Chicago Ideas Week Announces Events and Featured Speakers for 2014 Weeklong ideas platform will host over 150 speakers including journalist Nicholas Kristof, country music star Naomi Judd and actress Joan Cusack

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The fourth annual Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), taking place October 13-19, 2014, will bring together more than 150 globally renowned speakers, including A-list actors, distinguished entrepreneurs, tech moguls, politicians, sports figures and other individuals who are changing the world. Some of the diverse speakers taking the CIW stage this year include actress Joan Cusack, "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory, country music star Naomi Judd, journalist Nicholas Kristof, entrepreneur Peter Thiel and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas.

"Chicago Ideas Week is the world's most accessible platform for ideas and innovation," CIW Founder Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon and Lightbank, said. "With this year's diverse lineup of business, political and social leaders, CIW will spark community-driven, intellectual conversations and inspire attendees and speakers alike to turn ideas into action."

Chaired by Keywell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Groupon Co-Founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky, the weeklong ideas platform features 21 90-minute Talks and 2 Summits during which speakers share insights on topics that range from politics, business and sports to pop culture, the brain and death. CIW also holds nearly 100 hands-on Labs across the city that provide attendees behind-the-scenes looks at some of Chicago's most innovative organizations and businesses, including an inside peek at the CTA control room, a workshop on the art of coffee roasting at Bowtruss Coffee and a design session with BucketFeet shoe's creative team.  Most events are open to the public with the purchase of a $15 ticket.

"We're proud to welcome global leaders to experience our city," Emanuel said. "This event not only showcases our city's vibrancy and diversity, but also encourages new initiatives and ventures while fostering a rich community of people who have the power to achieve great things."

Central to CIW's focus on fostering innovation and collaboration is the Future Global Leaders Summit, taking place Tuesday, October 14 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The half-day Summit, which premieres this year, will gather the most thought-provoking social leaders, 35 years or younger, to connect and inspire. Vargas will join jazz musician Jon Batiste, former child soldier and human rights proponent Ishmael Beah, Liberty in North Korea's Hannah Song and Harvard Lampoon president Alexis Wilkinson, among many others.

"The Future Global Leaders Summit will share the next generation of ideas changing our world for the better," CIW Executive Director Jessica Malkin said. "The Summit fits into the CIW tradition of connecting young members of our community to new opportunities, including the CIW YOU(th) program for Chicago Public Schools students and the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship that we award to several young social entrepreneurs each year." 

In addition to the Future Global Leaders Summit, CIW will host a half-day Tech Summit and the full-day Edison Talks, an invitation-only, daylong series of Talks centered around a single theme.  This year, boundary-pushing leaders will discuss how they work on the "Edges" of their professions and society.

For a comprehensive list and descriptions of CIW Talks, Labs and Summits, please visit Tickets will be available for purchase by CIW members August 18; general tickets will go on sale September 2. To become a CIW member and enjoy exclusive access, advanced tickets, insider invitations and more, visit

CIW is generously supported by Cornerstone Partners Ernst & Young LLP, Sterling Partners, Keywell Foundation,and Liz and Eric Lefkofsky; Edison Talks Partner U.S. Trust; Official Creative Partner Leo Burnett; Official Integrated Marketing Partner Starcom MediaVest Group; Official Communications Partner Edelman; Platinum Partners The Chicago Community Trust and Illinois Office of Tourism; Official Hotel Partner Hyatt; Official Technology Partner Table XI; and Official Travel Partner Orbitz for Business.

Media Partners at Chicago Ideas Week include ABC 7 Chicago, Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation, Crain's Chicago Business, WBEZ 91.5, Univision, Fusion and Niche Media.

CIW 2014 Talk Topics


The Brain


Creative Process





Places & Spaces




Pop Culture



The Future of Business












CIW Lab Host Highlights


Academy for Global Citizenship

City Winery

Bowtruss Coffee

Columbia College Fashion Studies



CTA: Chicago Transit Authority

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital

Catalyst Chicago

Midnight Circus

Chicago Botanic Garden

Rhine Distillery

City Year

Startup Institute





CIW 2014 Signature Events

Future Global Leaders Summit

Tech Summit

Edison Talks: EDGES

About Chicago Ideas Week
Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is a 501(c)(3) organization. CIW is a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders created to drive ideas into actionable results. It is a platform for ideas, created for innovators, thinkers, doers and interested citizens from across Chicago, the greater Midwest and the world. Its goal is to stimulate new initiatives and ventures, create new connections and collaborations and establish a community of people who have the desire to achieve great things. For more information, please visit and follow Chicago Ideas on Facebook and Twitter via @chicagoideas.

Media Contacts
Jessica Malkin
Executive Director, Chicago Ideas Week

Brianna Huy
Director of Media Relations, Chicago Ideas Week

SOURCE Chicago Ideas Week


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