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Discourse & Dialogue: Get Informed at These 4 Talks

From Walter Isaacson's farewell at the Aspen Institute to team Trump's Thomas Barrack, Jr., here are the high thinkers to see.

By Andrew Travers May 24, 2017 Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Don't miss Walter Isaacson during his final summer as president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. 

Novelists Hannah Tinti and Dani Shapiro return to teach at Aspen Summer Words in June, both with new books in tow. Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley was published in March and written, in part, during an Aspen Words residency in 2014. Shapiro’s new memoir, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, was released in April. Both will discuss their craft at public panels during the festival (June 18–23). aspenwords.org

It’s Walter Isaacson’s final summer as president and CEO of the Aspen Institute; he’s moving to Tulane University in his native New Orleans at the end of the year. And it’s his last time as the ringleader of the Aspen Ideas Festival (June 22–July 1), which he launched in 2005. Among the high-caliber thinkers and leaders who will appear at this year’s annual talk-a-thon will be artists Jeff Koons and Alexa Meade, television pioneer Norman Lear, Ginkgo Bioworks founder Christina Agapakis, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, and GoogleX “captain of moonshots” Astro Teller. aspenideas.org

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan returns to the Aspen Institute on July 10, inaugurating the new Sandra Day O’Connor Conversation series. The new annual event honors the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court and lifetime Institute trustee with discussions of legal, judicial, and political issues. aspeninstitute.org

As the Trump era dawns, the Aspen Institute is sticking to its nonpartisan mission and opening the think tank’s doors to the, let us say, nontraditional new White House administration and its allies. Among the so-called “drain the swamp” crowd coming to the Institute this summer is Thomas Barrack, Jr., the disarmingly amiable Trump campaign surrogate and chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He’ll be in conversation with Walter Isaacson on August 10aspeninstitute.org

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