UNDERSTANDING THE NEWS
A series of lecture/discussions. Each one is one hour and provides the background and information needed for greater understanding. The discussions will explain the current situation in one part of the world as well as consider US interests there and probable future course of events.
Timely topics can include:
*What happens when there is no government: Somalia
*The world’s longest running and bloodiest civil war: Congo Region
*The Kurds: people without a homeland fighting against Iraq and Turkey
*Palestine: is it hopeless?
*Make believe countries with real civil war: Syria and Lebanon
*India, Pakistan and Kashmir: why is Shangri La important to the USA
*Blood Diamonds: Sierra Leone, Liberia & West Africa.
*Caucuses region: Chechnya, Dagestan and Georgia. Why do they struggle against Moscow.
*Not all Buddhists are pacifists: Sri Lanka
*How many civil wars can one country have: Sudan, Darfur, South Sudan
VIEWING THE PRESENT THROUGH THE PAST
A series of one hour lecture/discussions on crucial and interesting topics:
*Understanding Islam: is Islam both a religion of peace and an instigator of terrorism and cruelty?
*Why the Vietnam War happened: why did the USA become involved after the French left Indo China?
*How the Greeks discovered rational thought: the beginnings of philosophy and science in classical Greece.
*Why WWI happened. In 1914 western civilization almost destroyed itself. After a century without a truly major war, why did Europe turn suicidal and much of the rest of the world follow.
*History of Disease: Where and when did deadly diseases attack humans. What does the future hold?
*A brief history of Medicine from the Ancient World to the modern.
*Everyday life in Rome. A discussion of how people actually lived during the early Empire. Toilets, food, clothing, slavery, sex, amusements, work, religion.
*Why the Atlantic Slave trade took place and its nature. Why were six million Africans brought to the western hemisphere as slaves in the eighteenth century? How and why were the victims gathered internally in Africa, where were they sent in America? When did slavery become a racist institution? How were Europeans and Euro Americans able to carry out the trade and why did they choose to do so?
*What the founding Fathers actually believed: Deism and the Enlightenment. The beliefs of the founding fathers of the USA have often been distorted in order to promote a particular contemporary political agenda. What did Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Washington really believe about religion and politics?
TWO HOUR STUDY AND DISCUSSIONS
The Confederate Soldier and the southern home front. This will be based on reading a collection of twenty-five or so letters sent to and from soldiers in the possession of the facilitator. The participants will read the letters and discuss them in context of the overall war. Includes the beginning of the war, defense of Richmond in 1862, Gettysburg, collapse of Confederate forces in 1865 and the difficulties of women coping on farms with no husband present.