ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2008
     
An Afternoon of Conversation

`What will be the result after the world has been changed? What Can You Do?´

The festival is one of the many gatherings organised by the Aspen Institute. This institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.

The festival, held June 29 up to including July 7, became a great success. Browse the magazine. Motivation for the businesstrip was to develop and to trigger the mind, by which new ideas will grow for further benefit of Europe. Why? Europe is doing well economically, but besides economics there is also a large range of other areas, including for example protection and humanoria, that demands for attention.

The instake of the AI-Festival guarantees to go through sessions, tutorials, conversations, book signings, action oriented discussions, evening exchanges and events of all the fields during 7 days long. Every subject with its own characteristics. It offered a stimulating and invigorating celebration of some of the liveliest minds on the stage today. As participant, there was the opportunity to engage in a large variety of programs, tutorials, and discussion events which together guaranteed to charge the atmosphere with vibrant intellectual exchange. The festival featured more than 250 leaders in various fields, from arts and culture, to science, religion, media, business, academia and politics.

 

PROGRAM:
Tracks spanning the week include:
Global Dynamics, Arts and Culture, The American Experience, Climate and Sustainability, The 'Big Ideas' and the 'GET ENGAGED!' series.
Four day program tracks:
- first series: Children and Education, Innovation and Technology, Religion and the Modern World, Medicine 2025;
- second series: Global Commerce and the World Economy, The Net Generation, Food, Fuel and Famine, India.
Special events: Receptions and "An Afternoon of Conversation", Special sessions, Breakfest sessions, Lunch sessions, Evening Exchanges, Films, Sponsor Presentations and Special Exhibit
.


'Ideas are a way of looking at the world, and are best shared, then refined by others and returned in a more glorious way. A really good idea is when common sense and imagination collide' (Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson).

 

Presentations given at the opening gave a sense of the breadth and the depth and the passion of the ideas that will be sharing this week, said an Aspen institute executive.

Feeling EUROPE attended "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Faith and the Death of God" from The 'Big Ideas' series. Should we distinguish good faith from bad faith, and if so, how? Why do we see the resurgence of religion? What might be the consequences, and what does it tell us about fate and destiny of man?

A lecture by and conversation with ethicist Rob Riemen, founding father and director of the NEXUS Institute in the Netherlands, a high ranked institute that moves deeply within cultural and philosophical fields.

The lecture was about faith, the oldest but also a complex idea. Times wherein no human values, such as dignity and law, were present. 'I wish to be a human being'. Think how and why. During the lecture, amoung other philosophers, Nietzsche's (what makes life worth to live?), Wittgenstein's, Spinoza's and Goethe's thoughts were quoted. Also Moses and the book of Job was raised.

From importance is to believe in immaterial values. IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE, BUT WHAT WE ARE. If we accept our responsibility, then we probably can possess 'Nobility of Spirit', the quintessence of a civilized world. Without that spirit culture vanishes. So, explore the quest for the good society in our own age.

Very special was an extra invitation to join a group of people and Rob Riemen to celebrate and signing his new book.

Rob Riemen, Nexus Institute; the Good, the Bad, The Ugly

Booksigning

Thursday 3th kick off second track:
In the morning `The Presidency and the Constitution`, later `Ice on the Run` with James Balog from
EIS. The rather fast going melt down is the problem and CO2 is now higher then ever been before. Temperature and sealevel are both rising. It is not only a matter of perception and of psychological matter, but also an economical and political issue.

Next the special event 'An Afternoon of Conversation'. Themes:

  • `Are we Safe` (1, 2) with Michael Chertoff: in Iraq an important step was achieved concerning combat against terrorism by better ways of organising and because allies put some more efforts.
  • `The Bottom Billion in a Changing World` with Paul Collier: pointed the preposterous tax regiems and the acting of the new generation using compassion in combination with business experience. An opportunity is E-services.
  • The third theme was called `Ideas that are shaping the Future` with Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur and a tireless advocate for science and technology, and went about believes in technology.
An Afternoon of Conversation with M. Chertoff An Afternoon of Conversation, Th. Friedman: Flat is meeting crowded, and it was already getting hot.
  • `Hot, Flat and Crowded` by Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning author and columnist for the New York Times, came in for turn. His presence was related on his new book. A chapter is devoted to declining democracy;

  • Anna Deavere Smith spoke about `Green for All': we have to break with oil and follow a green economy;

  • Ryan shared her views on trail, failure, politics, and power during the 2008 Ideas Festival afternoon of conversation in the Benedict Music Tent. Two weeks later, she was named the poet laureate of the United States. Hear Kay Ryan read three poems;

  • Colin Powell closed the special event. The talk went about Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and transatlantic relations. The theme was called `Building Consensus on US Foreign Policy' (1 2 3 4)

  • Finally a speech by Peter J. Gomes: take care of a framework. We need justice.

click for video

An evening on India` with Swami Parthasarathy: `Vendanta, the Wisdom of India` and the second part `Where is India going in the 21st Century`? Motivations in life: acquisitions and enjoyment.

Very philosophical is

`CAN I BE OF RECEIVE?`

In reaching self realisation, one should first withdraw, then concentrate and finally meditate

The breakfest session in hotel Jerome July 4th Friday: Independence day began at 6pm with some gunshots. The first session started at 8pm:
  • `Morality and American Foreign Policy: A History` by Ted Widmer, director of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, one of America's premier centers for research into early American history. Clear insight was given in American history (the Declaration of Independence) and its aspirations. 1919 Was very important in history. Also the value of freedom (of speech, religion, ..) was underlined and the developments in the Western Balkans were cited.

In the meantime my brain likes an unorganised unsorted database, but I am sure that will be solved. Some rest, analyzing and logic thinking helps to make my chaotic notes clarify. But nevertheless, here we go. 11 Sessions were attendend today. Furthermore also the reception for the second track attendees was visited.

One thing is remarkable: there is hardly EUROPA on the campus of the Aspen Institute. Only the presence of an security-expert from the Councel of Europe and ethicus Riemen for reflection on European culture was noticed. Both very important presenters, but more information and knowledge about Europe would be still very useful. The whole day was overwhelming:

  • `The International Power and Potential of the Arts` (Americans are multicultural people, responsibility and an enormous power).

    `Why India Matters` (Underling of the strength of the country).

    `Who am I?` Human beings has a tremendous advantage on animals, but no college, no knowledge. How to manage your neighbour and yourself?

    The Global War on Terror: is America Fighting the Right War?` (stop calling it a war on, challenge of Israel, mentioning briefly history of Islam ideology and embracing new strategies).

    `The MySpace and Facebook Phenomena` ('I facedbook my mom' and 'it is my space, but it is public, but it is my space')

    `Education for Democracy` by Thomas Ehrlich: political education, solo skills and attitude. Be open to yourself to open the mind. What efforts of leadership does look like. Classic reflections. Morality. There is no single approach, thank goodness. Understanding the values of democracy

    `Will Biofuels Starve Us or Save Us?`

  • `How: The Source of Sustainable Differentation and Success in the 21st Century`, a special session within concurrent tutorials. 'Human beings, not human doings'. 'What character is to an individual, is culture to an organization'.
    It's about rules and values and it starts with you. Perspective is critical. Leaders should pursue also significance, not just success. At the end a focus on human endeavor: extend trust, embrace transparancy, innovate in how,
    live your values and inspire others. In other words: OUTBEHAVE
    !

  • It's about rules and values and it starts with you. Perspective is critical. Leaders should pursue also significance, not just success. At the end a focus on human endeavor: extend trust, embrace transparancy, innovate in how, live your values and inspire others. In other words: OUTBEHAVE!
  • ocean of Wisdom, Embodiment of Compassion`.
  • Election 2008: A Poll: What Does America Want from This Election?` An inside look at the 2008 campaign. 'We must reject the politics of the past'. McCaine: strong and experienced leadership and goes for a secure future. Barack Obama: experienced America can afford new and fresh ideas for the change that America needs.
Dov Seidman: Outbehave!
America experience Stephen Carter, Tyne Daly, Susan Eisenhower, Sidney Harman, Michael Sandel, Ted Widmer, Stephen Wadsworth

It's a horserace between the two candidates (45% versus 42%). Economy is a top issue and there is a desire for change, but a doubt for Obama. Patriottism is a feeling, a value, a virtue, no concept. What survived is a (constitutional) liberal democracy.

`The Power of Words' in the 'Belly Up'. 'Whe should nothing take for granted.' Make the world safe for democracy'. 'Mind the erosion of freedom'. 'The voice is the instrument'.

July 5th, Saturday: 10 sessions:
  • `Confrontating the Food Crisis` Facts: prices up last few months. Causes short supplies, weather, energy prices and demand. Investments to be needed. By transport about 40% was lost. The problem is also (the) protection by countries and increasing of population. There is some hope: 2 or 3 African countries are doing something. Markets need help and it has become a global issue (the lack of or the will of goverments, linking together, also to fight against corruption)

  • `The Future of the Global Corporation`. There are lot of opportunities to grow. Think of results with Malaysa, Colombia and seen from 1998 with Sudan. Education, economy and loyalty are keywords.

  • 'Learning in the 21st Century: Are Digital Media Our Kid's Future? (from the Net Generation)

  • 'Legal, Judicial and Intellegence Aspects of the War on Terror as Seen Abroad`
  • The Beijing Games` (with Harrison Dillard). The economics (Greece' GDP deficit, but also chances: benefit for companies). Boycot and citizenship phenomena.
  • Governance and Globalisation`. Change of global systems: how to improve current institutions and their mutual cooperation. Savings, tax systems and immigration in relation to workforce are issues to account with.
  • Web 2.0 and Beyond´ A very great impact of life. Privacy securization. Security and espionage.
  • The TOMS Shoes Story` (film)
  • A Conversation with President William J. Clinton`` (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • `Genie In A Bottle Unleashed to Peace`.
The Net Generation
The Conversation: Global Philantrophy
After the Conversation: Global Philanthrophy After the Conversation: Global Philanthrophy. Calls for better systems.
The Last day, Sunday 6th the sessions:
  • `Here Comes Everybody` with Clay Shirky. HDR-software. Flickr. All out of personal motivation. It costs no money, no manager is needed and who cares tutorials? 'Publishing is for acting'. Also used to manipulate, also in politics.

  • `The Theory and Practice of Multiple Intelligence: The First 25 Years'. Preschool Reggio Emilia promotes intelligence. The book is titled 'Good Work'. Quality, technically, engaging, meaningful and carried out on ethical matter.
    'Character is more important than intellect'.

  • `A Special Conversation` with the major of New Yersey

  • `Closing Session: What Can I Do?` (William Mayor, Jacqueline Novogratz, Robert Socolow, Sarah Jones, Ari Shavit
    ('amazing civilization, liberation of the women in the rest of the world, support PM Salaam Fayaad, politics of possibilities, compassion, hope and love') James Rogers and Cory Booker.

It has been my first experience with AIF and I may say it is very impressive and overwhelming and I think the Festival did function as:

  1. generator for knowledgecatalyst for better understanding each other and general drives
  2. trigger for ideas (draw out latent talents)
  3. resenter of items and issues out of most of the fields
  4. uide for making choises on priorities
  5. database with valuable information, that I can use for enhancing prosperity and welfare in Europe.

I hope that next year all of us can also say:  I Have Done .................................. When I did inquire June 2007 after possibilites to participate I wrote amoung other things: 'I want to enrich my intellect, to think deeply, to read, to listen and to attend.' Well, all of the wishes have been filled in completely.

Director Aspen Ideas Festival during the Closing session