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Stacey Abrams, Hank Paulson among virtual Aspen Ideas Fest speakers

Staff report

The free virtual five-day 2020 Aspen Ideas Festival will include sessions with politician and lawyer Stacey Abrams, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, and playwright Anna Deveare Smith.

The event will run online June 28 to July 2 at aspenideas.org, with a one-hour program beginning at 5 p.m.

Additional speakers will include author Michael Eric Dyson and Admiral William McRaven. The newly announced speakers come in addition to previously announced sessions with infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, musician David Byrne and Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa.

In all, 40 speakers are expected for the event, which replaces the in-person event on the Aspen Institute campus, which was canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“AI Superpowers” author Kai-Fu Lee, “On Being” podcast host Krista Tippett, “Invisibilia” co-founder Lulu Miller, “The Splendid and the Vile” author Erik Larson and physicist Brian Greene also are on the lineup.

Topics are expected to include COVID-19 pandemic and economic impacts, democracy, technology, the arts and the ongoing protests against systemic racism.

Daily programming will include three conversations with these leaders in their fields and experts share their “Big Ideas,” addressing some of society’s greatest challenges.

Announced interviewers include Financial Times reporter Gillian Tett, U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker and MSNBC reporter Andrea Mitchell.

Additional speakers and program details are expected to be announced in coming weeks. The full list is online at aspenideas.org.


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