News / Arts & Entertainment

Aspen Ideas Festival Inspires, Engages, Promotes Debate

Aspen Ideas Festival Inspires, Engages, Promotes Debatei
X
July 02, 2013 6:45 PM
Every summer, some of the most interesting thinkers, leaders and artists in the U.S. gather to share ideas in Aspen, Colorado. It's called the Aspen Ideas festival. It is an incubator of creativity which attracts the best and the brightest in many fields -- from across the United States and around the world to the small western U.S. town of Aspen, Colorado, known for its great natural beauty. VOA's Vivian Chakarian reports.
Every summer, some of the most interesting thinkers, leaders and artists in the U.S. gather to share ideas in Aspen, Colorado.

It's called the Aspen Ideas Festival.  It is an incubator of creativity which attracts the best and the brightest in many fields - from across the United States and around the world to the small western U.S. town of Aspen, known for its great natural beauty.

Xiao Xiao, pianist, technologist and doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brought to Aspen her insights from piano-playing to human-computer interaction, designing experiences that bridge the digital and the physical.

"One day when I was practicing the piano I was looking at the really pretty reflection that's in front of the keyboard of my hands, and I had this thought of wouldn't it be really beautiful if instead of seeing my own hands there I could see somebody else's hands," Xiao Xiao said.

Dr. Joel Dudley is director of bioinformatics and assistant professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He shared at Aspen the great strides made in health care, specifically in the field of personal genomics.

"A genome for a single individual, for example, will have six billion letters in it, so six billion with a "B" letters. It's a tremendous amount of information to interpret, and we now have the tools to make it cheap and easy, relatively easy, to interpret that, or at least measure that," he explained.

Patricia McLaughlin is associate vice president of communications at the Legacy Foundation, a leading public health organization working to drive down smoking rates. She is at Aspen to keep media and business leaders engaged with the issue.

"We have worked with three different artists who have all taken a position on some of the key issues that we are engaged in around tobacco use, and what they've done is through their art, they're illustrating the issue for us and helping drive the conversation with people," she said.

These are just a few of the many ideas presented at Aspen. For more than 60 years, the Aspen Institute has been a gathering place for leading writers, artists, scientists, public officials, business executives, scholars, economists and foreign policy experts.

Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs at the Aspen Institute and director of the Aspen Ideas Festival, said the conference gives attendees, who number as many as 4,000, a new appreciation of important topics.

"The goal of an organization like ours and of this type of event is to get people to think, and to understand an issue from multiple perspectives," Boone stated.

From early in the morning to late in the evening,meeting on footpaths and sidewalks, on the lawn or at coffee bars, with thinkers, artists, musicians and other leaders - in this remote part of the Rocky Mountains to the beautiful music of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."