Letter: The big ideas

Dear fellow Aspenites,

The Aspen Ideas Festival will take place on the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus today through July 2. Once again, some of the most thoughtful scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators and community leaders will come together to discuss some of the most important and fascinating ideas and issues of our time.

We are excited to be able to offer close to 9,000 tickets to some 85 sessions to the Aspen community and hope you will be able to join us. Tickets are available through and at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office.

I want to apologize in advance for some inconveniences that may occur. This year we will host the vice president, the secretary of state and the attorney general along with some other Cabinet members and world leaders. As a result, the Secret Service and other agencies will be securing our campus and have asked that it be open only to passholders.

There also will be some traffic disruptions on the morning of July 2 when the vice president visits. I’m sorry, because I know that this can be inconvenient. We have been working very hard with the Secret Service and our great local law enforcement officials to do all that they possibly can to minimize any delays.

We will be providing free live feeds from the campus to the Hotel Jerome ballroom for the talks with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other notable speakers. As in recent years, we also will stream “The Afternoon of Conversation,” the festival’s marquis event, from the Benedict Music Tent on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. The live feed for each of these events at the Hotel Jerome is free and open to the public, and we hope you will be able to join us for some of them.

The Aspen Institute is proud to call Aspen home since its founding here in 1949. I sincerely hope you will take part in some aspect of the festival, whether in person at an event, on local radio, through our podcasts or online at Thanks very much.

Walter Isaacson

President and CEO, Aspen Institute