UNCA hosts inaugural Asheville Ideas Fest, June 14-18

Press release from UNC Asheville:

UNC Asheville today announced the first-ever Asheville Ideas Fest (AIF) taking place June 14-18, 2022. The inaugural experience will take place on the campus of UNC Asheville and at key sites in our region, including Biltmore Estate, Grove Park Inn, and Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. The core programming of this inaugural event will be convening global thought leaders who have gathered in Asheville to focus on the most consequential issues of our time. For a schedule of events and to register for tickets, visit ashevilleideasfest.com.

The many talented speakers at Asheville Ideas Fest include Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS for CNN Worldwide and a bestselling author; Bill McKibben, environmentalist author and founder of 350.org; Jon Meacham, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Jason Mott, bestselling author and National Book Award Winner, just to name a few. In addition, several of our own UNC Asheville faculty will participate with other notable and influential leaders as panel respondents across a variety of themes and topics.

“As a nationally-recognized institution of higher education, UNC Asheville is inherently an environment where ideas can be shared, discussed and put into action,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. “The dynamic, thought-provoking and immersive experience at Asheville Idea Fest (AIF) will help ensure Asheville and Western North Carolina are recognized as innovative incubators of new concepts and fresh ideas that further complement our well-established reputation for vibrant arts, culture, culinary, literary and music scenes.”

With vital support from partners such as Explore Asheville, Asheville Ideas Fest is likely to become an Asheville tradition for decades to come.

“Explore Asheville is proud to partner with UNC Asheville, supporting the creation of Asheville Ideas Fest. This inaugural event promises to inspire, challenge and connect residents and visitors alike right here in Asheville, a place that has drawn creative and independent thinkers for generations,” said Vic Isley, president and CEO for Explore Asheville and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.

“UNC Asheville has been a long-time convener of national thought leaders and an economic driver in the community with an annual economic impact of more than $450 million,” said Asheville City Mayor Esther Manheimer. “In partnership with key collaborators, including Explore Asheville, the Asheville Ideas Fest will further deepen and broaden Asheville’s global reputation as a vibrant destination like no other.”

Asheville is a historic destination for intellectuals and thought leadership. It’s a location known nationally for its dynamic and eclectic arts, culture, music, culinary, literary and outdoor pursuits. In the last century, leaders in arts and industry – from Thomas Edison and Henry Ford to Nina Simone and F. Scott Fitzgerald – have spent productive time in Asheville as part of the city’s shared spirit of inspiration and innovation.

“We have planned an extraordinary inaugural program that includes distinguished authors who are honoring the region’s particularly potent literary history,” said Wiley Cash, NY Timesbest-selling novelist and UNC Asheville alumni author in residence. “Generations ago, the Cherokee gathered on this land to tell stories that taught listeners how to live, interact and mutually care for all relations. This summer, with the Asheville Ideas Fest, National Book Award writers Charles Frazier and Jason Mott along with bestselling historical novelist Elizabeth Kostova, among others, will join together to continue those stories.”

In addition to conversations and discussions with national thought leaders, Asheville Ideas Fest includes daily wellness and guided outdoor discovery activities, special receptions and dinners, and entertainment, including a concert featuring Grammy-winning guitarist and vocalist Graham Sharp of the Steep Canyon Rangers. Asheville Ideas Fest is also proud to welcome guests to attend a live taping of the Waters & Harvey Show, a nationally syndicated NPR program that explores the experiences of historically marginalized people and their communities.

“Asheville Ideas Fest is rooted in a commitment to our shared humanity, and the belief that seeing the world’s great challenges from new perspectives will drive positive change in our world,” said Brad Wilson, Asheville Ideas Fest advisory committee member and former Blue Cross Blue Shield NC president and CEO. “Guests will experience the diversity of thought that inspires us, the arts that lift us, the natural environment that challenges us, and the local cuisine and craft beverages that sustain us.”

Visit www.ashevilleideasfest.com for more details, including the schedule, speakers, ticket info, and more.

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