Aspen Public Radio
Published January 18, 2024 at 9:40 PM MST

The bestselling “The Bill of Obligations” is CMC’s Common Reader for 2024. The first event inspired by the book is a live virtual conversation between author Dr. Richard Haass and bestselling author Walter Isaacson on Jan. 29, moderated by NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly.

As America’s election season officially begins, Colorado Mountain College, Aspen Public Radio and Colorado’s PBS12 are presenting a nine-month series of nonpartisan community conversations, seminars and readings, inspired by CMC’s 2024 Common Reader book and New York Times bestseller, “The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens” by esteemed diplomat and bestselling author Dr. Richard Haass.

On Jan. 29, the series, titled “Rediscovering Common Ground” kicks off with a live virtual conversation from 12-1 p.m. mountain time between Haass and Walter Isaacson, internationally recognized author and historian. CMC’s Isaacson School of Communication, Arts and Media bears his name.
Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of National Public Radio’s award-winning afternoon news program All Things Considered, will moderate the event.

Common Reader

The framework to offer the “Rediscovering Common Ground” series was established 17 years ago with Colorado Mountain College’s Common Reader program. That’s when CMC began selecting a book each year for students, faculty, staff and community members to read. The college invited the book’s author to visit some or all of the college’s 11 campuses and discuss the book in an open forum.

This year, with the impending national election, the college chose a book that speaks to the discourse and divisions so prevalent throughout the country today. Those of every opinion and party are encouraged to join and participate in the series.

“On behalf of Colorado Mountain College and our partners in this series, we’re honored to have two esteemed thought leaders join us in our belief that Colorado’s Western Slope is a region where constructive dialogue and mutual respect can help bring us closer together,” said Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College.

“In ‘The Bill of Obligations,’ Richard Haass writes that our basic rights also come with responsibilities to the civic process and to each other,” continued Hauser. “How extraordinarily fortunate we are that our friend and historian Walter Isaacson will also help ground us in understanding how CMC’s 2024 Common Reader is so timely and important.”

Copies of “The Bill of Obligations” are currently available at all CMC campuses. Please check with your local campus about picking up a complimentary copy of the book.

About Haass and Isaacson

Dr. Richard Haass is a respected scholar of international relations. He is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, which he led for 20 years. An experienced policymaker, he served in the Pentagon, State Department and White House under four presidents, Democrat and Republican alike.

Walter Isaacson is an American author and professor. He has been the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, the chair and CEO of CNN, the editor of TIME Magazine and is the best-selling author of books about Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and many others.

For the opening virtual discussion on Jan. 29 from 12-1 p.m., participation is free; attendees are asked to register at Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Haass and Isaacson questions by submitting posts through Zoom during the event.

The video will be available following the live event by visiting