The exciting new Ideas Festival...Meet and mingle with scores of top leaders in dozens of fields...Three days of intellectual and cultural stimulation...and fun.
KentPresents, America's influential new Ideas Festival, is now open for registration. At last year's inaugural event, 87 speakers gathered with over 300 attendees for three days of panels, discussions, conversations, debates and exchanges of ideas. It was quite a program.
This year's KentPresents, July 27-29 in Kent, Connecticut, will have a similar format. Accomplished presenters, challenging topics and stimulating sessions -- all in an idyllic New England setting. Over the three days, you'll bump into the speakers in myriad informal settings – receptions, meals, strolling around campus. At no other ideas festival will you have a chance to interact so closely with so many luminaries in so intimate a setting.
In our previous two years, the 134 speakers have included Nobel Laureates and winners of numberous prizes – Pulitzer, MacArthur, Tony, Emmy, Peabody, National Book Award and Presidential Medals. (See list below.) The 2017 speaker roster is now in active preparation. Their names will be posted on this website, starting shortly, and updated over the coming months.
Topics will include art, economics, education, energy, environment, food, global risks, health care, homeland security, intelligence, literature, national affairs, performing arts, politics, the racial divide, the Supreme Court, science, technology, women's issues… and more. Some of the 40-plus topics are listed below.
Once again, we anticipate a full house this year. If you're considering attending, now would be a good time to register.
Speakers at KentPresents 2016
It was a spectacular event, and I was honored to be a part of it. - Andrew Solomon, Author, Speaker, Prof. Clinical Psychology, Columbia
The entire event was so brilliantly conceived. - Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate, fmr Director National Cancer Institute
Just a quick note to tell you how much damn fun KentPresents was. The sessions, the conversations, the food, the wine, the gorgeous setting. - Joe Nocera, Columnist, The New York Times
Amazing... I have been to several pretty special events over the years, but this really was one of the very best. - Frances Arnold, Prof. Chem. Engineering & Bioengineering, Caltech
The “ideas,” so eloquently, passionately, and powerfully presented by a group of speakers who knew what they were talking about. - David Nasaw, Prof of History, Graduate Center CUNY
Phenomenal. I’ve attended lots of conferences, but none so seamlessly executed. - Faye Wattleton, former president, Planned Parenthood
What a dazzling three days, with one great panel after another! It was an honor and a pleasure to have been part of it. - Pepe Karmel, Associate Prof. of Art History, NYU
The quality of discussion at KentPresents was overall superior…an intimate and special atmosphere. - Sir Richard Dearlove, retired chief, Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)
The KentPresents roster of speakers was the most accomplished and knowledgeable that I have ever come across. - David Yaun, Vice President, Communications, IBM
Congratulations … A very large achievement, I say as someone who's been at every Aspen Ideas Festival since they began. - Corby Kummer, Senior Editor of Atlantic Monthly
The festival was a great success. - David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate, Former President, Caltech
Everything was perfect. The people who spoke were brilliant, and those who asked questions were no less intelligent and amazingly observant. - André Aciman, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center CUNY
PRELIMINARY 2017 PROGRAM TOPICS
(subject to change)
China – Friend or Foe?
Europe – Whole or Broken?
Middle East Mess – Iran/Saudi Arabia/Israel/Palestine/ISIS/Syria
The Immigration Crisis - Toward a Solution That's Fair and Secure
North Korea – How Crazy are They?
Russia – Threat, Opportunity…or Both?
The U.S. in a New World
Cybersecurity and Intelligence – Competing in the War of the Future
Economic Growth – New Paradigms
Economic Security – Is Globalization Dying?
Income Inequality Under Trump
K12 Education – Improving U.S. Competitiveness
K12 Education – Solutions for Urban Education
How Different Will TrumpCare Be?
Race in America – Policing and Incarceration
Where is the Supreme Court Headed?
The Environmental Outlook Under Trump
Women's Issues in a Trumpian World
Trump at Six Months – A Report Card
Democrats – The Road Back
Republicans – Is the Establishment Dead?
21st Century Voting Reform
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Disruptive Technologies Ahead - Topics in Preparation
Science That Will Change the World - Topics in Preparation
Food -- Topics in Preparation
Prominent Authors -- Topics in Preparation
Musical Theater -- Performance in Preparation
Performing Arts -- Topics in Preparation
Visual Arts – Topics in Preparation
KENTPRESENTS SPEAKERS 2015 & 2016
GLOBAL: Middle East, China, Cuba, Russia, Intelligence, Nuclear Proliferation
William Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment, Former Deputy Secretary of State, Amb. To Russia and Jordan
Richard Dearlove, OBE, former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service
Leslie Gelb, former Pentagon and State official, think tank executive, Times correspondent
Christopher Hill, former US Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Poland and Macedonia
James Hoge, former editor of Foreign Affairs
Henry Kissinger, Nobel Laureate, former US Secretary of State
Michael Kramer, playwright, journalist, author
Joshua Landis, Director, Center of Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma
William LeoGrande, Professor of Government, American University, Latin American expert
William Luers, Director, The Iran Project, former amb. To Czechoslovakia and Venezuela
Hussein Majali, former Interior Minister, Jordan and General
Jack Matlock, former US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union
William Perry, former US Secretary of Defense
Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to Russia, India, UN, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan
Chase Robinson, President, The Graduate Center, CUNY
J. Stapleton Roy, Founding Director Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and ambassadorial assignments included Singapore, China, and Indonesia
David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent, New York Times
Frances Townsend, President, Counter Extremism Project, former Homeland Security Advisor, CNN Commentator
Jose Viera, former First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cuba
NATIONAL: Election 2016, Supreme Court, Women's Issues, Universal Basic Income
Eric Cantor, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Moelis & Company and former House Majority Leader
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report
Mark Gorenberg, Founder and Managing Director of Zetta Venture Partners
Janet Gornick, Prof. Graduate Center of CUNY, income inequality expert
Danielle Gray, former Asst. to President Obama and Cabinet Secretary, Partner at O'Melveny and Myers
Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Congressman, New York's 8th District
Steve Koonin, Director of NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, previously Energy Under Secretary
Jay Kriegel, Senior Adviser of the Related Companies, formerly Chief of Staff, NYC Mayer John V. Lindsay
Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate, Op-ed Columnist, New York Times
Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans
Trevor Morrison, Dean, NYU School of Law
Charles Murray, American Enterprise Institute Fellow, columnist and pundit
Soledad O'Brien, Journalist and news anchor
Steve Pearlstein, Business and Economics columnist, Washington Post
Ed Rollins, Conservative campaign manager and consultant
Laurie Simmons, photographer and filmmaker
Andrew Stern, former President of the Service Employees International Union, author of "Raising the Floor"
Jeffrey Toobin, Staff writer the New Yorker
Cyrus Vance, District Attorney of New York City
Jeffrey Wall, former Asst. to the Solicitor General, Co-Head of the Sullivan & Cromwell Applegate Litigation Practice
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
Faye Wattleton, formerly youngest, first woman and first African-American president, Planned Parenthood
James Zirin, Op-ed columnist
HUMANITIES and LEISURE: Literature, Sports, Food
André Aciman, distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of CUNY
James Atlas, Author of numerous books, magazine editor and writer
David Benedict, Biographer of Stephen Sondheim
Charles Blow, op-ed Columnist, New York Times, author of "Fire Shut Up in My Bones"
Christopher Buckley, Novelist, essayist, humorist, magazine editor
Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher, HarperCollins
Frank Delaney, former BBC correspondent, bestselling author, leading Joyce scholar
Judith Dobrzynski, Journalist
John Donvan, Newscaster for ABC News, Host and Moderator for Intelligence2 Debates, author of "In a Different Key: The Story of Autism"
Sylvia Jukes Morris, Biographer of Clare Boothe Luce and more
Dan Kevles, Professor of History, Yale University
Corby Kummer, Senior Editor of The Atlantic and restaurant critic
Lewis Lapham, Founder, Lapham's Quarterly
Nick Lemann, Staff writer, The New Yorker
Edmund Morris, Biographer of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and more
David Nasaw, Prof. of History, CUNY Graduate Center
Joe Nocera, sports columnist New York Times, author of "Indentures: The Epic
Scandal of the NCAA"
Adam Platt, Food Critic, New York Magazine
Michael Pollan, food writer, author of the classic "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and recently, "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation"
Judith Shulevitz, Science editor, The New Republic, columnist
Dinitia Smith, author and filmmaker
Andrew Solomon, Professor at Columbia, writer
Judith Thurman, author, National Book Award winner
Jane Whitney, former television correspondent, anchor and host
Ekow Yankah, Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law
THE ARTS: Visual Arts, Performing Arts
Colin Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library and Museum
Andrew Bergman, Screenwriter-director, including "Blazing Saddles, " "The Freshman," "The In-Laws"
Bonnie Burnham, President, World Monuments Fund
Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Amy Cappellazzo, Art Adviser, Sotheby's
P. Carl, Co-Artistic Director, ArtsEmerson and Director/Co-founder of HowlRound
Ted Chapin, President, Rodgers & Hammerstein
John Doyle, Tony-winning Broadway director
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater
Carter Foster, Curator of Drawing at the Whitney Museum of American Art
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Multi-media artist, MacArthur Fellow
Michael Govan, Director of LACMA
Eleanor Heartney, author and Contributing Editor to Art in America and Artpress
Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor of art history at NYU, author of "Picasso and the Invention of Cubism"
Katya Kazakina, art writer, Bloomberg
Dodie Kazanjian, art writer, Vogue, curator, Gallery Met
Michael Korie, Librettist and lyricist for many musicals and operas including "Grey Gardens" and "Far from Heaven"
Julian Lethbridge, painter and drawer focused on abstract art
Christopher Lew, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
Sarah Lewis, Professor of Art History and Architecture & African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Adam Lindemann, contemporary art collector, art writer
Adam Lowe, Founder, Factum Arte
Richard Maltby, Jr. Tony-winning, Broadway director and lyricist
Francis Naumann, Independent scholar, curator and art dealer
Richard Olcott, Partner, Ennead Architects
Lonny Price, Broadway director, actor and writer; director of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill"
Rachel Rose, video artist
Scott Rothkopf, Chief Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
Kevin Salatino, Director of the Art Collections at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California
Jerry Saltz, Senior art critic, New York Magazine
Dana Schutz, artist, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award 2010
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American artist, works in drawing, painting, installations, performance and video, MacArthur Fellow
Xaviera Simmons, Artist
Susan Taylor, Director of New Orleans Museum of Art
Gary Tinterow, Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Jack Viertel, SVP of Jujamcyn Theaters
Deborah Willis, Chair, Department of Photography, NYU
David Yazbek, Emmy winner, Broadway composer and lyricist
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, HEALTH CARE, ENVIRONMENT
Frances Arnold, Prof. of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, Caltech
David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate, former Caltech President, one of the world's most influential biologists
Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, environmentalist, pro-nuclear power, de-extinction leader
Aaron Carroll, Vice Chair of Health Policy, Indian Univ., creator Healthcare Triage, Incidental Economist
Gilbert Castillo, Hyundai
Charles Elachi, Director NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, pioneer and leader in planetary exploration
Scott Fraser, USC Provost Professor, Keck School of Medicine and the Viterbi School of Engineering
Jim Fructhterman, CEO, Benetech
Bill Gross, Founder, Idealab
Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, Aspen Institute
Dina Katabi, Prof. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, MacArthur Fellow
John Kelly, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Solutions and Research, IBM
Paul Marks, President Emeritus, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT, co-author of "The Second Machine Age"
Howard Morgan, Venture Capitalist
Michael Moritz, Venture Capitalist
Siddhartha Mukherjee, Author, "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer"
Arati Prabhakar, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Gill Pratt, CEO, Toyota Research Institute
Marc Raibert, founder/CEO of Boston Dynamics, innovative robotics developer
Carlos Riva, CEO Poseidon Water
Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley
Gavin Schmidt, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Michael Shellenberger, environmental policy leader, co-founder of Breakthrough Institute
J.B. Straubel, Co-founder, Tesla
Alex Taylor, Senior Editor-at-large (ret.), Fortune magazine, has covered the auto industry for more than 30 years
Scott Tinker, Director of Bureau of Economic Geology, State Geologist of Texas
Kip Thorne, Caltech's Feynman Professor, helped confirm Einstein's 100-year-old gravitational wave theory
Harold Varmus, Lewis Thomas University Professor at Weill Cornell, Nobel Laureate
Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company
Gilbert Welch, Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth, author of "Less Medicine, More Health"