply
into challenges of poaching and wildland protection and to connect with
champions on the ground in Africa.
With wildlife issues now formally adopted into China-Africa cooperation planning, the Institute initiative has set the stage for a deeper partnership on conservation. The importance of providing stable sources of
income to African communities living within and adjacent to wildland,
and of understanding conservation’s benefits for the people of Africa and
China, will remain a top priority for the group as the Institute continues to
tackle these urgent issues.
David Monsma is executive director of the Institute’s Energy and Environment Program,
and Nicole Buckley oversees the program’s environment work.
The Socrates Program celebrates two decades by connecting a new
generation of leaders at the Institute’s roundtables and around the world.
Few people would say no to spending time in Aspen—
especially if the time is spent discussing today’s biggest
ideas with some of the country’s brightest young leaders.
The Socrates Program this year celebrated its 20th
anniversary, having blossomed into a way to engage and
connect young professionals across the United States and
the world. “It has proven itself in the market in a way
unmatched by any other Aspen seminar program,” says
Elliot Gerson, executive vice president of the Institute,
“and it has generated great loyalty, with many people
coming back year after year.”
Around a Socrates table, you’ll find entrepreneurs,
venture capitalists, and government representatives
debating passionately with academics and journalists.
Discussions are built around texts selected for their
potential to facilitate an exchange of ideas. At a
roundtable discussion on the sharing economy, for
example, participants may begin with Adam Smith’s
The Wealth of Nations and the foundations of a capitalist
economy and then evolve to Airbnb’s business model.
(Does it ultimately create or eliminate jobs? And how
is it sustainable?) Texts and moderators provide a
foundational framework, and the conversation builds
from the real-world experiences participants eagerly offer.
The off-the-record format encourages complete candor.
The program tackles topics that cut across industries
and have applications in nearly every sector of the
workforce, like the sustainability of the American dream,
Photos courtesy of the Socrates Program
BY ALISON DECKER
“Twitter saved my life”:
Egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy,
who moderated Socrates soon
after Tahrir Square tweets
assured her release from
the competition between China and the United States, foreign
policy in the age of ISIS, the 21st-century meaning of citizenship,
and the impact of technology on the way the world does business.
Moderators bring both their own expertise and a specific set
of discussion-guidance skills developed for Socrates; they are
all experts from diverse fields, like the Kennedy School political
scientist Joe Nye, the former Federal Communications Commision
Chairman Michael Powell, the medical ethicist Ezekiel Emanuel,
the former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, the
economist Sonal Shah, and the economic journalist Kai Ryssdal.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president and CEO of the New
America Foundation, has led discussions on striking a balance
between work and family for both women and men; Jeffrey Rosen,
the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center,
has moderated several post-9/11 seminars in both the United
States and Europe that navigate the intersections of technology,
transparency, and privacy.
“The difference between cocktail-party conversation and a
Socrates seminar,” says Neil Jacobstein, Socrates moderator and
the former president of Singularity University, “is that the seminar
includes a set of seminal readings on values-based issues, rules
about respectful dialogue, and a group commitment to 360-degree
understanding of issues rather than winning an argument.”
The conversations happen in a variety of venues. Three-day
Laura and Gary Lauder
seminars are held in Aspen twice yearly, in February and July, and
over long holiday weekends to minimize time away from the office. At
the July seminars, there are up to 20 participants each in five different
sessions, which run concurrently; the February seminars operate
similarly but offer three concurrent sessions. There’s also a Teen
Socrates for high-schoolers. Evening programs allow established and
emerging leaders to share their successes and challenges: Michael
Bloomberg spoke to a Socrates audience in Aspen about good
leadership, based on his years in business and public office; Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared her insights on decisions for women’s
rights. The Socrates annual dinner, held each summer in Aspen,
has hosted an array of leaders, including then-Senator Barack
Obama, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Institute Trustee Leonard
Lauder, Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed, entrepreneur Reid Hoffman,
and Senator John McCain. Socrates also hosts one-day salons in
cities across the United States, including New York, Washington,
Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; there are custom
seminars, Senate Socrates seminars for congressional staff, and new
seminars that bring together community leaders to discuss pressing
With an alumni group of more than 5,000 people from 30 countries,
Socrates gives participants entry into an international professional
network and also serves as an access point to other Institute programs.
Along with the Aspen Seminar and public programs, including the
THE FOUNDERS SPEAK
LAURA LAUDER, Aspen Institute Trustee: Socrates for us is
a love story. It started when Gary had an experience at the
Aspen Institute when he was about 18, when he did a one-day
program for teenagers on Billy Budd. He fell in love with the
intellectual dialogue with his peers. He loved the structured
Socratic dialogue with people of his own generation who were
going through life and facing the same complexities at the
same time, and they were all trying to face them together.
The first weekend he and I met, in Silicon Valley, we had a
long drive in which we debated capital punishment. He was
for it; I was against it. We cited all these intellectual giants
we thought supported our sides. We found we agreed to
disagree—that we could feel passionately about something
and come to a civilized resolution without necessarily
changing each other’s mind. But most of all, we loved
intellectual debate. He said, “I really want to bring you to the
Aspen Institute.” It was a kind of test: I’m really interested in
this young woman, but I can’t really pour my heart into her
unless she enjoys the Aspen Institute.
We went together to Charlie Firestone’s seminar,
“Dilemmas of the Digital Age.” That was Gary’s first seminar
at the Institute. He was barely 31, I was about the same age. It
was a revelation for the two of us. We fell in love—with each
other, the dialogue, the sources, the reading, the inspiration,
Aspen Ideas Festival, Socrates is one of the few Institute programs
open to the public for a fee rather than by invitation only.
Institute Trustee Arjun Gupta, a technology entrepreneur, was first
introduced to the Institute via Socrates seminar, “Entrepreneurship
in a New Century: Values, Ethics, and Challenges.” “It opened the
door to extraordinary opportunities,” he says. “I became a Henry
Crown Fellow and was recruited to become a Trustee. Socrates really
is a gateway for young leaders to a path of lifelong learning with the
Camaraderie and connection are cornerstones of nearly all
Institute events, but they are a particularly strong draw for Socrates.
Participants are provided ample time for relationship-building and
outdoor activities beyond the structured discussions. So while the
formal dialogue might stay at the table, informal conversations,
ideas, and connections continue to take root outside. People can
spend four hours talking about how artificial intelligence will
change the future workforce and then venture out to ski, hike,
and discuss race and culture or social media and the arts—or the
wildlife they find on the trails.
“And that’s where the great ideas happening in the seminars
turn into action with impact and lasting connections,” says Melissa
Ingber, director of the Socrates Program. “A conversation goes
from ‘I never thought of this issue that way’ to ‘Let’s take this idea
and start a new business.’ ”
everything. Three years later, after we were married and
living in Silicon Valley, we said to each other, ‘That was such
a great experience, but we were the youngest in the room by
ten—and more like 20—years.’ We thought of how exciting and
interesting it would be for the Institute to reach out to people
in their late 20s and early 30s who were building the new
We faced a good deal of doubt from the then-leadership
of the Institute, which didn’t think the group had the time or
financial resources to commit to the Institute programs then
offered. We were sure we had something, though. Gary’s
father, Leonard, a board member, was totally behind the idea
from the start. The CEO agreed to review our proposal and
offered to try it one time just to see what would happen.
We asked Charlie Firestone to moderate and invited about
150 people. We had to organize it ourselves. We weren’t on
the national calendar of the Institute. They gave us no staff
support. It was 1996, the Internet was in its infancy, and the
Institute had nothing online. We had done an online birth
announcement for our son, Josh, in 1995, and sent a link to
our ten friends who had email addresses with a recording
of Josh’s first cry. It went viral! We sent out invitations to
Socrates by email, and we were the first program to have
online registration. It was like pulling teeth to get the Institute
to receive registrations and take Visa cards online.
Fifty people paid $300 per person for the weekend in
Aspen in 1996. We were barely married two years, we had a
one-year-old, and we hosted the “Socrates Society” of the
Aspen Institute. We wanted people to understand in advance
that they’d possibly read Socrates and have a Socratic
dialogue. From the beginning, we used the Aspen campus and
people stayed at the Meadows. And when they came, people
loved talking with their peers, socializing in the evenings, and
having the whole thing be just a weekend.
Our generation had never been presented with opportunities
to think of the kinds of issues I would talk about with friends
in Silicon Valley: Are you interested in foreign policy toward
Russia? How do we protect ourselves? What are the tradeoffs between security and liberty in US foreign policy? People
didn’t have that chance outside college. To find moderators, I
would talk to Leonard and others to identify experts in their
fields. At the time, the Institute did not allow anyone from
outside to moderate—only in-house, well-trained moderators.
Today, all aspects of the Institute have wonderful moderators
who are from a wide, wide variety of fields.
Early on, David Gergen offered a seminar on values-based
leadership. We announced it online and it sold out in ten
minutes. It crashed the system. We’d never thought to cap the
number of spots, we were so brand new: 30 people signed up
in ten minutes, and the room could only take 25.
About ten years later, a wonderful man named Bill Budinger
loved the seminar and helped us financially support it. He
said we should do programs at the Wye, Maryland, campus
and suggested a program where we’d invite staffers from the
Senate to interact with each other. So once a year in October,
we hold Senate Socrates at Wye with ten to 12 participants
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaker, with Jeffrey Rosen, moderator
from Congress, half Republicans and half Democrats, and
participants from the public and private sectors.
A year after we started Socrates, Gary was nominated for
the first class of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program. Crown
participants have to identify a project they will work on. Gary
used Socrates as his Crown leadership project. That helped
bring it more into the Institute.
GARY LAUDER, President, Lauder Partners: The earlier that
people go through programs, the stronger the impact. Most
had been for people wealthy enough to be semi-retired. It
dawned on me that that was at the wrong end of their lives. In
1992, when I brought Laura to Charlie Firestone’s seminar, we
both loved it and thought that would be of broader interest to
people. People would tell us, “It’s great to have young people
coming”—and we were the only young people around. Now,
20 years later, I’ve been to 30 or 40 Socrates seminars. The
process has helped change me. It has improved my thought
processes. I never want to miss one.
WILLIAM D. BUDINGER, Aspen Institute Trustee: I was not
involved with the Institute when Socrates began. The program
was an outlier. Gary and Laura dreamed it up and worked really
hard to bring in their friends, primarily in the tech industry, to
introduce them to the beauty of the Aspen Socratic moderated
seminar. The seminars would go into these various topics in
depth; often the world’s leading experts would moderate, and
Gary and Laura were able to bring them in. What Gary and Laura
did was create one of the new crown jewels of the Institute.
As time went on, instead of being an outlying adjunct,
Socrates slowly and imperceptibly moved toward the
mainstream of the Institute. The beauty of the program today
is that we often have waiting lists for our seminars. Those
waiting lists are filled with people who have a pretty good
chance of being tomorrow’s leaders in business, nonprofits,
even government. Socrates gives us a chance to touch those
people, introduce them to something they haven’t thought of
since college. It brings them back into the joy of learning.
I’ve done several Executive Seminars and many Socrates
seminars. The Executive Seminar is six days long; Socrates is
usually three days. The Executive Seminar is primarily a greatbooks seminar—all seminars, including Socrates, are readingsbased, and participants get a kit of readings in advance. The
Executive Seminar brings you back into the classics of literature
and economics and philosophy; Socrates is topical—about Islam,
privacy versus security. And, of course, every seminar Aspen puts
on has a component of values-based thinking.
Good moderators tend to be inviting people. They don’t
put off or scare people—it’s a natural part of their personality.
They’re experts in their fields: not only do they know the readings
cold, the readings are excerpts and they know the full work. That
allows them to give color and perspective participants might
otherwise not get. But the key to a good moderator is the ability
to stimulate and excite discussion from all of the participants.
Our best moderators are really good at that. No one gets away
For Senate Socrates at Wye, people of very different passions
and opinions get together and discuss something that at least in
The connections don’t end in Aspen—and after their long days
at the seminars, participants don’t leave their feet up for long. They
seek ways to bring new ideas back to their work and communities,
and tangible results happen. Take Zitto Z. Kabwe, a member of
the Tanzanian Parliament who attended “The New Global Middle
Class: How Rising Consumption Will Transform Innovation, Trade,
and Markets.” After returning to Tanzania, he wrote an article for
a local newspaper and initiated a project that works to lift roughly
100,000 low-income palm-oil farmers into the middle class. Kabwe
both sought and received advice and support from his new Socratesformed network of like-minded peers.
Socrates became a part of the Institute through a stroke of
inspiration. Gary and Laura Lauder, while sitting in a seminar
on the digital age—moderated by the director of the Aspen
Communications and Society Program, Charlie Firestone—asked
themselves: What if everyone in the room was in their late 20s or 30s, like
us? At their invitation, Firestone agreed to moderate a condensed,
weekend-long version of his week-long digital seminar, selecting
readings from Aristotle and Plato to explore the tensions between
values like liberty and security. (See: “Socrates: The Founders
Speak,” page 52.)
“The readings are important, but it’s not the goal to figure out
what the authors would say about a topic,” Firestone says. “It’s how
to think about a topic. It’s the experience of grappling with an issue or
a text and then finding meaning for yourself. You gain new insights
in the tension of values.”
FROM ‘I NEVER
THOUGHT OF THIS
ISSUE THAT WAY’ TO
‘LET’S TAKE THIS
IDEA AND START
A NEW BUSINESS.’
the beginning is somewhat neutral. It’s a chance to bring Democrats
and Republicans together working on issues that are usually partisan
and get them in the habit of talking to each other. One of the
astonishing things about Senate Socrates is the number of high-level
staffers who have not had much or any conversation with staffers on
the other side of the aisle. People would be shocked at how little of
How much does being at a seminar in Aspen make a difference?
Everyone will give you a different answer. Mine: the Aspen
experience, meaning the mountain experience, adds to the magic.
It becomes one more thing the participants don’t usually have. You
get off the plane in Aspen, especially if you haven’t been, and—wow.
It’s an emotional reaction, and it sets the stage for a weekend of
new experiences. That said, when we hold Socrates events in other
places—and we do and are going to do more—they are still fabulous.
One of the things that’s really heartening to watch is the effect of
an Aspen-style seminar on the participants. Wolf Blitzer will be on
stage and say that it changed his life. I’ve heard the same thing from
many others. When I went through the Executive Seminar, I thought,
“Why didn’t I go through this 30 years ago? I would have been
much clearer on what I was about, what was important to me, what
was important to pursue.” One of the lasting effects of the seminar
experience is to clarify objectives. I hate to admit it, but I went through
a lot of my early life thinking I knew what I was doing but not really
knowing. The Executive Seminar helped remove a lot of that fog.
I’d like to see us develop a way to bring the benefits of that
seminar experience to more of the world’s future leaders. Socrates
is embarking on that path, and it’s really exciting. It makes people
truly better leaders—it builds the person, not the résumé.
“The great thing about Socrates is that it takes the kinds
of people who usually talk and gets them to listen,” says the
health specialist and cosmonaut Esther Dyson, who has both
moderated and attended Socrates seminars. “You learn so
much more by considering other people’s arguments than by
restating your own. Anyone can go online to hear beautifully
polished statements, but what you get at Socrates is real
engagement between people who have deeply considered views
and also open minds.”
“It’s a better connection with other people than you
make if you’re in a conference room,” says Nkechi Iheme,
a national-security specialist who works in Facebook’s
Washington office and who started participating in Socrates
programs when she was working in a Senate office. Iheme
says she regularly sees professional and personal friends she
met in Aspen, including at the recent Washington, DC, “Tech
Prom,” where “everyone is from Socrates.”
In April, Socrates held a local seminar on race and
law enforcement with young leaders from Baltimore and
Washington on how to keep communities safe. Kurt Schmoke,
the former mayor of Baltimore, and Kevin Davis, the Baltimore
police commissioner, joined a discussion on the challenges
of policing without racial bias. “We see problems happening
across America,” Ingber says, “and we use our platform to
bring young leaders together for constructive conversation,
problem solving, and building local networks.”
With the help of various scholarships and partnerships,
Socrates is able to bring in a variety of perspectives. The
William D. Budinger Scholarship helps public officials attend
the Socrates Program; it enabled Kabwe, for example, to travel
from Tanzania. The Ricardo Salinas Foundation Scholarship
Fund brings Latino voices to the Socrates tables; one
distinguished example is Salinas scholar D. Scott Martinez, the
Denver city attorney. The Nathanson Scholarship, founded by
Trustees Marc and Jane Nathanson, brings public-diplomacy
officials from the Broadcasting Board of Governors and
the State Department to seminars. Socrates also maintains
partnerships with the Air Force Academy, Teach For America,
and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, among others,
which value the program’s opportunities for professional
Socrates has gone global as well. In 2012, it held its first
seminar in Cuba, “The Making of Modern Cuba,” which
Gupta called a “remarkable opportunity to explore each
other’s views on politics, culture, and our economies.” For
the past five years, Socrates seminars have been held in Spain
in partnership with the Aspen Institute España and, most
recently, in Kyiv, Ukraine, with Aspen Institute Kyiv. This
year alone, Socrates will hold seminars in Ukraine, Mexico,
Spain, and Serbia. And international seminars bring people
back across oceans. On any given Socrates weekend, there
are typically more than a dozen international participants. “It
has become one of our most exportable programs, attracting
enormous interest from our partners around the world,”
And maybe even farther: “We’ll be the first Aspen program to
discuss the ethics of interplanetary exploration,” Ingber says—
By Bill Resnick
I think of the Socrates Seminars
as intensive graduate seminars
with leading thinkers on topics
that have real-world relevance—
ones I get to participate in, with
interesting and accomplished
fellow students. I’ve attended 11
over the past 13 years, and the
appeal is always an opportunity to
dig deep through curated readings
and facilitated discussions and
to come out with increased
knowledge and wisdom, having
challenged yourself to learn
something new. I love learning, and this is a chance to dip into the
experience of being a student without having to take a test or write
a paper. It’s also a great atmosphere for meeting new people. I’ve
made some great connections both in the sessions and through the
social activities surrounding the schedule.
Every session offers something new to think about, but two in
particular stick out. In 2004, Jim Steyer, the founder of Common
Sense Media, and Marty Kaplan, the Norman Lear Professor of
Entertainment, Media, and Society at the University of Southern
California, moderated a seminar called “Media and the Public
Interest.” I was ignorant, as most citizens are, of the history of the
public airwaves and how the mandate that broadcasters provide
public-service airtime in exchange for having control of a public
good had eroded over a few decades. If we look today at the way
our airwaves disseminate information and entertainment, it is
clear that the dilution of federal regulations on broadcasting have
contributed to a dumbing down of the American public. This was
a powerful awakening for me.
Another impactful session was “Religion and Politics in
America” in 2006, moderated by Rabbi David Saperstein, then
the political voice of Reform Judaism, and Kathleen Kennedy
Townsend, the politician and oldest child of the late Robert
Kennedy. Rather than focus on the division of church and state,
the session discussed the appropriate ways we can bring our values
into the public sphere.
I had the great pleasure of riding up in the gondola with Harris
Wofford to a dinner at the top of Aspen Mountain. Wofford told me
about his involvement in starting the Peace Corps. We also spoke
about his long partnership with his best friend, Matthew Charlton,
after 48 years of marriage to a woman, Clare. Matthew, who was
also on the gondola, was the subject of a moving essay Wofford
wrote ten years later in The New York Times, where he also recently
announced their marriage. This conversation—unexpected,
serendipitous—was a quintessential Aspen Institute experience.
Bill Resnick, MD, MBA, and CEO of Beit T-Shuvah, is a longtime
participant in Socrates seminars. He now attends with his husband,
Michael J. Stubbs.
“There has not been one revolution that has not been
sparked and led by youth,” said Dr. Janice K. Jackson, the
chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools, at the
opening ceremony of the Aspen Challenge in Chicago.
Launched in a new US city each year, the Aspen Challenge asks students from
partner high schools to pioneer the changes they want to see in the world.
The Aspen Challenge was held for the first time in Chicago this year and
then returned to Washington, DC, where many of the nation’s top leaders and
creative thinkers issued teams of high-school students problems and asked them
to design solutions. For example, inventor and entrepreneur Jessica O. Williams
asked teams to re-imagine urban spaces with access to areas to be creative and
play; Youth Empowered Solutions’s Kim Reese and Andrea Boakye challenged
teams to expand the availability of fresh, nutritious, and affordable foods for
communities that do not have access to it; and Moneythink’s Daniel Rogers
asked teams to teach their peers about the financial rules that govern them.
“We want them to have qualities that allow them to think broadly,” said
Mike Bezos, the vice president and cofounder of the Bezos Family Foundation.
The idea is to show students the power that they already have, to “not just
observe a problem but solve it,” said Arne Duncan, the former US secretary
of education and a Henry Crown Fellow. When they weren’t working, the
students received some motivational words from Nick Davis, the very first
Aspen Challenge winner—his team built an aquaponic greenhouse—who
is now a student leader at Northwestern University. They also heard from
Chicago hometown hero Chancelor Bennett, “Chance the Rapper,” who has
launched several programs to promote social change in the community.
Equipped with tools and support, teams then designed solutions to their
selected challenges. Seven weeks later, in April, in a day-long competition,
the teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges and answered tough,
practical questions about their work. After long deliberations, the judges
selected four winning teams—three from Chicago and one from Washington,
DC—to showcase their work at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Previous Challenge groups have had great successes. A Los Angeles team
started CultivATE, a program in which students can take a class to learn how
to grow and cook vegetables. Students in Washington, DC, implemented a
peer-mentoring program that helps kids find peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
It’s because of stories like these that Representative John Lewis told the Aspen
Challenge participants, You “will emerge leaders not just of America but of
the world.” For more information, go to aspenchallenge.org.
Mitigate the harmful
effects of light pollution
Lindblom Math and
Improve the financial
literacy of the community
Unify unlikely urban allies
to unleash the peace
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Reimagine urban spaces
to give all kids the
opportunity to play
Photos: Dan Bayer
By Sacha Zimmerman
“I’m a big believer in not just youth voice but youth ideas and youth action.” —Arne Duncan
We started with Illinois R a i l r o a d but we were never
constrained by a predetermined tr ac k . We could say
that the s k y i s the o n l y l i m i t t o o u r c reativit y, but
since we have b e e n helping s end human s deep into
spac e sinc e Ap ollo 11 , we have already been to the
moon and back. Even so, we know that to voyage into
unknown frontiers, innovation isn’t just a catch phrase.
It’s a necessity.
Learn how you can INNOVATE FORWARD with Booz Allen.
The Aspen Journal of Ideas
analysis and issue-defining
information from the programs
and partners of the Institute.
The digital magazine, updated
weekly, is at aspen.us/journal.
THE GRAY ZONE
The United States became the nation
it is today thanks to a pursuit of
freedom of religion. Yet terrorism,
fear, and culture wars have all led
to more divisive black-and-white
thinking about religion—and less
tolerance. But in the gray zone,
religious diversity is a strength, not a
point of contention. Meryl Justin
Chertoff explores the work of the
Institute’s Inclusive America Project.
HOW TO WIN
THE LATINO VOTE
With two million more Latinos
eligible to vote in this year’s
presidential election than in the last,
whichever political party manages to
harness Latino voting power could
be the difference between going to
the White House or going home.
Matt A. Barreto and David
Damore do the math.
E JOURNAL F
I never will, by any word or act, bow to
the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right
of inquiry into the religious opinions
of others. On the contrary, we are bound,
you, I, and every one, to make common
cause, even with error itself, to maintain
the common right of freedom of conscience.
—Letter of Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse
THE GRAY ZONE
Religious diversity is a fact of US and global life—but religious
tolerance increasingly is not, as has become evident during
the presidential campaign.
he other. Throughout history, the other—the outsider—
has been feared, villainized, and ostracized. His faith is
different, her holidays or style of dress is not the same
as ours, and maybe there’s a language barrier. As history
bears witness, identity difference can easily become a source of social
tension, discrimination, and conflict. This has led to disaster in many
nations, and the United States has not been immune. Many minority
communities in the United States have faced periods of bigotry and
persecution. But with the support of a constitutional commitment
to religious free exercise, Americans have become a nation of
immigrants and refugees—an essential attribute that makes the
United States exceptional. E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.
To honor and reinforce that commitment, in 2012 the Justice
and Society Program launched the Inclusive America Project
under co-chairs Madeleine Albright and David Gergen. Project
leaders recognized that both global forces and fractionalization in
US communities required a more intentional approach to religious
pluralism. The project’s 2013 report, “Principled Pluralism: Report
of the Inclusive America Project,” focused on three areas:
• Bridging differences among religions, the focus of traditional
• Bridging differences between people of faith and the
unaffiliated (“nones”)—a fast-growing group in the United
States, particularly among millennials.
• Bridging intrafaith differences between more tolerant members
of liberal denominations within a faith and their orthodox or
Perhaps presciently, in their foreword to the report, the co-chairs
noted that past accomplishments do not guarantee future success.
The report and two subsequent case studies focused in part on
the largely intergenerational challenges posed by the influence of
conservative evangelical Christian and Catholic values in debates
on social issues, such as same-sex marriage. Some of the biggest
challenges involve how Muslims are viewed in America. Working on
the project, we were constantly challenged in our thinking by our civilsociety partners, who rightly focused on the impact of discrimination
against American Muslims—an overwhelmingly integrated, highly
educated, and highly productive segment of society—against the
concerns of security-minded observers, who counseled that eliding
all reference to the challenge of radicalization made our conclusions
vulnerable to the charge of naïveté.
Our reports focused by choice on the United States and on positive
prescriptions. We recommended that youth-service organizations
help those they serve build a more inclusive sense of what it means
to be American. We asked religiously affiliated organizations to
commit to making at least one interfaith effort each year as part of
their programming. We recommended that media outlets do more
to feature positive stories on minority-faith communities. Finally, we
recommended that the federal government, which in the aftermath
of 9/11 had initiated an effort known as “countering violent
extremism,” begin to turn those efforts over to communities affected
by extremism and let Muslim groups take the lead.
As we put the finishing touches on the most recent Inclusive
America Project report last year, our view was that increased
religious literacy and bridge-building at the community level would
be enough to put out the brush fires of discrimination against
American Muslims and that polling and demographics would point
overwhelmingly to a more inclusive America. This was, of course,
before the attacks in Paris, Istanbul, San Bernardino, and Brussels
perpetrated by the Islamic State and its adherents, and before the
2016 presidential election’s descent into xenophobia and nativism.
What we failed to anticipate was that certain aspiring populist
presidential candidates would be studying the writings of notorious
hatemongers and purveyors of Islamophobia, such as Frank Gaffney,
BY MERYL JUSTIN CHERTOFF
E JOURNAL F
In the gray zone, a girl can wear
a hijab without being harassed and
a young man can grow his beard.
Girls go to school. Young people of
both sexes socialize together. Eliminate
the gray zone and young people
are faced with the binary choice of
zealotry or apostasy.
who has claimed that agents of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated
the federal government and both major political parties; Pamela
Geller, who spearheaded the campaign against the proposed Park51
Islamic community center in Manhattan; and Andrew McCarthy,
who routinely warns about “creeping Shariah” in the United States
and has alleged that President Obama “stands with Shariah.”
Suggestions on the campaign trail by candidates that legal US
residents who are Muslim be deported, that mosques be shuttered,
or that Muslim neighborhoods be patrolled come directly from the
writings of such bigots. They generate fear in Americans and risk
destroying the nation’s cooperation with Muslim citizens and residents,
which is so urgent when security challenges come to the fore.
Both sides of this divide have deepened the wells of hatred. The
Islamic State and its nascent Western counterpart, embodied by
Donald Trump adherents in the United States and the British National
Party and Danish People’s Party in Europe, are both in the process of
eliminating what Islamic State propagandists term the “gray zone”—
the ambit of tolerance for religious difference in open societies. In the
gray zone, a girl can wear a hijab without being harassed and a young
man can grow his beard. Girls go to school. Young people of both sexes
socialize together. Eliminate the gray zone and young people are faced
with the binary choice of zealotry or apostasy. Without the gray zone, a
Christian or secular majority views every Muslim as a potential terrorist.
The Inclusive America Project, and similar efforts across the
United States, are struggling to maintain or restore the gray zone.
Today, and for the foreseeable future, the challenge of constructive
engagement of religious diversity is only growing. Moving forward,
the problem needs to be viewed through both local and global lenses.
At the local level, the nation needs to protect the civil liberties
of its minority-religious communities and step up anti-bias and
religious-literacy efforts. Some solutions must come from within
the communities that are under siege. Just as the experience of
discrimination led the Jewish community to create the AntiDefamation League and the gay community to create GLAAD and
Lambda Legal, the American Muslim community needs to accelerate
cultivation of national and community voices that can speak with
legitimacy for the interests of broad segments of its members.
At the global level, the United States must recognize that the
Islamic State can reach out to young people in every corner of the
nation, whether they are immigrant Muslims or disaffected prospective
converts. The group’s interpretation of Islam must be rebutted by
authoritative sources—and those rebuttals must be publicized. The
world was horrified when Islamic State fanatics’ Easter attack in Lahore,
Pakistan, killed dozens of Christians and Muslims with the declared
goal of imposing a radical sharia regime. Yet much less attention has
been given to the Marrakech Declaration, a statement earlier this
year by dozens of Muslim clerics affirming that the Koran requires
tolerance of religious minorities. Similarly, few know about the efforts
of DC-area cleric Imam Mohammed Magid to employ culturally
appropriate practices in an attempt to reverse recruitment efforts
targeted at the capital’s young people. A federal judge in Minnesota
has added counter-radicalization training to his sentences for youthful
offenders charged in terrorism cases—another notable innovation.
In the months to come, foundation funders need to make
significant and meaningful commitments to identify and scale up
best-practice models like these. The federal government needs
to transfer responsibilities for countering violent extremism to
community actors with the cultural sensitivities and legitimacy
necessary for success. Local education, youth-service, publicsafety and faith-based organizations all have a role to play. One
particularly critical challenge is to create interim institutions that
will allow parents, teachers, and counselors to identify and dissuade
young people at risk of violent acts, without turning them over to
law enforcement The turmoil around religious pluralism that has
tarnished the current election year is the vanguard of a new global
and local matrix. Countering it will require a sustained commitment
to living the constitutional birthright of religious inclusion, even
when doing so is difficult. And it will require all Americans to adjust
to a reality that is risky, enriching, and inevitable.
Meryl Justin Chertoff is the Executive Director of the Institute’s Justice
and Society Program.
R E C E N T LY S O L D
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E JOURNAL F
HOW TO WIN THE
Two million more Latinos will be eligible to vote in this year’s
presidential election than the last. Learning to mobilize those
voters could give one party the margin of victory.
ccording to a 2012 poll by my organization, Latino
Decisions, only 23 percent of Latino voters supported
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. By
our estimates, the presumptive 2016 Republican
presidential nominee Donald Trump will need twice that support
to win the White House.
The cause for the GOP’s “Latino deficit” is no secret. It can
largely be explained by two interrelated factors: Latinos are the
largest growth segment of the American electorate; and just one
Republican presidential candidate in the last six elections has won
a majority of the popular vote—George W. Bush, who in 2004 won
about 40 percent of the Latino vote. That gave the Republicans
the Southwest (Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico) in addition to
Florida, which secured Bush 46 key Electoral College votes on his
way to 50.7 percent of the popular vote.
The pundits’ conventional wisdom that winning 38 to 40 percent
of the Latino vote will be sufficient for the Republicans to carry the
presidency in 2016 is wrong. The 40 percent threshold is an outdated
figure: it assumes that the Bush-Kerry demographics of 2004 are
still in effect, even though that election was 12 years ago. The rapid
growth of the Latino electorate is too often underappreciated, and
any good model must update and account for that growth.
In 2004, there were 7.6 million Latino voters. In 2016, there
will be more than 13 million. A 40-60 split for the GOP in 2004
BY MATT A. BARRETO AND DAVID DAMORE
E JOURNAL F
RACIAL/ETHNIC DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE
AMERICAN ELECTORATE 1976 – 2016
Latino White Black Other
1976 1 89 9
1980 2 88 10
1984 3 86 10
1988 3 85 10 2
1992 3 87 8
1996 5 83 10 2
2004 8 77
2008 9 74
2012 10 72 13
2016 11 70 12
resulted in an overall net advantage of 1.5 million votes for the
Democratic candidate, which Bush was able to make up among nonLatinos. If the same 40-60 split were to occur in 2016, it would result
in an overall net advantage of 2.6 million votes for the Democrats,
given the growth in Latino voters. In 2012, when President Obama
beat Romney by more than a 70-30 margin among Latinos,
Obama’s victory resulted in a net advantage of 5.8 million votes just
from Latinos—a hole too deep for Romney to recover among white
voters, even though he won 59 percent of the white vote.
Now, in 2016, we estimate that 13.1 million Latino votes will be
cast; it’s possible that the Democrat might beat the Republican by a
margin of 80-20 in the Latino electorate. If that happens, it would
result in a net advantage of 7.9 million votes for the Democrats.
Our models suggest that with fewer white voters each year and
strong Democratic voting among African Americans, the Latino net
vote advantage of 7.9 million would be extremely difficult for the
Republican candidate to overcome. If, however, the Republican Party
can make significant inroads with Latinos and win about 45 percent
of the Latino vote, the Democratic advantage among Latinos would
be cut down to only 1.3 million votes—and our models suggest that
Republicans could win more than 50 percent of the popular vote. For
the Republicans, anything below 45 percent of the Latino vote makes
it very difficult to chart a path to 270 Electoral College votes or more
than 50 percent of the popular vote, given the new dynamics and
demographics of the American electorate in 2016. (We have laid out
the full model, including a flexible and easy-to-use calculator tool on
our website to allow users to make their own predictions and estimates,
Our model assumes that the Latino electorate will continue to grow
at rates observed in prior elections. Yet, as 2004 demonstrates, Latino
political participation cannot be taken for granted. Many Latinos
continue to feel alienated from the political process, particularly in light
of the political system’s failure to deliver comprehensive immigration
reform. Moreover, even in presidential elections, Latino registration
and turnout lags behind population share. The need to mobilize and
enlarge the Latino electorate is particularly acute for Democrats. Low
turnout among Latinos, African Americans, and young voters could
yield an electorate closer to 2014 than 2012. However, if Latinos are
more mobilized than a simple linear projection suggests, they could
very possibly exceed the 13.1 million figure. This will take targeted,
sincere, and consistent outreach efforts.
LATINO DEMOCRATIC ADVANTAGE IN 2016 WITH
13.1 MILLION EXPECTED VOTES
90-10 11,790,000 1,310,000
80-20 10,480,000 2,620,000 7,860,000
70-30 9,170,000 3,930,000 5,240,000
60-40 7,860,000 5,240,000 2,620,000
58-42 7,598,000 5,502,000 2,096,000
55-45 7,205,000 5,895,000 1,310,000
53-47 6,943,000 6,157,000
Nearly four years after Romney’s “self-deport” debacle, the
Republican Party appears to look a lot like the party it heavily selfcritiqued in the Republican National Committee’s “Growth and
Opportunity Project” report from 2013. “If Hispanic Americans
perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them
in the country,” the report said, “they will not pay attention to our
next sentence. If Hispanics think we do not want them here, they
will close their ears to our policies.” As has been evident from the
results of the 2016 Republican presidential primary, immigration
is indeed a litmus issue—but very much not in the way the party’s
report intended it to be. An April 2016 national survey by America’s
Voice and Latino Decisions found that 87 percent of Latino voters
have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. Meanwhile, the 13.1
million possible Latino voters this November—two million more
than in 2012—would raise the former 38 to 40 percent threshold
necessary for Republicans to win to that 45 percent threshold.
And that figure constantly inches up, as more than 70,000 Latinos
become age-eligible voters every single month.
If candidates want to mobilize and engage Latinos, they will
need consistent and culturally appropriate messages that resonate.
Rather than develop generic outreach and tweak it for Latinos,
the most successful campaigns integrate Latinos from the start.
They take the time to visit communities, speak with Latino voters,
and learn the issues from their perspective. Because Latinos have
historically received fewer outreach efforts, their voting history
is inconsistent. Rather than write them off as “less likely” voters,
campaigns can produce historic Latino turnout rates. For those
who question whether outreach actually pays off look no further
than the critical battleground state of Florida in 2012, which
witnessed extensive efforts to woo Latino voters. The result was that
Latinos had the highest voter-turnout rate among eligible voters of
any racial group in the state—and provided the critical margin of
victory for Obama to carry the state.
Matt A. Barreto is the co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino
Decisions and professor of political science and Chicano studies at UCLA.
David Damore is a senior analyst at Latino Decisions and associate professor
of political ccience at UNLV.
When it comes to living healthy, Aspen
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to deliver exceptional and compassionate
medical care every day.
Making sure our staff and physicians
have world-class facilities, equipment
and resources is a shared mission of
our generous donors and Aspen Valley
Join us, as we continue to elevate
healthcare in our community for
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Deborah Breen, President / CEO • 970-544-1302
FACES: TISCH AWARD
Tiffany Hall, Baye
Roy and Mer
and Em isch Blodgett
WHO: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker was presented with the 2015 Preston Robert Tisch Award in
Civic Leadership. WHAT: Walter Isaacson led a conversation with Walker before a dinner with special guests.
WHERE: The Museum of Modern Art, New York City WHEN: December 8, 2015 WHY: The annual Tisch Award
service and philanthropy.
was created in 2009 by Laurie, Jonathan and Lizzie, and Steve Tisch to honor Bob Tisch’s great legacy of public
FACES: ASPEN CHALLENGE
and Todd Babbitz
WHO Governmental officials, entrepreneurs, musicians, and community activists helped to launch Aspen
Challenge in Chicago, with the support of the Bezos Family Foundation. Some of the faces at the event included
Arne Duncan, John Lewis, Chance the Rapper, and Mike and Jackie Bezos. WHAT: The Aspen Challenge
launched in Chicago: 20 teams of high-school students were challenged to create projects that will benefit their
communities. The teams with the winning projects will present them during a panel at the 2016 Aspen Ideas
Festival. WHERE: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois WHEN: March 9, 2016 Why: Inspiring speakers at the event
helped kick off the program and encouraged kids to use their creativity to improve their communities.
(Chance the Rapper)
on the landscape.
on the ideas Aspen inspires.
on creating experiences
and life long memories.
I will focus on your
real estate investment.
Specializing in Luxury Rentals & Sales
970.875.7345 ext. 804 | 970.445.7185 cell
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FACES: ANNUAL AWARDS
Samantha Power and
Paula Cro teel, Gillian Stee
Gary Lauder, Leonard Lauder
WHO: Hundreds of our closest supporters and friends celebrated the Institute’s annual awards tradition.
WHAT: The 32nd Annual Awards Dinner WHERE: The Plaza Hotel, New York City WHEN: November 12, 2015
WHY: General (ret.) Stanley McChrystal was honored with the Henry Crown Leadership Award during an
engaging evening that also welcomed Ambassador Samantha Power as the featured speaker. The New York
Times columnist and author David Brooks moderated a lively conversation between McChrystal and Power, which
touched on the importance of American leadership on the world stage and the value of learning from missteps.
Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan Photography
IN CRITICAL DEMAND
ASPEN INSTITUTE KYIV
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with Institute
Executive Vice President Elliot Gerson in Kyiv, Ukraine, to
talk about the Institute’s newest international partner, Aspen
Institute Kyiv, which launched last November. “The most
important thing we need are leaders who are responsible,
patriotic, and professional,” said Poroshenko, noting that
Ukraine currently lacks the leaders it needs. “We are proud to
bring the Aspen Institute’s values-based leadership approach
to Ukraine,” said Gerson, also a Trustee of Aspen Kyiv. “There are
few places in the world today where Aspen values of tolerance,
good governance, and the search for common ground are more
critically in demand.” Aspen Kyiv has already been providing
leadership seminars for more than 300 Ukrainian participants
over the past eight years with lively roundtable discussions
centered on modern and ancient texts, all translated into
Russian and Ukrainian. Participants have long included those
now shaping Ukrainian civil society, including Hennady Zubko,
Ukraine’s vice prime minister; Natalia Jaresko, former minister
of finance; Olena Makeyeva, deputy minister of finance; Oleksiy
Pavlenko, the country’s new minister of agriculture; and Oleg
Derevianko, deputy minister of education. “We want to see
this happen in Ukraine,” Gerson said, “The cultivation of our
commonly shared values, improved governance, strengthened
rule of law, and an effective fight against corruption.”
ASPEN INSTITUTE GERMANY
In April, Aspen Institute Germany organized a Europe-wide
meeting to discuss the current Syrian refugee crisis and its
impacts on European solidarity and unity. With contributions
from all seven Institute partners in Europe, the conference
launched an Aspen Initiative for Europe by bringing together
politicians, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations
to share views and experiences tackling the crisis and
to look for cross-border initiatives and opportunities for
further cooperation. Participants included Otto Schily, the
former German interior minister; Gergely Proehle, the state
secretary for European Union relations at the Hungarian
foreign ministry; Pietro Benassi, the Italian ambassador;
Richard Kühnel, head of the EU delegation in Germany; and
several members of the German Bundestag.
Geoanȃ, Dassù, Solana
ASPEN INSTITUTE ESPAÑA
Aspen Institute España marks its fifth anniversary this
year, with more than 30 speakers participating at Institute
España events, including Svetlana Alexiévich, the 2015
Nobel Prize winner in literature; Gideon Rachman, chief
foreign-affairs columnist for Financial Times; and Rebeca
Grynspan, Ibero-American secretary-general. In addition
to its classic programs, this year, Aspen Institute España
established three new programs: the Justice and Civil
Society Program, the Aspen Ideas Lunch Program, and the
Cervantes Program. The new Cervantes Program provides
a venue to discuss the challenges of leadership in the 21st
century for the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking world,
using contemporary texts to stimulate debate throughout
the region. In April, Aspen Institute España held a custom
seminar, sponsored by International Committee Chair Clare
Muñana that included participants from all ten international
partners and Aspen Institute itself. The seminar began with
a conversation on refugees in Europe led by Mircea Geoanȃ,
Romanian parliamentarian; Marta Dassù, former Italian
deputy foreign minister; and Javier Solana, former NATO
Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute España
Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute Kyiv
ASPEN INSTITUTE ITALIA
Organized jointly with the Centre for European Policy Studies,
the European Union Institute for Security Studies, and the
European External Action Service, Aspen Institute Italia
launched an international energy-security workshop. The
aim was to develop a global strategy for the European Union,
which was officially presented by EU High Representative
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini
in June. A noteworthy highlight of the event was the panel
discussion on “Energy as a Security Issue: Implications for the
Transatlantic Relationship,” featuring Anthony L. Gardner,
the US ambassador to the European Union; Raphael Hadas
Lebel, the director of Aspen France; Christian Leffler, the
deputy secretary-general for economic and global issues at
the European External Action Service; Alexander Vershbow,
the deputy secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization; and Mariangela Zappia, the permanent
representative of Italy to NATO. The event also launched the
Aspen European Strategy Group, a joint European initiative
of the seven European-based Aspen partners.
ASPEN INSTITUTE ROMANIA
Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute México
Aspen Institute Romania held the Bucharest Forum in late
March, an initiative that works to further Romania’s longterm economic and territorial development strategies,
centered on building the capacity of urban centers. The
initiative aims to integrate urban management, health and
sustainability, and other key projects in Bucharest and its
surrounding areas to ensure a balance among the economy,
urban planning, environment, finance, and cultural policy.
Next steps include the launch of the Aspen City Lab
platform and the further development of the Black Sea
Fellows at Aspen Institute México
ASPEN INSTITUTE MÉXICO
This March, Aspen Institute México in Guadalajara welcomed
its first class of Fellows, ushering in 17 new Fellows from
diverse areas of society—from entrepreneurs to commercial
and industrial leaders—who all share an enthusiasm and a
conviction to contribute to México’s development.
Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute Romania
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ASPEN INSTITUTE PRAGUE
In October 2015, Aspen Institute Prague’s
annual conference, “Czech Republic: The
Shape We’re In,” brought together more
than 300 experts and politicians to discuss
the current state and future of the country.
The Czech Republic Prime Minister Bohuslav
Sobotka and other members of the
government took part in panel discussions
focused on economic potential, quality of
life, and national security.
Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute Ananta
Ananta Aspen Centre offers seminars to the police
ANANTA ASPEN CENTRE
Ananta Aspen Centre conducted its first
values-based leadership program for India’s
Police Service officers in February 2016.
The program was the first in a series of
three seminars, which will be held over the
course of one year. Along with the use of
Socratic dialogue, the seminars will include
enactments of scenes from the Mahabharata,
one of the two major Sanskrit epics of
ancient India. Participants will also complete
a leadership or community project of their
choosing during the course of the year.
for Weddings, Events & Everyday
970.920.6838 ~ www.sashae.com
300 Puppy Smith St. ~ Aspen, CO
S U M M E R 2 011 6
4/27/14 7:28 PM
Courtesy of Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson
MAJOR GIFT ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson made an exceptional
and South Korea, migration, the United Nations, climate
gift to underwrite the Great Decisions Series at the
change, and the relationship between Cuba and the
Institute. Since 2005, the Great Decisions Series has
United States. An important hallmark of this program is
served as a popular community program in Aspen,
the intergenerational discussions that take place between
engaging people in roundtable discussions around
the participants, who range in age from 25 to 90. This gift
pressing foreign-policy challenges. Edlis and Neeson’s
builds on Edlis and Neeson’s legacy of investing in projects
generosity helps secure the future of this series, which
and programs that have a direct impact on the local Aspen
is a mainstay of the Institute’s programming on the
community, while also helping the Institute provide a
Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen.
neutral commons for people to share ideas and explore
Members of the Roaring Fork Valley community
their own values. In honor of their leadership gift, the series
gathered this winter to discuss the rise of ISIS, North
has been renamed the Edlis Neeson Great Decisions Series.
Al and Gail Engelberg, who first joined the Aspen
Institute's Society of Fellows in 1999, provided founding
support for the Aspen Health Strategy Group, which
Walter Isaacson launched at the 2015 Spotlight Heath/
Aspen Ideas Festival. The Health Strategy Group is
composed of carefully selected health-industry leaders,
business leaders, patient advocates, and other national
thought leaders who have the stature and influence to
drive meaningful change in US health policy. Under the
auspices of the Institute's Health, Medicine and Society
program, Health Strategy Group members will gather at
the Institute's Aspen campus each summer, along with
invited experts, to engage in an in-depth discussion on a
specific health topic of critical importance. They will then
issue a report intended to stimulate a national discussion
on new ideas for improving the cost and quality of health
care. This exceptional gift furthers Al Engelberg's longstanding professional and philanthropic commitment to
making health care more affordable and accessible. The
Health Strategy Group is the result of a collaboration
between Engelberg and Institute leadership. Together,
they created a shared vision: using the Institute's
convening power to create the group and bring national
attention to important health-policy questions.
YOU ARE NOT JUST ANYONE
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YOUR HOUSE SHOULD REFLECT THE SAME
JILL SHORE | 970.948.6121 | firstname.lastname@example.org
630 East Hyman Ave. | Suite 101 | Aspen, CO 81611 | 970.925.8810
Courtesy of Al and Gail Engelberg
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. Our unique, humanities-based approach to leadership development
uses a variety of classic and contemporary philosophical and literary texts as the basis for intensive,
interactive roundtable discussions led by skilled moderators in small groups of 15–20 participants.
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.
October 27–30, 2016| ASPEN, CO
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
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
John Whitney lost his son to cancer, so when he
discovered a lump in his own shoulder, he was rightfully
w o r r i e d . H e w a s d i a g n o s e d w i t h n o n - H o d g k i n’ s
lymphoma and caught the attention of experts at the
Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at the Icahn School
of Medicine at Mount Sinai. They treated John with an
individualized technique that “teaches” immune cells to
attack cancer as they would bacteria or a virus. Today, John’s
tumors have shrunk and his outlook is
the groundbreaking work being done at
Institute, a National Cancer Institute
cancer center at the Mount Sinai
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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
JUNE 23–26, 2016 | SUSAI MOUNTAIN RESORT, ROMANIA
OCTOBER 20–23 2016 | RONDA, SPAIN
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.
MARCH 5–7, 2016 | CASTELVECCHIO PASCOLI, LUCCA, ITALY
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.
WYE DEANS' SEMINAR
JUNE 5–9, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD
WYE FACULTY SEMINAR
JULY 16–22, 2016 | WYE RIVER, MD
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:
Custom Seminars enable organizations and companies
to develop one-day or multiday seminars relevant to their
JULY 5–11, 2016 | ASPEN, CO
FOR MORE INFORMATION,
CONTACT THE INDIVIDUAL PROGRAMS.
THE SOCIETY OF FELLOWS
SOF SYMPOSIUM: SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH THE LENS OF
CONTEMPORARY ART June 19–21 | Anderson Ranch | Aspen
SOF LUNCHEON: TRIAL BY THE MASSES WITH RABIA CHAUDRY
July 15 | Koch Building | Aspen
SOF SYMPOSIUM: DYING TO CHANGE: TRANSFORMING
July 26–28 | Koch Building | Aspen
SOF FORUM: THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING WITH CAROL DWECK
AND LAURENCE STEINBERG
August 16 | Koch Building | Aspen
SOF SYMPOSIUM: DANTE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE MODERN
August 23–26 | 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@
Aspen Pitkin County Airport
ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL
BRANDON BELL, PERCUSSION | JT KANE, VIOLA | LISA DEMPSEY, VIOLIN
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THE SOCRATES PROGRAM
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
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JULY 8-11, 2016
SUMMER SEMINARS | ASPEN, CO
Democracy in the Digital Age
Moderator: Charlie Firestone, executive director of the Aspen Institute
Communications and Society Program
Private Setting in the Core
This spectacular Alps corner unit
features wrap around decks for
dining and gathering, while the large
windows splash the open floor plan
with light and bring the adjoining
forest into each room.
Fighting, Competing, Imagining, Leading: The Path to a Good Society
Moderator: Leigh Hafrey, senior lecturer in behavioral and policy sciences
at MIT Sloan School of Management
Artificial Intelligence, Business, and the Future of Work
Moderator: Neil Jacobstein, co-chair of the AI and Robotics Track at
Who Is “Us” Now? Reimagining American Civic Identity
Moderator: Eric Liu, director of Aspen Program on Citizenship and
The Great Middle East Upheaval
Moderator: Robin Wright, contributing writer for newyorker.com
OCTOBER 27-30, 2016
SOCRATES MEXICO | PUEBLA, MEXICO
The Realtor with Horse Sense
How Technology Is Affecting Our Lives, The Way We Do Business
And Its Potential To Affect Social Change
Moderator: Sonal Shah, Professor of practice and founding executive director,
Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University (TBC)
DECEMBER 8-11, 2016
SOCRATES UKRAINE | KIEV, UKRAINE
The Future of Privacy and Transparency: Surveillance in a Digital Age
Moderator: Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National
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TACKLE THE GREAT CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES THROUGH SOCIAL VENTURES. SPANNING
VARIOUS GEOGRAPHIC AND ISSUE AREAS, WE HOST 14 DIFFERENT FELLOWSHIPS.
Fellows gather at the
Resnick 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 2,100 Fellows in 50 countries.
THE HENRY CROWN
THE FINANCE LEADERS
LEADERS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
THE AFRICA LEADERSHIP
THE INDIA LEADERSHIP
HEALTH INNOVATORS FELLOWSHIP
THE ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS
THE ASPEN INSTITUTE-RODEL
FELLOWSHIPS IN PUBLIC
THE LIBERTY FELLOWSHIP
THE MIDDLE EAST LEADERSHIP
THE CENTRAL AMERICA
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE (CALI)
THE CHINA FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
CENTER FOR URBAN
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.
Seniors housing was
just a matter of time.
Baby Boomers had a lot to say about making the world a better place. And they still do.
We’re the investment leader in premium health care infrastructure. We partner with best-in-class
senior living and health care providers to build the next generation of health care facilities.
Working together, we’re transforming the senior healthcare experience, creating extraordinary
value, and offering Boomers the opportunity to live well and age well. welltower.com
Policy programs and initiatives serve as nonpartisan forums
for analysis, consensus-building, and problem-solving on a
wide variety of issues.
ASCEND AT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ASPEN FORUM FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS
ASPEN GLOBAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT
ASPEN INSTITUTE LATINOS AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES PROGRAM
EDUCATION AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
GLOBAL ALLIANCES PROGRAM
ASPEN NETWORK OF DEVELOPMENT ENTREPRENEURS
ASPEN PLANNING AND EVALUATION PROGRAM
ASPEN STRATEGY GROUP
BUSINESS AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
FINANCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM
HEALTH, MEDICINE, AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
HOMELAND SECURITY PROGRAM
JUSTICE AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
CENTER FOR NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH
PROGRAM ON PHILANTHROPY AND
CITIZENSHIP AND AMERICAN IDENTITY PROGRAM
COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM
COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIETY PROGRAM
PROGRAM ON THE WORLD ECONOMY
ROUNDTABLE ON COMMUNITY CHANGE
SERVICE YEAR ALLIANCE
COMMUNITY STRATEGIES GROUP
SPORTS AND SOCIETY
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 national
homeland security and counterterrorism issues.
WASHINGTON IDEAS FORUM
Presented in partnership with The Atlantic, this Washington,
DC–based event features leading figures in public policy
discussing the most important issues of the day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Policy programs and initiatives serve as nonpartisan forums
for analysis, consensus-building, and problem-solving on a
wide variety of issues.
POLICY PROGRAM FELLOWSHIPS
Born from the policy programs at the
Aspen Institute, Policy Leadership
NEW VOICES FELLOWSHIP
Founded by the Institute’s Global Health and Development
Program, the New Voices Fellowship cultivates compelling
experts to speak on development issues.
Programs seek to empower exceptional
individuals to lead with innovation in
THE ASCEND FELLOWSHIP
their chosen fields. These individuals
then become more effective
Founded by the Institute’s Ascend Program, the Ascend
Fellowship targets diverse pioneers paving new pathways
that break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
change agents who can influence
FIRST MOVERS FELLOWSHIP
the institutions and fields in which
they work and lead to create better
outcomes for society.
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.
en you want
wisdom and insight
as badly as you
want to breathe,
it is then
you shall have it.”
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
(l-r) Ann Hutchison, Michele Bass,
Matt Ferguson, Kristi Ferraro,
119 S. Spring St, Ste 201
Aspen, Colorado 81611
LITIGATION & TRANSACTIONS Civil | Business | Real Estate
We believe incredible
change can occur
when you empower
people to do good.
The philanthropic vision of Sam and
Helen Walton has driven the work of the
Walton Family Foundation for nearly three
decades. Their legacy is more important
than ever as we accelerate our efforts to
improve K-12 education for all students in
America, to protect our rivers and oceans
and the communities they support, and to
give back to the region that first gave Sam
and Helen Walton opportunity.
For more information about any of these events,
please call Natasha Little at 800.410.3463
July 9, 2016 | SOCRATES ANNUAL BENEFIT DINNER
Dinner Chairs: Arjun Gupta, Peter Hirshberg, and Laura and Gary Lauder
Honorees: Ann and Tom Friedman
Speaker: Tom Friedman in conversation with Walter Isaacson
Location: The Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows
August 6, 2016 | 23RD ANNUAL SUMMER CELEBRATION
Dinner Chairs: Melony and Adam Lewis
Honorees: Sheri and Howard Schultz
Location: The Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows
November 3, 2016 | 2016 ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER
Dinner Chair: Mercedes T. Bass
Featured Speaker: Tom Brokaw
Honoree: Robert K. Steel
Location: The Plaza Hotel, New York City
2016 SUMMER SEASON
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August 13 | 8:00pm
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Executive Director of National Programs
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Vice President, Director
THE SOCIETY OF FELLOWS
TO CONTACT INSTITUTE LEADERS
Henry Crown Fellowship Program
DONATIONS, SPECIAL EVENTS,
Director of Development Events and
Leah Bitounis 202.736.2289
Aspen Ideas Festival,
Vice President, Director
Willow Darsie 202.736.3545
Director of Administration,
Policy and Public Programs
ASPEN GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
Dep. Director, Operations & Partnerships
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Managing Director, Communications
and Public Affairs
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SERIOUS MEETINGS THE NATURAL WAY
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FOR SERIOUS MEETINGS THE NATURAL WAY,
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Thank you for your enduring generosity.
At their inaugural seminar in Aspen, each class of Henry
Crown Fellows comes up with a class name—something
to bond them. The 18th class of Henry Crown Fellows, the
“Bones & Elephant” class, takes its name very seriously.
So seriously that, at one of their class reunions in New
Orleans in February, they decided to don skeleton suits
designed by Fellow Wasalu Jaco (stage name Lupe
Fiasco) and commandeer their own elephant-adorned
float in a Mardi Gras parade.
Fellows from the class flew in from across the world,
including London and Madrid, to visit New Orleans, a
city that two of its members—Matt Wisdom, founder of
TurboSquid, and Councilmember LaToya Cantrell—call
home. Cantrell was able to secure them a float and a spot
in one of the Mardi Gras parades, on top of which Fiasco
performed, and the Fellows, their spouses, and Isaacson
went along for the ride to ring in the parade. This diverse
group of leaders welcomed the opportunity to reconnect
with their like-minded peers—and toss a few beads into the
crowd. “They set a new standard for reunions,” said Walter
Isaacson, the Institute CEO.
Ideas: The Magazine of the Aspen Institute is published three times each year by the A spen Institute and distributed to Institute c
onstituents, friends, and supporters.
To receive a copy, call (202) 736-5800. Postmaster: Please send address changes to The Aspen Institute Communications Department, Ste. 700, One Dupont Circle NW,
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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 express written consent of the Aspen Institute.
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