My name is Josue Lopez Calderon and I am a 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. Thank you Aspen Institute Trustees, festival patrons and past scholars because this experience would not have been possible without you.
The truth is, prior to receiving one of the best emails of my life (nomination/selection), I had never heard of the Aspen Ideas Festival. But after witnessing this grand phenomenon in person, I promise to raise awareness of your work.
I am a big believer in the power to convene and other than the White House, I had never seen an organization attract such a diverse group of global thought leaders until I met the Aspen Institute. Therefore I am writing this post to forever remember this week, to give thanks to you all and to promote among other young professionals so that someday they may participate in this once in a lifetime event.
Sunday June 28, 2015 Fest 1 Begins
I had three goals:
1) Find ways to collaborate with others on Baseball Diplomacy to address international health and education issues that at risk youth face every day.
2) Meet book authors and seek guidance on publishing.
3) Have fun and be a connector for my fellow scholars.
Thanks to Gordon, met with Jason Baron and Jackie Vanderbrug of U.S. Trust for lunch. They gave me great advice to make the most of this lifetime experience.
Met Josh Kaufman and he taught me how to learn anything fast. He also gave me advice on publishing my first book.
After dinner, it's movie time. "Cartel Land" is a must watch film about drugs and Mexico. Great job by Matthew Heineman. Had a chance to speak with him and we instantly connected on topic of baseball diplomacy. To be continued...
Monday June 29, 2015
Listened in on Ben Rhodes and Jeffrey Goldberg talk about "The Obama Doctrine: America's Role in a Complicated World".
Next I sat in on Kathy Sullivan and Andrew Revkin's chat on "Climate Clarity and Complexity".
Time for lunch at the Aspen Meadows Hotel with Daniel Lubetzky of KIND and Steve Clemons of the Atlantic for "Making Money, Making a Difference: Can the Twin Goals of Capitalism and Doing Good Work?". We instantly bonded over Latin America and the Middle East. We both share a passion for "triangulating" uncommon alliances through Diasporas. I invited him to speak at The National Press Club to speak on "Do the KIND Thing". To be continued as well.
Next went to Belly Up! Amazing venue to hear Marketplace Live with Robin Chase, Chris Daveport, Jose Ferreira, Ted Sarandos and Kai Ryssdal.
Next, made my way to Aaron Sorkin and Jeffrey Goldberg talk "What's Character Got to Do with it?". He spoke about character development as well as his new Steve Jobs film. This was easily the most attended session of the festival. This line says it all.
At the end of the Sorkin talk, I met Arianna Huffington and thanked her giving me a platform to share my voice through Huffpost. If it wasn't for my huffpost blog, I might not have launched The Baseball Foundation.
Tuesday June 30, 2015
Attended "The New Quantitave Journalism" session with Jordan Ellenberg and David Leonhardt. Had a chance to speak with Jordan in the Koch building and to my amazement I ran into my former colleague, friend and mentor John Oxtoby who gave me my first start in politics. It was a full circle moment for me. We agreed to convene the next day at the My Brother's Keeper session.
Soon after, I made my way to "Women and Work" with Erin Currier, Heather McGhee, Ai-jen Poo, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Deborah Clark. Before the talk began, I met a patron who recognized me from my question during the previous luncheon with Daniel Lubetzky. We connected and promised to stay in touch in DC.
I'm a big believer in the heforshe movement and was inspired by all points, especially Anne-Marie Slaugther's point that society must liberate men and let them know that it's ok to support spouse with care in lieu of cash. After the session, we connected on the issue of gender empowerment and sport for development.
Attended "Flying Car? Flying Ideas: The Future of Mobility" with Jim Lentz CEO of Toyota North America. He said that instead of ignoring and running away from the urban mobility trend set by Uber and Lyft, Toyota embraced it by offering incentives for uber drivers to buy Toyota vehicles. As a result, the number one car used by Uber drivers is a Prius.
Next, I went to the "Deep Dive: Get a Job Youth, Employment and the 21st Century Economy" with Michael Crow, John Fallon, Mitch Landrieu, Blair Taylor, Martin Walsh, Mark Warner, Melody Barnes and Amanda Ripley. Soon after I went to American Dream, "How Can the Private Sector Increase Economic Mobility?" with Chet Cadieux, Dave Dillon, Tom Fanning, Zeynep Ton, Mark Weinberger and Steve Clemons session.
They spoke about how to get young people working since our society preps students to get educated, but not to get a job. The panelists agreed that the easiest thing to teach young professionals is technical issues, not soft skills. Thus we need to provide hope and give folks a way to play offense.
I then went to "The Sound of Tomorrow: Cameron Carpenter in Conversation with Michael Eisner". He is an amazing organist, perhaps the best in the world. Funny enough, I heard him playing the night before in an empty Greenwald Pavillion and the only thing I could think was, if Cameron may be the Bach of my time.
To cap the day, I attended the "Disrupting Political Campaigns: Shifting Influence from the Money to the Many" session with Heather McGhee, John Pudner, Ben Rattray, Heather Smith, Lucas Welch and David Leonhardt. Spoke with Ben, Lucas who are amazing. John is a knowledgeable NBA analytics guy and runs the value add basketball site. We immediately bonded over sports. As a result of the talk, Lucas and Ben invited me to a night cap at the St. Regis.
There I met Ai-jen Poo, folks from AARP and a great guy by the name of Alex, whom randomly sat down next to me.
At the moment, no one knew who he was, thus I struck a conversation with him. He said he was in Aspen for an energy conference and we spoke about sports and baseball diplomacy. He's an avid sports fan. In the end we exchanged contact information and promised to keep in touch. Towards the end of the night, someone later told me that Alex was Alex Laskey the founder of a company called O-Power. I thought Alex's introduction was quite refreshing because it conditions you to care about the person and not about what he or she does for a living.
Wednesday July 1, 2015
Woke up, ate breakfast, took a jog and immediately went to the "Forward from Ferguson: I am My Brother's Keeper" session with Joseph Echevarria, Angela Glover Blackwell, Broderick Johnson and Stephen Patrick.
This meant a great deal to me, because when I graduated from UCLA in 2010, not many months removed from the Great Recession, I had no job prospects, but thanks to my study abroad experience and much help from John Oxtoby and Chairman Paul Volcker's Chief of Staff at the time Tony Dowd and now one of the founder of the Volcker Alliance, I was given a chance. You see, they were my keeper and as a result, everything that I am to date I owe to them. Therefore, I am a believer in opening doors for the next generation because it's not about me but we. Thus, I am personally taking the challenge to help domestic and international youth achieve their dreams through baseball.
Next I attended a special lunch with Shell about mobility.
Next I attended a session with Elizabeth Alexander, Cameron Carpenter, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Brian Greene, Isaac Herzog, Gwen Ifill, Valerie Jarrett, David Petraeus, Paul Ryan, Peter Thiel, David Bradley, Jeffrey Goldberg, Walter Isaacson and William Kristol.
At the end of Peter Thiel's talk, I followed him to his car to let him that had his fellowship been around when I was at UCLA I would have gone all in and pursued my passion of baseball diplomacy.
Later that evening I attended "Advice from Women Who Lead" featuring Raney Aronson-Rath, Rebecca Blumenstein, Robin Chase, Amy Cuddy, Vicky Dinges, Fiona Hill, Leila Jana, Hannah Jones, Andrea Kates, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Sochua Mu, Alyse Nelson, Latondra Newton, Michele Norris, Jacqueline Novogratz, Ai-jen Poo, Karla Ruiz Cofino, Shiza Shahid, Bina Benkataraman and Pamela Reeves. It was riveting, exhilarating and quite moving. I have never been a to an Oprah Show, but I can only imagine that it might have been something like this session.
Soon after the session was over, I went up to Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Fiona Hill, Shiza Shahid and Andrea Kates to tell them that I was really moved. Fiona was so nice to me and even introduced me to Hannah Jones of Nike so that we could talk about our work with Baseball Diplomacy.
Thursday July 2, 2015
Test drove the i-Road. Incredible.
Met the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, and spoke to him about our Baseball Diplomacy NGO. He was very intrigued.
Spoke with Ricardo Salinas about Baseball Diplomacy in Mexico. To be continued...
Friday July 3rd 2015
Flew back and shared a flight with Congressman Paul Ryan. He loves reading articles about finance and budgets.
I have had some very unique opportunities to serve in the U.N and the U.S. Federal Government, but getting there wasn't very easy; therefore, I want to share my story in hopes of inspiring other young individuals to consider entrepreneurship or public service during a time of much need.