Ideas Festival attracts top thinkers |

Ideas Festival attracts top thinkers

Like it or not, Aspen is going to be at least a little different than it’s ever been when the Aspen Ideas Festival kicks off July 5.The Aspen Institute is using its Aspen campus and venues throughout town to serve as gathering places for 100 of today’s most profound and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, corporate heads, policy officials, scholars and other leaders.Headliners include noted primatologist Jane Goodall; Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers; Nobel laureate author Toni Morrison; PBS newsman Jim Lehrer; historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; America’s Promise chairperson Alma Powell; Colorado Gov. Bill Owens; pastor Rick Warren, best-selling author of “The Purpose-Driven Life”; Cokie Roberts of ABC News, and many others. The week-long event will cover several thematic tracks: The Global Economy and Society, Health and Bioscience, Culture and the Media, The State of the Environment, The American Experience, Global Dynamics, Leadership, and Family Economics: Work and Wealth in the New Economy.The Ideas Festival is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine. Although the passes have sold out, many of the venues are either large enough to accommodate the general public or have been specifically kept open for community participation at affordable prices.”Through [the Aspen Ideas Festival], we can stimulate important and interesting discussions and give more people access to the seminars and open-minded dialogues that form the crux of what the institute has been doing since its origins in the 1950s,” said Elliot Gerson, the institute’s executive vice president for seminars and public programs.Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by the nationally acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, D.C., are open to the public and will run from July 6 through July 10.Registration for the Ideas Festival has reached maximum capacity and is now closed. Tickets to the Benedict Music tent are available through the Aspen Music Festival box office, 925-9042. Tickets to nightly “Evening Exchanges” and the lunchtime discussions at local venues are available for $15 apiece by calling the Wheeler Box Office at 920-5770. For general information, call Deborah Murphy at 544-7960. For a full list of featured speakers and detailed information about the festival, visit

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