Opening Plenary: Conflict, Trust, and Polarization | Wednesday, July 21 at 10:00 AM EDT
While the polarization of our current moment may feel unprecedented, its root causes are fundamental to the human condition. In this plenary, we discuss what is new and what is old about the conflicts which communities and organizations find themselves, how technologies of the 21st century have helped the advancement of some while harming many others, and look at the possibilities of building trust among people and institutions.
Why Are We So Polarized?
What are the causes of conflict and polarization? Are they fundamental to human nature or byproducts of the systems we have engineered for ourselves? In this discussion, we explore the root causes of high conflict situations and how we might transcend them in order to have more sustainable relationships and "better arguments".
Eric Liu, Writer & Founder of Citizen University, Executive Director, Citizenship & American Identity Program
Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University. He also directs the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker; The Gardens of Democracy (co-authored with Nick Hanauer); You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen; and his most recent, Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy. Eric served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He has served as a board member of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Washington State Board of Education, and the Seattle Public Library and is a co-founder of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.View full bio
Amanda Ripley, Author, High Conflict
Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist and a New York Times bestselling author. Her first book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why, was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary. Her next book,The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has also appeared in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Politico, the Guardian and the Times of London. Her stories helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. To discuss her writing, Amanda has appeared on ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News and NPR. She has spoken at the Pentagon, the U.S. Senate, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as conferences on leadership, conflict resolution and education.View full bio
Rima Maktabi, Bureau Chief in London, Al Arabiya
Middle East Leadership Initiative Fellow
Rima Maktabi is the United Kingdom’s bureau chief for Al Arabiya news network. Rima has over 20 years experience in broadcast journalism and was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. Rima did extensive war zone TV coverage from Syria on political, military and humanitarian stories; she also showcased the emergence of ISIS in Iraq’s Mosul. In 2010, Rima was an anchor at CNN reporting news in the Middle East including the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain. She was also the host of CNN's renowned show Inside the Middle East. Rima was given Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum award for her work covering Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. Rima started her career in her home country Lebanon at Future TV where she worked for ten years. She is a Fellow of the sixth class of the Middle East Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.View full bio
Leading Through the Pandemic of Disinformation
We are living through a time where faith and trust in our institutions - and each other - are actively being eroded. Vivian Schiller, Executive Director of Aspen Digital, will moderate a discussion with members of the Aspen Commission on Information Disorder and AGLN Fellows to explore the crisis of disinformation and how we, as leaders, can combat the pandemic of "truth decay".
Vivian Schiller, Executive Director, Aspen Digital
Vivian Schiller is a longtime executive at the intersection of journalism, media and technology, Schiller has held executive roles at some of the most respected media organizations in the world. Those include: President and CEO of NPR; Global Chair of News at Twitter; General Manager of NYTimes.com; Chief Digital Officer of NBC News; Chief of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications; and Head of CNN documentary and long form divisions. Documentaries and series produced under her auspices earned multiple honors, including three Peabody Awards, four Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, and dozens of Emmys. Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a Director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.View full bio
Yasmin Green, Director, Research and Development, Jigsaw, Alphabet
Yasmin Green is the Director of Research and Development for Jigsaw, a unit within Alphabet Inc. focused on solving global security challenges through technology. Yasmin was previously Head of Strategy and Operations for Google Ideas, now Jigsaw. At Google, Yasmin served as Head of Sales Strategy and Operations for Southern Europe, Middle East, and Africa as well as Africa Operations Manager. Before joining Google, she consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton. Yasmin has experience leading projects in some of the world’s toughest environments, including Iran, Syria, UAE and Nigeria. In 2012, she led a multi-partner coalition to launch Against Violent Extremism, the world’s first online network of former violent extremists and survivors of terrorism. Based on her own interviews with ISIS defectors and jailed recruits, last year Yasmin launched the Redirect Method, a new deployment of targeted advertising and video to confront online radicalization.View full bio
Marla Blow, President & Chief Operating Officer, Skoll Foundation
Henry Crown Fellow
Marla Blow has been widely recognized as a leading executive in the finance industry. For her work as an entrepreneur, she won the EY Mid-Atlantic Emerging Company Entrepreneur of the Year Award. As part of the implementation team that built the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Marla served as the Assistant Director for Card and Payment Markets. She is a Henry Crown Fellow as part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Other accolades include the #3 spot on the list of most important women in FinTech in the US and being named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.View full bio
Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder-Editor of IndiaSpend
Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellow
Govindraj Ethiraj is a journalist and founder-editor of IndiaSpend, India's first data journalism initiative and a social entrepreneurship venture. He is also the founder of Ping Digtal Broadcast, a Google multi-channel network for knowledge, news, and utility programming for digital audiences. He also writes for newspapers like Business Standard and anchors seasonal shows on channels like Headlines Today and Rajya Sabha Television. Previously, Govindraj was founder and editor in chief of Bloomberg TVIndia. His awards include: British Chevening Scholarships For Young Indian Print Journalists; Selected as one of 25 most influential personalities in media and advertising in Bombay by Mid-Day on its 25th Anniversary; Nominated for Distinction in Communication at the Teacher's Achievement Awards; Award For Outstanding Contribution To Media; Indira Award For Marketing Excellence.View full bio
Spark Conversation: Financial Security and Social Stability
What is the link between financial security and social stability? In this spark conversation Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth Founder Shamina Singh and newly elected St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones will talk about the connections between financial security – for individuals, households and small businesses – and the imperative to build more equitable, sustainable and stable communities. Inclusion happens by design, not by default, and it matters very much who the designers are. We will hear from two AGLN Fellows who are working to design more inclusive economic growth.
Tishaura Jones, Mayor, City of St. Louis, Missouri
Tishaura Jones Tishaura Jones is the 47th mayor and the first Black female mayor of the City of St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2012, Tishaura has helped the City of St. Louis earn and save over $30 million and counting. With a deep personal commitment, a wealth of experience, and a proven record of leadership, Jones started her career as a public servant in 2002 when she was appointed as Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward in the City of St. Louis. A history-maker on a mission, she served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, and was selected as the first African American woman in Missouri history to hold the position of Assistant Minority Floor Leader. She also is the first African American woman to serve as Treasurer of St. Louis.View full bio
Shamina Singh, Founder & President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
Henry Crown Fellow
Shamina Singh is the Founder and President of Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice President of Sustainability at Mastercard. Since 2014, she has led the Center with a remit to leverage Mastercard’s data, technology, capital and expertise for social impact. In her role as EVP for Sustainability, she is responsible for the development and implementation of the environmental, social and governance strategy across the company. In 2018, Mastercard pledged $500 million to advance inclusive growth around the world. Shamina was named President of the Mastercard Impact Fund and charged with activating those philanthropic dollars to advance inclusive growth and financial inclusion around the world. Currently, she sits on the Boards of Data & Society and ADL, a leading anti-hate organization. In addition, she serves as a Board Member of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University.View full bio
How Do We Build Trust?
The social fabric in many of our societies has been stretched to its limit. In some cases, it is completely torn. How do we weave it back together and build trust among our communities? In this conversation, we explore the solutions that are helping to build the kind of societal trust that is fundamental for a more free, just, and equitable world.
Michael Skoler, Communications Director, Weave: The Social Fabric Project
Michael Skoler is the Communications Director of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. He was a science and foreign correspondent for NPR, oversaw Public Radio International’s digital expansion, created the first major crowdsourcing platform for US newsrooms - the Public Insight Network, pioneered news games like Budget Hero, and helped create the State Integrity Index measuring the risk of state government corruption. He’s a parent, meditator, backpacker and serial collaborator.View full bio
Ana María Vallarino, President, VerdeAzul Foundation, Grupo VerdeAzul
Central America Leadership Initiative Fellow
Ana María Vallarino is the Vice-President of Real Estate Development for Grupo VerdeAzul (GVA), handling several projects in Panama City and beach areas on Panama’s Pacific coastline. Mrs. Vallarino is a member of the Board of Directors of VerdeAzul Hotels and several of GVA's housing projects; as well as founding member for WCD Panama (Panama's chapter for Women Corporate Directors). Mrs. Vallarino is an active advocate for Panama's cultural heritage preservation, through Fundación Mua Mua.View full bio
Ashley Bell, Founder, Partner, Public Policy & Finance, Dentons
Civil Society Fellowship, A Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, Fellow
Ashley Bell is a partner at Dentons LLP, the world’s largest law firm. Leveraging his extensive experience with both the public and private sectors, Ashley develops solutions to effectively bridge the intersection of business, law and government. Ashley represents 12 of the 18 remaining Black owned banks in the United States, and serves as the General Counsel for the National Black Bank Foundation and the $250 million Black Bank Fund. Ashley served for four years in Senior Executive Service in the Federal Government, starting at the US Department of State, most recently as a Policy Advisor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the White House Office of American Innovation. Simultaneously, Ashley served as the Regional Administrator for the US Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Southeastern United States. Ashley is the Founder of 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, the nation’s most influential Black and bipartisan coalition of elected officials, legal professionals, civic and business leaders focused on comprehensive policing and criminal justice reform at all levels of government. A former Hall County Commissioner elected at the young age of 27, Ashley was one of the youngest commissioners ever elected in the State of Georgia.View full bio
Collective Leadership: What does it take? | Sunday, July 25 at 10:00 AM EDT
The world’s most difficult challenges won’t be solved by individual actors working in silos. Rather, we need leaders to come together to collaborate and sustain impact for the long haul. In this plenary, we wrap up the themes of the week with clear calls to action and practical ways to channel our energy in service of a brighter future. This plenary will also feature "Videos for Change" created by the young people participating in the Youth Action Forum.
Exploring Your Social Change Ecosystem
What does your social change ecosystem look like? What roles are you playing as you work to have an impact? In this conversion, we are joined by Deepa Iyer, Strategic Advisor at Building Movement Project and Director of Solidarity Is, to explore how we might lead sustainably with others.
Deepa Iyer, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Solidarity, Building Movement Project
Deepa Iyer is a South Asian American writer, strategist, lawyer, and racial justice advocate. Currently, Deepa is a Strategic Advisor at Building Movement Project and Director of Solidarity Is, a project that provides training, narratives, and resources on building deep and lasting multiracial solidarity. Deepa’s areas of expertise include the post 9/11 America experiences of South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh immigrants, immigration and civil rights policies, and racial equity and solidarity practices. Deepa has worked at various national and local organizations with a focus on immigrant and racial justice. She served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade, and has also held positions at Race Forward, the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, and the Asian American Justice Center. Iyer serves on the Advisory Council of the Emergent Fund, which resources grassroots organizing and power building in communities of color who are facing injustice based on racial, ethnic, religious and other forms of discrimination.View full bio
Adria Goodson, Director, Ford Global Fellowship, Ford Foundation
Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow
Adria Goodson is the director for the Ford Global Fellowship program, a new program of The Ford Foundation. Adria has spent over 20 years catalyzing resources to support the learning and development of social justice leaders, national non-profit executives, and education leaders. She has authored several pieces on movement leadership and has been a featured speaker at TedXBeaconStreet. Earlier in her career, Adria worked for the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago developing marketing strategies for clients, including McDonald’s Corporation and Kellogg Corporation.View full bio
Collective Leadership: What is Required of Us?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
What does it take to lead collectively? In this conversation, we speak with Henry Crown Fellow Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green, about what it takes to connect and mobilize an ecosystem of changemakers and what lessons we can take into our own work.
Cheryl Dorsey, President, Echoing Green
Henry Crown Fellow
Cheryl Dorsey is a pioneer in the social entrepreneurship movement and the President of Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. She became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002. An accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and Vice Chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-2017). Cheryl has served on several boards including The Bridgespan Group, and, previously, the Harvard Board of Overseers and SEED Foundation.View full bio
Manoj Kumar, CEO, Naandi Foundation
Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellow
Manoj Kumar is the founding CEO of Naandi Foundation, disrupted the NGO space in India by being the first to implement large scale government programs with efficiency and measurable outcomes. Naandi has also spun off a social impact venture for the provision of safe drinking water across India under the brand name iPure which is a joint venture with the French Group Danone. Under his leadership, in the last 20 years, Naandi has impacted 6 million lives. Manoj is the co-founder of ARAKU Coffee, a premium coffee brand which has won global acclaim and retailed currently in France and India. Manoj serves on the Boards of NICE Foundation, Ananta Centre and Azao India apart from being the CSR Advisor for the Mahindra Group. A Laureate of the John P. McNulty Prize, Manoj was named by The Financial Times London as one of the 25 people to watch out for in India.View full bio
Collective Leadership & The Aspen Global Leadership Network
Henry Crown Fellow and 2018 McNulty Prize winner Mehrdad Baghai has developed an innovative learning model to inoculate young people against hate through his venture High Resolves. Founded in Australia, the program has spread across contexts and continents to deliver high quality experiences for youth around the world. The proliferation of High Resolves is an inspiring example of how one Fellow tapped the network to scale a highly effective solution. In this conversation, Mehrdad shares his experiences as he and other AGLN Fellows have taken the High Resolves model global.
Mehrdad Baghai, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, High Resolves
Henry Crown Fellow
Mehrdad Baghai is co-founder, chairman and CEO of High Resolves, the leader in the design and delivery of learning experiences around citizenship. He is a John P. McNulty Prize winner. He is chairman of Alchemy Growth, a boutique advisory and venture firm. Mehrdad frequently addresses business audiences about emerging ideas in the field of management, especially strategies for turbulent environments. Prior to this Mehrdad was an executive director at the CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, with overarching responsibility for growth. He was previously a partner in the Sydney and Toronto offices of McKinsey and Company and co-leader of the firm's worldwide Growth Practice. Mehrdad is co-author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller "As One" and the international bestsellers, "The Alchemy of Growth" and "The Granularity of Growth".View full bio
Diane Robinson, Filmmaker, Yard Girl Productions
Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow
Diane Robinson is a seasoned leader in the US and internationally with over two decades of experience working as a teacher, non-profit leader, educational consultant and now social impact producer. Diane is a movement builder who has traveled and worked extensively in the US and globally to launch and scale high performing organizations like Teach For America, the KIPP Foundation, Teach For All and Global Nomads Group. She most recently founded Yard Girl Productions to develop and produce stories that create social impact. Diane brings decades of experience working on the front lines of social change and is a believer in the power of film to change mindsets and behavior