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Aspen Ideas to Go


Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.

Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.


United States


Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the Aspen Institute.




David Brooks on Building Trust and Connection

Are we experiencing a “crisis of connection"?” Fifty-four percent of American adults report that not a single person knows them well. Our political and social divisions are at the forefront of public life right now, and distrust is widespread. New York Times columnist David Brooks is on a mission to spread the skills of deep listening and engaged conversation, which lead to real recognition and understanding between humans. If you want to get to know someone, you need to know how they see...


Is It Time for New Economic Metrics?

Do we really understand what’s happening in the economic lives of regular Americans? How is inflation hitting people with middle and lower incomes, and what impact will higher interest rates have on them? What societally valuable assets are we ignoring because we don’t measure them? Some economists believe we’re not collecting the right data, and therefore, we’re not getting an accurate picture of what’s happening to individuals. Gene Ludwig founded the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic...


Bringing the Democratic Party Back to the People

Have Democrats become too identified with technocratic ways of speaking — about the economy, the pandemic, climate change? Has this deepened the political divide between those with and those without college degrees? Can Democrats reconnect with working-class voters who were drawn to Donald Trump? A few people inside the Democratic Party, including Colorado senator Michael Bennet, are speaking up to do just that, and figure out how to reorient the party to a compassionate and winning...


Managing Our Eco-Anxiety

Heat waves. Wildfires. Floods. This summer has served up some of the most extreme weather on record, and it’s clear many of us are overwhelmed by climate change news. We usually hear more about problems than solutions, and it’s often difficult to find helpful information about managing our fear and discomfort. Alaina Wood is a scientist and climate communicator, known for her TikTok videos about uplifting climate-related news. She believes that amplifying positive messages helps people lead...

Time for a Friendship Reset?

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown became an unexpected opportunity to take stock of our relationships. Some friendships deepened and transformed, some slipped away, and many social circles shrank. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Our friendships have an enormous impact on our lives, but this type of relationship hardly gets any attention from social scientists and the media, and we have a lot of misconceptions about friendship. The writers and researchers in this panel from the...


Following Dirty Money Around the World

We are in a golden age for organized crime and corruption, according to watchdog groups. Technological innovations like cryptocurrency have given criminals new tools for covering their tracks, and allowed them to spread out around the globe. Bad actors have spent decades building tangled webs of enablers and tactics, and they now have more resources and capital than ever to invest in new crime enterprises. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has reporters and editors on...


When it Comes to Education, Do Parents Know Best?

Parents have always cared about what their kids are learning in school, but education debates have become particularly explosive in the U.S. in the last couple of years. All over the country, parent groups have introduced bills that try to control and restrict what children learn – especially around issues of race, history, and LGBTQ identity. What’s behind the recent push for parental power over education? And is it pitting parents against teachers? Parents who are also educators,...


Free Speech: Where Should We Go From Here?

In public forums and institutions all across America, people are arguing about what free speech means in the age of the internet. What are the rules, and are they the same in every context? What are the consequences of taking action against hate speech, and what are the consequences of not taking action? Is “cancel culture” real, and what is it? Are we in need of a fundamental reset of the bedrock principles and law regarding freedom of speech? In this rousing and passionate panel from the...


Will Inflation Come Down Anytime Soon?

Inflation is dominating the financial news headlines, and millions of Americans are really hurting from high prices for gas and food. The unemployment rate is still low, but some companies are announcing layoffs and hiring freezes, and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel. There are more questions than answers: What caused the highest inflation rate in 40 years, and how do we get out of it? What can the Biden Administration and the Federal Reserve do to help? Are we...


A Firsthand Report of Ukrainian Suffering and Resolve

As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, reporters bring us more and more heart-wrenching stories and images of suffering caused by the conflict. The scale of the damage can feel overwhelming, but a firsthand account can sometimes help us process the impact and ground us in what’s happening in the region. Yuliya Tychkivska is a longtime activist and the executive director of Aspen Institute Kyiv. She recently fled the war in Ukraine with her three children, traveling through at least six...


Is the Supreme Court Still the Weakest Branch?

Alexander Hamilton called the U.S. Supreme Court the “weakest” branch of government, because it has no direct control over the military or budget. But the court’s recent cluster of decisions on hot-button issues has demonstrated that it can have an enormous impact on the American people and life in this country. Is the judiciary becoming more powerful, and therefore more dangerous? And what will be the consequences if the Court’s power is undermined by ongoing questions about its legitimacy?...


Beyond Roe and Dobbs: the Future of Reproductive Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, 2022, has clear consequences: abortion is no longer a protected federal right in the U.S, and many clinics are shutting down. But the legal arguments the decision relies upon are much more complex, and those details often get lost in the headlines. The 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival brought together a conservative and a liberal constitutional scholar to break down the ruling, explain the nuances and...


SCOTUS: Roe v. Wade is Overturned

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, revoking the federal right to an abortion. The Aspen Ideas Festival kicked off the next day, so we quickly shifted gears for the Opening Session and pulled together a stellar panel discussion that centered this groundbreaking legal decision. Laws banning abortion have already gone effect in several states as a result of this decision, and some clinics have reduced services or shut down entirely. Questions remain about what other...


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Digital Surveillance and the Fight for Reproductive Rights

The reversal of Roe v. Wade would make it difficult or impossible for millions of people to obtain abortions, but would also open the doors to criminally prosecute people who seek or obtain an abortion. And in our technological age, that criminalization brings new, frightening opportunities for digital surveillance by law enforcement agencies or anti-abortion vigilantes. In this panel from Aspen Digital, “Digital Surveillance and the Fight for Reproductive Rights,” three experts in digital...


Reckoning with America’s History of Slavery

History is taught with textbooks and lectures, but it’s also passed down in more informal ways, within families from generation to generation. Different groups of people can become attached to varying stories of the same past, and some narratives are erased or distorted. Writer and scholar Clint Smith takes a close look at the mechanisms and consequences of those distortions in his new book, “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America.” He visited...


Remembering Madeleine Albright

The Aspen Institute remembers and mourns Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, who passed away on March 23, 2022. She was a diplomat, professor, author, business leader, and the first woman to be the U.S. Secretary of State. In 2018, she raised the alarm on dangerous world leadership with her book “Fascism: A Warning,” calling out the regimes of Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, among others. In July of that year, Aspen Institute President and CEO, Dan Porterfield, interviewed her about the book in...


A New and Improved Social Contract

The industrial revolution and consequent terrible labor conditions sparked a wave of revolutions in Europe, and then a string of laws and protections for workers. As author and innovation expert Alec Ross describes it, we “rewrote the social contract.” But, Ross says, we may be due for another rewrite, as we transition from an industrial economy to one based on information and knowledge. He writes in his book, “The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – And the Fight For Our Future,”...


The Russian Cyber Threats Facing Ukraine

Any organization, public or private, with any connection to Ukraine, should be exercising extreme technological vigilance, says cybersecurity expert Sandra Joyce, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Intelligence at Mandiant. In addition to the attacks on the ground, Russia could come at Ukraine virtually, with a wide range of targets and tactics and varying levels of sophistication. On February 18th, 2022, a few days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chris Krebs, the Senior...


How to Build Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that Sticks

We may have moved from a time of reckoning on racial equity to a time of transformation, says business leader Dr. Rohini Anand, and that gives her hope. The author of “Leading Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Guide for Systemic Change in Multinational Organizations,” Anand advises leaders all over the world on how to get to work and make DEI improvements that stick. Each situation is unique, but the principles Anand has come up with help leaders adapt her expertise to their own...