The big idea: Global movers and shakers to attend Ideas Festival | AspenTimes.com
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The big idea: Global movers and shakers to attend Ideas Festival

Janet Urquhart

An impressive list of movers, shakers, activists, scientists and writers will convene in town next July for the inaugural Aspen Ideas Festival, hosted by The Aspen Institute and co-sponsored by Atlantic Monthly magazine.Organizers envision six days of lectures, panel discussions, classes and seminars on the institute’s campus, along with late-night “evening exchanges” at venues around town.”It’s an exciting event for us and I think it will be an exciting event for the community,” said Kitty Boone, the institute’s director of the new festival.The Aspen City Council received a rundown on the event Tuesday during its discussion of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s 2005 marketing plan.This year, the institute hosted the Einstein Convocation to mark the 100th anniversary of the physicist’s theory of relativity. There’s no opportunity to re-create that event next year, but the Ideas Festival is envisioned as an annual gathering, according to Boone.”It has significantly more presence as far as speakers,” she said.Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm conference at the institute, incidentally, won’t return to Aspen next year, but is scheduled to return in 2006.The 2005 Aspen Ideas Festival has lined up 40 confirmed participants so far, including: James Woolsey, former director of the CIA; primatologist Jane Goodall; Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; National Endowment for the Arts President Dana Gioia; Woody Creek author/journalist Hunter S. Thompson; Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, New York Times columnist David Brooks; TV newsmen Jim Lehrer, Chris Matthews and Charlie Rose; and more.In addition to formal programs, Boone envisions having, for example, Rose interviewing one of the speakers late in the evening at a local restaurant. Topics for the festival presentations will range from American values to environmental issues, and ethical dilemmas in science and medicine to the world economy, culture and foreign policy.Discussions are under way with National Public Radio to do live and taped broadcasts from the festival, according to Boone. C-Span may also be interested, she said.If sponsorship dollars can be secured, organizers would also like to bring The Shakespeare Theatre to Aspen to produce “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the school district theater during the festival, Boone said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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