Asheville Ideas Fest offers ‘intellectual vacation’ - A Destination for Ideation | Asheville Ideas Fest

Asheville Ideas Fest offers ‘intellectual vacation’

North State JournalAbby Cavenaugh, ,

“It’s something I refer to as an intellectual vacation,” said the event’s co-founder and executive director, Kirk Swenson. “We try to get people thinking about the biggest issues of the day and then spoil the hell out of them.”

Previous speakers at the Ideas Fest include Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN; PBS News Hour Co-Anchor Amna Nawaz; author and Newberry Award winner Kwame Alexander; Kizzmekia Corbett, a lead researcher at the National Institutes for Health Vaccine Research Center; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham; Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times; and many more.

The idea behind the event is to offer thought leaders speaking on topics about which everyone may not agree. But at Asheville Ideas Fest, the disagreements don’t devolve into shouting matches or arguments; rather, it’s more of a civil discourse.

“When you disagree about something,” Swenson explained, “you might get mad, but then you could ask, ‘What is it that makes you see this differently?’ It’s better than immediately thinking someone’s a moron because they disagree with you.”

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