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Vail Symposium kicks off season Tuesday

Daily staff reportnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Heading into its 40th anniversary celebration, the Vail Symposium is presenting 25 programs during the winter of 2011. “We have worked hard to bring the community a season that is worthy of our past 40 years, while being a window into the possibilities of the next 40,” said the Symposium’s Executive Director, Liana Moore. “We hope that our programs will impact attendee’s lives in a positive way, or even inspire community members to make a difference.”Created in 1971, the Vail Symposium was conceived by community leaders to be a forum for discussions to help create a vision for the community. The weekend-long think tank attracted not only the majority of townsfolk, but also policy shapers from across the state and nation. Throughout the years the Symposium has diversified and expanded its scope with a dedication to timely, thought-provoking programs that have relevance to the community and world, Moore said. This season’s lineup reflects that mission, with provocative programs focusing on hot topics such as finance, space and U.S. national security, the rise of China and bringing the Olympics to Colorado, as well as the return of the Unlimited Adventure and Film series, and the debut of “Signature Symposium Programs.”

On Jan. 16 the Vail Symposium will present the first of its Signature Symposium Programs, a discussion of the critical economic issues facing America today and how to address them. The program will be led by two of the top economic forces in America today, David Walker, United States Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008, currently the founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative and Andrew Tisch, co-chairman of the board of Loews Corporation. Richard Bard, president and CEO of Bard Capital Partners, LLC. will moderate the discussion. “Hosting Andrew Tisch and David Walker together for the Vail Symposium in 2011 is akin to having John D. Rockefeller and Andrew W. Mellon together in 1931,” said Vail Symposium President and CEO Alby Segall. “A great American capitalist and a great American economist together again.”On March 22 the Vail Symposium will present its second Signature Symposium program, a panel discussion addressing whether to have the Winter Olympics in Colorado, a topic that both unites and divides the Centennial State. Denver was awarded the Olympic bid in 1976 and is the only city to ever win and turn down the games. Proponents argue that the Olympics may bring infrastructure improvements and a much-needed economic boost, while opponents question cost and environmental impact. Join British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, Former Governor Richard Lamm and Steve McConahey in a conversation about whether Colorado should pursue a bid for the Olympic Games. “In order to once again have the Winter Olympics awarded to Colorado, the IOC is going to have to be convinced that the people of Colorado want and will support having the Winter Olympics here,” said Vail Symposium Chairman Jim Ruh. “Thus, we need to have a public discourse on this issue now, not later. What better way to start that public discourse than with this panel?”For complete program information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.vailsymposium.org or call 970-476-0954.

The Vail Symposium’s International Affairs series will address current events happening in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This season’s speakers include Jamie Metzl (Dec. 28), executive vice president of the Asia Society, Notre Dame Professor Lionel M. Jensen (Jan. 14), and Roxana Saberi (, freelance journalist in Tehran and contributor to NPR and ABC Radio. As a part of this series you can also join the Symposium for two thought-provoking panel discussions. The “Afghanistan in the Balance” panel (Jan. 31) – with journalist and author Gretchen Peters, Afghanistan business operator Jim Frasche and ABC News Correspondent Mike Boettcher – will address options for that country’s future and the wider strategic picture in central Asia. The second panel, “The future of Post Colonial Africa,” (Feb. 23) features Africa expert Malcolm Ainscough who grew up in Zimbabwe and Liberian-born Gerald Padmore, a natural resources attorney and former Liberian government official.



The Symposium’s most recognizable series, Hot Topics, features experts who speak about issues relevant to our community and the world. In addition to two “Signature Programs,” which are both Hot Topics, events include “Space and U.S. National Security” (April 12) with Peter Teets, former Under Secretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office and Roger Harrison, current director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies.

In the “Arts & Culture” category, attendees have the option to enjoy a stellar performance from the a capella group, The Yale Alley Cats (Jan. 1) a discussion on “end times” between a Buddhist monk, a Christian theologian, a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam (Feb. 11) and the creative discourse of Norwegian artist Vebjrn Sand (March 28).



The Speaking Locally discussions highlight the experiences, talents and passions of community members in our region. This “by the locals, for the locals” approach allows The Vail Symposium to shine the spotlight on fascinating people who live here. Experience the beauty of the wilderness through the classic photography of Tony Newlin (Feb. 3), amazing exploits from the great outdoorsman Tred Barta (April 5), and challenging kayak adventures in Tibet with Jason Salween (Jan. 6).

Designed to provoke thought, the Symposium’s films focus on current issues and introduce audiences to other cultures and experiences. This season’s series includes the final film in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and two documentary films. “Waiting for Superman” explores America’s public education system, which was once the best in the world. “Gasland” examines what comes out of the ground with “natural” gas and how it affects our air and drinking water. Both presentations are accompanied by discussions led by film makers, experts and others.

The eighth season of Unlimited Adventure returns for six Thursdays this winter. Adventurers include men and women who dive for pirate ships, capture crab fishing on the high seas, ski the biggest mountains, protect prides of lions, pursue adventures beyond exploration and ski mountains in the bottom of the world. Join the Symposium and Vail Public Library for presentations by adventurers Barry Clifford, Cameron Glendenning, Chris Anthony, Leela Hazzah, Majka Burkhardt and Chris Davenport.


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