Aspen Ideas Festival 2020: Bill Gates, Madeleine Albright, Anna Deavere Smith, and Yuval Sharon
Aspen Ideas Festival - June 30th (full episode)
When can we expect a vaccine for COVID-19? What mysteries of the virus are scientists still exploring? In the past, social change has emboldened artistic expression. How is this moment in history influencing artists’ work? Finally, what is America’s role in a “brand new world?”
Part One: Bill Gates and Stephanie Mehta
Since its founding, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed billions of dollars to the search for and distribution of vaccines across the globe. Its knowledge, network, and resources are now being tapped amid the accelerated search for treatments for COVID-19. Gates joins Stephanie Mehta, editor in chief of Fast Company, and shares his expectations for a vaccine timeline, and elaborates on the mysteries of the virus we’re still exploring. How is the United States government’s response to the pandemic affecting the search for a cure? What about the private sector? What resources does Gates recommend for deeper understanding of diseases? And why does he believe that in five years we will be ready for the next pandemic?
Part Two: Anna Deavere Smith and Yuval Sharon with Kate D. Levin
Playwright Anna Deavere Smith and opera director Yuval Sharon explore how this extraordinary moment in our history will both influence their work as artists and compel all of us to reinterpret art from the past. While social change has emboldened artistic expression throughout history, evident in ancient Greek plays and centuries-old Shakespearian dramas, artistic expression has always strived to enliven culture and move minds in the moment. Sharon and Deavere Smith illustrate how artistic endeavor — regardless of provenance — continues to be reinvented against the landscape of the here and now.
Part Three: Madeleine Albright and Nicholas Burns
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins longtime colleague and friend Ambassador Nicholas Burns for a conversation about her life, the dangers facing modern democracies, and America’s role in what she calls “a brand new world.” Reflecting on her childhood in London during the Blitz, her journey to America as a refugee, and her long career as a diplomat, Secretary Albright is facing the current crises and ongoing work with outspoken determination. “It took me a long time to find my voice,” she says,”I’m not going to shut up now.” A self-described worried optimist and grateful American, Albright offers an urgent message for the unprecedented times we are living in.