Part conference, part festival, the Aspen Abu Dhabi Ideas Forum will feature a series of discussions on social, scientific, and technological advances that will shape our future, seeking answers to the following four questions:


Can we prevent a global ‘system shock’ and calm the ‘politics of anger’?

The past 30 years have brought unprecedented global connectedness and affluence – yet global cooperation and goodwill has rarely felt in such short supply. Reactions to globalisation – feelings of disenfranchisement, loss of identity, economic insecurity and resentment – have begun to shock the established order, with the rise of populism from the Philippines to the Netherlands. How can these ‘politics of anger’ be diffused and levels of global cooperation increased – before anger leads to unbridgeable division or, worse, conflict?


Can we govern our societies to target ‘all-in’ human welfare?

From economics to psychology to government, many have suggested that it is time for a new, 21st century answer to the question of measuring societies’ progress ‘beyond GDP’. The world needs more sophisticated and holistic approaches to the wellbeing of its citizens, on this argument. But which approaches, and how far can they take us?


Can we extend the healthy human lifespan by 20, 30, 40 years?

Advances in genetics, bioinformatics, microbiology, nanotechnology, tissue engineering and other fields are extending the healthy human lifespan. How far can and should this technology go? Will living over 100 years become a “new normal” by mid-century? What are the implications economically and for the way we live?


Can the human race live sustainably beyond Earth?

Serious efforts are underway to make sustaining human life in space for the long-term a reality. This next chapter in space exploration is a story of making technology more reliable and less expensive; establishing settlements through creativity and courage; surviving extreme and stressful environments. How and when will we overcome these and other challenges – to see sustained human settlements beyond earth?

Join us at the New York University Abu Dhabi campus from 4-5 March 2017.


With tolerance as a core value of Emirati heritage and culture, more than 200 nationalities now call the UAE home. This multiculturalism means there is a diverse range of world-class experiences and opportunities to suit any visitor – from the serene beauty of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the F1 action at Yas Marina Circuit.

A range of activities, showcasing the culture, hospitality and adventure that Abu Dhabi has to offer, will be organized exclusively for guests of the Aspen Abu Dhabi Ideas Forum.