2024 Schedule - A Destination for Ideation | Asheville Ideas Fest

2024 Schedule

Inspiring Real Conversations

Welcome to Asheville Ideas Fest, where innovation meets inspiration! Over the course of our event, we're thrilled to present a lineup of dynamic speakers who will ignite your imagination and provoke thought on a wide range of topics. From award-winning creatives to visionary thought leaders, our speakers will captivate and challenge you with their insights and ideas. Get ready to be inspired, enlightened, and empowered at Asheville Ideas Fest!
Monday, June 17
6:00 pm8:00 pm
Welcome Reception with Live Music

Welcome to Asheville Ideas Fest! We start our week with a fantastic event hosted by Asheville's original craft brewery, Highland Brewing. Independent and family owned, since 1994. Highland Brewing Company carved the path for Asheville craft and proudly roots itself in North Carolina. In addition to enjoying the variety of craft brews, we will enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and live music.

Tuesday, June 18
Coffee Networking
8:30 am9:00 am
Coffee & Networking - Day 1

Join us for an energizing morning of coffee and networking! Connect with other attendees over freshly brewed coffee and delicious pastries. This start to our first full conference day offers the perfect opportunity to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere and get your day started off renewed. Don't miss out on the chance to exchange ideas, share experiences, and build valuable connections at this early morning connection.  See you there!

UNCA Chancellor opens Ideas Fest with a grand welcome to attendees
9:00 am9:15 am
Ideas Fest Welcome
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Dr. Kimberly van Noort (Chancellor, UNC Asheville)

On our first full conference day, Dr. Kimberly van Noort, Chancellor for UNC Asheville, will open up our day with brief remarks and a traditional Bulldog welcome.

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9:15 am10:00 am
Limiting Access to Books

Let’s Talk about Limiting Access to Books: Launching a National  Conversation about Protecting Children and Protecting our  Fundamental Freedoms

Networking with fellow attendees
10:00 am10:30 am
Networking Break

Time to take a break and expand your circle of influence at our networking session during the Fest! Fuel up with refreshments and snacks while engaging with fellow attendees from various geographies, backgrounds, and cultures. Exchange ideas and make valuable connections in a relaxed and welcoming environment. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

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10:30 am11:30 am
Dignity and Equity for Service Workers
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Katie Button - James Beard Award-Winning Chef, Dean Neff -James Beard Award-Nominated Chef, Leah Wong Ashburn - CEO of Highland Brewing

Join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion on 'Dignity and Equity for Service Workers.' Delve into crucial topics surrounding fair treatment, respect, and opportunities for those in the service industry. Our esteemed panelists will share insights, experiences, and strategies aimed at fostering a more equitable and dignified environment for service workers. From alternative wage models to promoting inclusive workplaces, this discussion promises to ignite meaningful dialogue and inspire actionable change. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of the conversation and contribute to a more equitable future for all.

Networking Break on Day 1 of Asheville Ideas Fest
11:30 am12:00 pm
Networking Break

Time to take another break and discuss the sessions you have just attended with your fellow attendees! Make sure to grab some refreshments and snacks and join in the valuable discussion happening during this break. Don't forget to grab some water and hydrate as the rest of the day plans on being just as engaging as this morning has been.

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12:00 pm1:00 pm
Homelessness is a Solvable Challenge
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Mandy Chapman Semple, Dr. Christopher Mills - Addiction Specialist

Join us for an enlightening panel discussion titled 'Homelessness: A Solvable Challenge.' Our expert panelists will explore innovative solutions, community initiatives, and policy approaches aimed at addressing homelessness. Through insightful dialogue and real-world examples, we'll uncover the potential pathways to effectively combat homelessness and create lasting change. Whether you're passionate about social justice, policy reform, or community empowerment, this discussion offers an opportunity to engage with key stakeholders and contribute to tangible solutions. Together, let's explore how we can work collaboratively to make homelessness a solvable challenge.

Lunch
1:00 pm2:15 pm
Lunch

Enjoy a fantastic lunch provided by one of Asheville's exceptional caterers.

Downtown Asheville sculpture at the heart of Pritchard Park.
2:15 pm4:15 pm
Elective Activities
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Day 1 Panelists

During this time, Asheville Ideas Fest will have a variety of activities for attendees to choose from including workshops with the morning's panelists to further explore deeper conversation about the topics discussed, activities provided by Explore Asheville or additional outdoor recreation.

Enjoy an evening reception with fellow attendees at First Baptist Church of Asheville
6:00 pm7:30 pm
Day 1 Reception

Join us for an enchanting evening reception at the historic First Baptist Church of Asheville. Enjoy amazing light hors d'oeuvres and beverages while mingling with fellow Ideas Fest attendees.

Headshot for Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Mayor of Atlanta.
7:30 pm8:30 pm
Spotlight on Leadership
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Keisha Lance Bottoms - Mayor of Atlanta in 2018-2022

Spotlight on Leadership: Navigating Unprecedented Challenges and Emerging Stronger

Embark on a transformative journey with our distinguished speaker, Keisha Lance Bottoms as she delves into the challenges and opportunities Americans have during this time of polarization in our country. With her insightful wisdom and years of public service, Keisha will empower us to navigate uncertainty with confidence and emerge stronger than ever before.

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8:30 pm9:00 pm
Reflections on Juneteenth
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9:00 pm9:30 pm
Evening Reception

Enjoy dessert and mocktails with fellow event goers and speakers

Wednesday, June 19
Coffee Break Day 2
8:30 am9:00 am
Coffee & Networking - Day 2

Start day 2 of Asheville Ideas Fest by starting your morning and connecting over a cup of coffee. Fuel up with freshly brewed coffee and delectable treats as you engage in meaningful conversations with fellow attendees. Whether you're looking to forge new partnerships, exchange ideas, or simply get your caffeine on, this coffee networking time offers the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate and build valuable connections.

9:00 am10:00 am
Live Taping of the Our State Book Club Podcast
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Wiley Cash - Bestselling author and Host of Our State book Club Podcast, Ron Rash - Bestselling author and guest

Experience the live taping of your favorite local podcast with your favorite bestselling authors Wiley Cash and Ron Rash.

Networking Break on Day 2
10:00 am10:30 am
Networking Break

Time to take a break and expand your circle of influence at our networking session during the Fest! Fuel up with refreshments and snacks while engaging with fellow attendees from various geographies, backgrounds, and cultures. Exchange ideas and make valuable connections in a relaxed and welcoming environment. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

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10:30 am11:30 am
Discovering America
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Natalie Baszile - Author and Filmmaker, Jay Leutze - Author of Stand Up That Mountain

Discover the hidden beauty of our vast country, from sea to shining sea.

Networking with Fellow attendees.
11:30 am12:00 pm
Networking Break

Time to take another break and spend some time reflecting on the discussions you have heard so far this day with fellow attendees. Enjoy a little downtime to connect with others on the topics of the day.

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12:00 pm1:00 pm
Preparing for a Graceful Exit
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Gail Harris - Creator and Host of PBS series Body & Soul, Greg Lathrop - Dying Care Specialist and Educator

Preparing for a Graceful Exit: What Death Can Teach Us About Living

Lunch provided at Asheville Ideas Fest
1:00 pm2:15 pm
Lunch

Enjoy a fantastic lunch provided by one of Asheville's exceptional caterers.

Experience Asheville during this elective activities time on Day 2 of the Fest.
2:15 pm4:15 pm
Elective Activities
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Day 2 Panelists

During this time, Asheville Ideas Fest will have a variety of activities for attendees to choose from including workshops with the morning's panelists to further explore deeper conversation about the topics discussed, activities provided by Explore Asheville or additional outdoor recreation.

Dr. Michio Kaku headshot
7:30 pm8:30 pm
Looking Beyond Our Galaxy
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist and Bestselling Author

Looking Beyond Our Galaxy: How the James Webb Space Telescope is Helping to Unravel the Mysteries of the Cosmos

The James Webb Space Telescope is an incredible tool that is helping us unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. This is an opportunity to learn about the latest findings from the telescope and how they are changing our understanding of the universe.

 

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8:30 pm9:30 pm
Evening Reception - Day 2

Engage with your fellow event goers over wine and dessert.

 

Thursday, June 20
Coffee and networking time for Day 3 of Asheville Ideas Fest.
8:30 am9:00 am
Coffee & Networking - Day 3

Its our last day at Asheville Ideas Fest. Start your day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea and get geared up for our last day discussing " House of Cards of Hallowed Halls?: Our Polarized Union and the Future of Democracy."  Today, we dive into the heart of contemporary political discourse with Ideas Fest. We will examine the polarized landscape of our union and explore the critical challenges facing democracy today. Engage in thought-provoking discussions about the structural, cultural, and societal factors shaping the future of our democratic institutions.

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9:00 am10:00 am
Free Speech on the College Campus
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Will Creeley - Legal Director at FIRE, Gina Lee-Olukoya - Director of Civic Life at Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Join us for a dynamic panel discussion on "Free Speech on the College Campus," where our panelists will discuss the complexities and nuances surrounding this crucial topic. Explore the intersection of academic freedom, diversity, and inclusivity as we examine the rights and responsibilities inherent in fostering a robust culture of free expression within educational institutions. From navigating controversial ideas to promoting respectful dialogue, this session will offer insights into how colleges can balance the principles of free speech with the imperative of creating safe and inclusive environments for all students and faculty.

Networking Break Day 3
10:00 am10:30 am
Networking Break

Time to take a break, stretch your legs and connect with fellow attendees. Discuss and exchange ideas about the panel discussion you just attended and reflect on your insights for that specific topic.

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10:30 am11:30 am
Technology and Democracy

Join us for a panel discussion on "Technology and Democracy," where our panelists will explore the intersection of digital innovation and democratic governance.

Networking Break #2 on Day 3
10:00 am10:30 am
Networking Break

Time to take another break to spend some time networking with your fellow attendees. Connect with others and review the ideas and points highlighted in the previous panel discussion you just attended. Reflect on the ideas and take away insights offered and how you can challenge your own mindsight regarding these issues.

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10:30 am11:30 am
Our First Presidential Election in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Engage in a profound dialogue as our distinguished panelists examine "The Greatest Threats to Democracy." From rising authoritarianism to the erosion of civil liberties, this discussion confronts the existential threats facing democratic governance in the 21st century. Explore the complexities of disinformation, polarization, and socioeconomic inequality, and delve into strategies for safeguarding democratic institutions and fostering civic resilience.

Networking Break #2 on Day 3
11:30 am12:00 pm
Networking Break

Time to take another break to spend some time networking with your fellow attendees. Connect with others and review the ideas and points highlighted in the previous panel discussion you just attended. Reflect on the ideas and take away insights offered and how you can challenge your own mindsight regarding these issues.

Dr. Heath Carter headshot
12:00 pm1:00 pm
At the Intersection of Religion and Democracy
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Dr. Celene Ibrahim - Author and Scholar of Islam, Rabbi Elan Babchuck, Dr. Heath Carter - Author and Associate Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary

Embark on a thought-provoking journey as our speakers delve into this profound topic that will examine the rich tapestry of beliefs, practices, and philosophies that shape our understanding of the divine and the sacred, and how those philosophies play into our foundational democratic principles. This session promises to inspire introspection, foster dialogue, and deepen our appreciation for the diverse ways in which humans seek connection to the divine and the transcendent.

Lunch outside on Day 3
1:00 pm2:15 pm
Lunch

Enjoy a fantastic lunch provided by one of Asheville's exceptional caterers.

Open afternoon to attend workshops or explore Asheville on Day 3
2:15 pm4:15 pm
Elective Activities
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Day 3 Panelists

During this time, Asheville Ideas Fest will have a variety of activities for attendees to choose from including workshops with the morning's panelists to further explore deeper conversation about the topics discussed, activities provided by Explore Asheville or additional outdoor recreation.

Closing Reception at the Grove Park Inn
6:00 pm7:00 pm
Closing Reception

Celebrate the culmination of three days of insightful discussion and meaningful connections at our closing reception. Join fellow attendees, speakers, and organizers as we reflect on the highlights and takeaways from this year's transformative Ideas Fest. Raise a glass to new friendships forged, ideas exchanged, and collaborations sparked. Enjoy delightful refreshments, music, and camaraderie as we close out this year's amazing event. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a first-time attendee, this gathering offers a final opportunity to network, unwind, and savor the memories created during our time together.

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7:00 pm7:45 pm
Live Taping of an Interview by Amna Nawaz
PANELISTS AND MODERATORS
Amna Nawaz, Co-Anchor, PBS News Hour

Join Amna Nawaz live for a taping of her impactful interviews with national elected officials who have a strong record of working across the aisle.

Sunset Concert
8:00 pm9:30 pm
Sunset Concert at the Grove Park Inn

Join us for our final event of the Fest, a sunset concert at the Grove Park Inn. Listen to amazing music as you watch the most spectacular sunset in the best viewing spot in town.

Register Now!

Find inspiration in Asheville, NC, one of America's great cities. We invite you to join us for Asheville Ideas Fest, a gathering of creative thinkers and doers.
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