Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.

This spring members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Empire State College in New York will be studying Europe Since 1945. This study group will deal with the changes in Europe since 1945, in particular the reconstruction of Europe, social and political changes, the modernization of Europe, the diplomatic situation after the War, the Cold War, and the fall of Communism, and the movement for European economic union.

Contemporary Latin-American Literature was the title of a course given this past fall at the Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University of S. Florida in Sarasota/Manatee. This course looked at the work of Machado de Assis and Jorge Amado, two of the most famous novelists of Brazil. In particular the class studied Dom Casmurro and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands.

Members of the Adult Learning Institute at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, NY spent a recent lunch taking part in a program entitled Long Term care Insurance Education & Outreach Program. A staff person from the local Healthcare Consortium in collaboration with the Columbia County Office for the Aging helped members better understand this complex subject.

The Center for Continuing Adult Learning at Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta in New York offered members some interesting courses this fall. Among them was Those Who Peopled the Rural Landscapes of Frost’s New England. Participants considered to better understand either the persistence or the demise of the proto-typical character of those who are the rural inhabitants of late 19th to mid-20th century New England writers’ landscapes.

Wisdom Writings in the Old Testament is the title of a course being given at the Center for Learning in Retirement at Rock Valley College in Illinois. Four sessions will explore the Old Testament’s responses to challenging questions in its wisdom literature, the books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes.

Members of the Coastal Carolina Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in South Carolina studied South Carolina History: From the Mountains to the Sea. Enlightening newcomers and lifelong residents alike, this course taught the state’s geography, economics and culture from the early colonial period through the wars, storms and social upheavals that might have destroyed the Palmetto State, but instead strengthened the state. With Dr. Walter Edgar’s blessing, South Carolina: A History served as the class text.

Members of the Community Academy for Lifelong Learning in State College, PA offered a nice mix of fall classes. Among them was Foods in Historical Periods. Participants traveled to the late Medieval Mediterranean world for a taste of the history, culture and foods of Byzantium, Islam and Western Europe.

Members of the Encore Center for Lifelong Enrichment at North Carolina State University recently explored the subject of Consuming Biotechnology. The leader took participants on a tour of products that came from commercialization of biology, including genes, genetic information, cells, genetically engineered foods, biofuels, and industrial enzymes. The class discussed how companies come to patent their discoveries and some of the regulations on genetically engineered organisms and products.

During the spring semester, members of the Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning at Hodges University, Naples, FL will be taking a course entitled Viennese Operetta, The Gold and the Silver. This course will cover the two era of Viennese operetta, known as the Golden period (featuring the Strauss family) and the Silver period with Lehar and Kalman. This multimedia program will feature recordings and videos with a history of the development of the genre.

The Institute for Continuing Learning at Young Harris College in Georgia offered members a chance to study Unconstitutional Presidential Actions. Virtually all United States Presidents, especially the “Great” ones, have been guilty of committing “Unconstitutional Acts” during their terms of office, thereby violating the Oath, “to protect and defend the Constitution,” This course focused on a number of the more interesting and important actions by our Chief Executives that history has called into question.

Last fall the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bergen Community College in New Jersey offered the course Myanmar: The Golden Land. Members learned about this diverse nation of 55 million people as they examined ways to tear down the “Bamboo Curtain” through reconciliation, peace, and development approach from all factors and sectors.

Members of the Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education at Brooklyn College in New York were challenged this past fall to study some stimulating topics. Among them was Best American Short Stories. Members read and studied contemporary fiction as witness to American lives and dreams. The stories chosen mirrored our time, our concerns, our hopes and our interpersonal relations.

The Once and Future Middle Kingdom: A Survey of Chinese History was the title of a course given at Lagniappe Studies Unlimited/Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Louisiana State University this past fall. Participants surveyed Chinese history from ancient to modern times, with an emphasis on the communist period and current achievements and problems.

Learning in Retirement, Inc. at the University of Georgia in Athens is offering its members a chance to study The Fourth Estate in Three Easy Lessons. The term “Fourth Estate” refers to the press, both in its explicit capacity of advocacy and in its implicit ability to frame political issues. The term goes back at least to Thomas Carlyle in the first half of the 19th century. This course explores the complexity and variety of mass media in America in three sessions. The first session will focus on Media History from Gutenberg to Rupert Murdock; the second session look at the First Amendment and the Press; and the final session examines Journalism Ethics.

Soup, oh Glorious Soup!, is the name of a course that was offered to members of Lifelong Learning of Hilton Head, Island. Participants took an arm-chair round-the-world tour of the world’s soups. In the class they learned the history and folklore of soups, then got to prepare and enjoy them.

Members of the Lifelong Learning Institute, Inc. at Edison College in Punta Gorda, Florida took a course entitled Aviation Since the Wright Brothers. Participants took a fascinating journey through aviation history, from1899 to the present day age of space exploration. They also learned the roles of both private aviation and the military in the development of a modern aviation industry.

Members of the Lifetime Learning Institute, Northern Virginia Community College, in Annandale are taking a course this spring entitled The Peace Corps: The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love. They will learn about the history of the Peace Corps since its inception in 1961 to the present and watch a video of older volunteers serving in many different countries, and in different sectors. The leader has been a health education volunteer in Mali, West Africa.

Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement took some stimulating courses this past spring. Among them was Shostakovich: Mystery and Music. Dimitri Shostakovich is widely regarded as the greatest symphonist of the mid-20th century, and in 2006, the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth. Interest in his music has never been greater and the debate over the relationship of his music to the history of Stalinist Russia continues to rage, mostly among musicologists. His music is varied and extensive both in form, content and appeal. His life is partly mystery, as he revealed his innermost self to few. Participants explored the controversy surrounding Testimony, his memoirs as told to Solomon Volkov in 1979.

MSU for Seniors at Minnesota State University in Mankato offered some interesting courses over this last year. Among them was Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch. Each of us has developed rules to live by. Members came prepared to share their operating principles.

Members of the OLLI program at Duke University in North Carolina were treated to some stimulating courses this past year. Among them was Modern Arab Short Stories. Unlike literature of the West, which was an outgrowth of a pre-existing literature, Arabic fiction evolved by way of cultural contacts with the outside world. In this class members read and discussed short stories by a cross section of recently published Arab writers whose works gave them glimpses into Arab life and customs.

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Granite State College in New Hampshire were offered some exciting classes this past fall. Among them was Personal Styles: Why Do I At the Way I Do? This full-day program gave participants a chance to have fun, while learning about themselves and others. They took a Personal Styles Inventory, a self-scored “test” to help identify their own personal style preferences ad behaviors in daily life. After that the leader led a discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of each style, and how/what they could learn about themselves and each other.

This past fall, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor took part in a course entitled Ferment and Fanatics: The Anthropology of Social Unrest. This course looked at the many parallels in other times and various cultures, as a backdrop to the analysis of our own turbulent world.

Members of QUEST, a Community for Lifelong Learning in New York City took a course entitled Notorious Criminal Trials, this past fall. They studied in detail, from actual transcripts when available, some of the most important trials in history, ranging in time and place form 15th century France (Joan of Arc) to 20th century America (the Scottsboro Boys.) They examined each trial in its political, social and legal contexts, to determine the effect these factors might have had on the verdict and on its consequences.

Last fall, the Rose Institute for Life Long Learning in Ohio offered their members a chance to learn about the period From Solomon to the Babylonian Captivity. This was an exciting period of history. With a lack of organized religion, Israel was divided by civil wars. This was the era of Jezebel, who tried to kill all the true believers, and of Elijah the Prophet, who was one of the few to survive her wrath.






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