New Web Postings For May
Commerce Unseen
Global Climate Change
Hands Around the World
Intergenerational Program
IRP Studies Historiography
Summer Lecture Series
Topics in Geology
Winterim 2006 Well Attended

LLI News
LLI News for May

LLI Celebrations for May


Save the Date! The next New England/East Regional Conference will be held June 3-5, 2007. Sponsored by the SOAR program, the conference will be held at SUNY Potsdam in New York State. Stay tuned for many more details as they become available.

New York Congressman John Sweeney with Jo-Ellen Unger, Executive Director of the Academy for Learning in Retirement in Saratoga Springs, NY has drafted a resolution to present to the Congress to establish the first full week in September as national Lifelong Learning Week to "recognize seniors, their teachers, and the institutions and programs involved in lifelong learning."

Now, it's time for other lifelong learners to push this resolution forward. Please call your member of congress and ask him/her to cosponsor the resolution. Congressman Sweeney's office advises that congressmen respond best when asked by their constituents. When enough cosponsors are gathered the resolution will go forward. Please call today, so we will have this in place by September. Kudos to Jo-Ellen Unger for working to make this a reality.

Want to attract Boomers to your LLI? Make your program the place to be for entrepreneurial Boomers, when you offer the "Start Your Own Business At 50 And Beyond" workshop, newly introduced by Bizstaters, a business start-up training company specializing in the 50+ individual. Jeff Williams, chief coach and trainer for Bizstarters, helps participants answer the ten most commonly asked questions about starting a 50+ business. For more details about how this program can help your LLI, contact Jeff at or at 847-305-4626. Tell him you are an LLI with the Elderhostel Institute Network.

Beginning with the Fall 2006, U.S./Canada catalog Elderhostel is introducing a new rating system that describes the degree of physical activity involved in each and every program – from Active Outdoor to Liberal Arts and Service Learning. The new system contains six levels, with Level 1 posing the fewest physical demands – such as being able to handle your own baggage and carry a cafeteria tray – and Level 6 being the most challenging – for example, strenuous biking, mountaineering, backpacking and other athletic endeavors. This new listing is meant only as a guide to help you understand the physical demands of a program. Elderhostel welcomes all participants – especially those with disabilities – to contact them about their specific needs as early as possible in the registration process. They will work directly with the program provider to ensure that arrangements can be made, if they are not already in place, to accommodate accessibility challenges comfortably.

In 1950, Thelma Mielke was the only representative from Puerto Rico to the UN. Now aged 91, and a long-time QUEST (NY City) member, Thelma was a young diplomat when she became involved in the question of independence for this Caribbean Island, which has been a US territory since 1898. At that time, Thelma was attempting to encourage discussion of the subject by offering documents in support of the nationalist cause. She also wrote a letter to the then Secretary General of the UN, asking him to intervene in the repression of the Puerto Rican movement. From then on, her problems multiplied. Not only was she expelled from the UN, she was interrogated many times by the FBI. Finally, she was asked to appear before a Grand Jury, which found no wrongdoing on her part. Although Thelma says, “I didn’t do anything grand,” she has remained undaunted and has been active in many other causes throughout her lifetime.

Senior Learning Unlimited at the University of California Davis is giving their membership a chance to introduce a friend to the experience of taking an SLU course. For one class fee, the member and friend can be enrolled in selected classes – a 2-fer Special and an excellent way to boost membership.

This coming fall the Academy for Learning in Retirement at Empire State College in New York is giving members a chance to sponsor a brand new member and BOTH will receive a $10.000 reduction in their fall 2006 membership dues. There is no limit to how many new members may be recruited by a current member. Another creative idea for enticing new members to join!

This month the Academy for Learning in Retirement at Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, New York is holding its first ever, 4-hour long, all-member, Town Meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to find ways to increase membership without losing a sense of community and belonging, to enhance curriculum, to fulfill the needs of today’s older learner and to encourage all members to participate in the planning of the organization’s future. The theme of the Town Meeting is Celebrating the Past and Planning a Vision for the Future. The goal is to build a sense of community and ownership among the general membership. After a brief introduction, members will be meeting in small groups to discuss topics pertaining to the future of ALR. In every group there will be at least one founding member to share the history of the organization. All suggestions will be welcome and considered. Then everyone will meet in one large facilitated group to consider the suggestions and come up with a plan of action for the Academy.

The Furman University LIR in South Carolina has taken a unique approach to long range planning. In a program entitled “Strategic Planning: Creating Your Own Future in a Rapidly Changing World,” members will learn a dynamic strategic planning methodology which has direct application for themselves, family, communities and organizations. It will also give them hand-on participation in the FULIR strategic planning process. In a world characterized by rapidly changing conditions, greater competition, scarce funding, diverse needs, and increasingly higher standards of quality and excellence, FULIR must begin collectively to address the key issues affection their future. Students will study the issues, interact with other students, talk to key community stakeholders, learn about other successful programs, discuss their ideas, creatively look at the future, and help build FULIR into one of the finest Learning in Retirement program in the region. In addition to class time, students will also participate in surveys, interviews, research, special projects and group work.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of S. Maine in Portland has been collecting new tooth brushes, tooth paste and children’s vitamins for the children of the poorest of the poor who attend the Safe Passage School in Guatemala City. The Safe Passage Program is the Leadership Council’s Outreach project adopted as a year-long commitment by OLLI.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, is offering a two-part course this spring that looks at the interrelation of both law and religion as allies in response to violence. The first part will reflect primarily upon violence in international relations. It will include a survey of weapons of mass destruction and the response of religion and law. The course’s focus will extend beyond national conflicts to include extra-national violence such as terrorism. It will also examine civil wars and the particular problems of internal strife and the role of third parties.

Every wonder what people wore 2,000 years ago, or how rugs came to be made, or how fabrics are different today than they were in pioneer days? All of these questions and more were addressed in a series of classes on Fabrics at the Chemeketa Center for Learning in Retirement in Woodburn, Oregon this past spring. In addition to exploring these questions, participants took numerous field trips to find out the answers to many of these mysteries.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of S. Maine in Portland has a Tuesday morning lecture series called SAGE. It is open to the public and costs just $5. Topics have included Intersections of Biology, Religion and History - Emotions or Logic: What Makes the Best Decisions? - In Search of Beginnings, and Modern Trends in Jazz.

In A Nation by Design, published by Harvard University Press, Aristide Zolberg, from the New School University in New York, explores how American immigration policy from the colonial period to the present has been a tool of nation building. He argues that social and economic interest groups have manipulated immigration policy to serve their nationalist needs since the time of early American history. Zolberg profiles the shifting tides of opinion on immigration over the last few centuries, examining how business, labor unions, lobbies, and ideologues have influenced policy.

This summer, members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh will be examining the “Spiral Grain of the Universe.” The world is spiral all the way from the inside out. Spiral shape is used in a great variety of branches of science and applied disciplines, including archeology, architecture, art, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, botany, cosmology, chemistry, design, engineering, economics, genetics, history, hydrodynamics, instrumentation, mathematics, meditation, meteorology, music, mythology, philosophy, physics, religion, sociology, technology, etc. This highly interactive course will review a history of the development of the spiral concept of the universe and its use in various branches of science and applied disciplines. No special mathematics or science background is required.

Learning in Retirement, Inc. at the University of Georgia, Athens is holding their annual end-of-year barbeque this month. Members will enjoy some foot-tapping bluegrass music along with a delicious meal. A fitting conclusion to a very successful year!

U3A programs in the United Kingdom like to come together and undertake joint projects. For instance a group of programs in the greater London area met for 12 weeks to work with the Museum of Garden History. They developed information for visitors about the historical aspects of gardening, botanists, gardens, trails and poetry. In Northern Ireland a group of U3As worked with the Ulster Museum to develop three different projects about history, science and contemporary local artists.

Thanks to the Institute for Retired Professional in NY City for these recommendations.

On Matters Southern: Essays about Literature and Culture, 1964-2000, Marion Montgomery. Edited by Michael M. Jordan; forward by Eugene D. Genovese. The author discusses the importance of place in southern letters, the differences between southern and northern fiction, and pays tribute to Andrew Lytle, Madison Jones, M.E. Bradford, and Walker Percy.

Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film. Wesley A. Britton. The author discusses the history of espionage in literature, film, and other media, and examines the works of such authors and film directors as Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Paradigms of Paranoia: The Culture of Conspiracy in Contemporary American Fiction. Samuel Chase Coale. The author covers the works of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, Tim O'Brien, and Paul Auster.


An overview of the military draft in the United States from the American Revolution through the 1980s (when compulsory draft registration was instated). Includes a short bibliography. From the Houghton Mifflin Company.

Tells the story of the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum that immortalizes one man's love for his wife and the splendor of an era. Includes information on Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal, the Mughal dynasty, and architectural antecedents (Humayun's tomb, Akbar's tomb at Sikandra, Itimad-ud-Dualah), and explores the mystery surrounding its design. From the PBS site Treasures of the World.

The Erie Canal was the engineering marvel of the 19th Century. This is an account of its planning and development, including the initial idea from New York's then-Governor DeWitt Clinton, the canal's role in increasing commerce and westward migration, and its designation as a national heritage corridor. The site provides a link to a longer account of this history and to the music for the Erie Canal song. From the New York State Canal System.

A digital library of text and information about people, places and businesses from the medieval and early modern period. Searchable, or browsable by type of history (administrative, ecclesiastical, local, London, and parliamentary), place, or source. The site includes items such as a 1550 map of London and House of Commons journals from the 16th and 17th centuries. From the University of London.

This site records words as they enter and leave the English language. It focuses upon slang, jargon, and other niche categories which include new, foreign, hybrid, archaic, obsolete, and rare words. Special attention is paid to the lending and borrowing of words between the various Englishes and other languages. Browse or search entries such as "spizerinctum," "standfirst," and "fourwalling." From a lexicographer and editor of slang dictionaries.

That’s all for this month.
Nancy Merz Nordstrom, M.Ed.
Elderhostel Institute Network

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and the sweet serenity of books”




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