OLLI Mason lectures

Posted on 12/06/21

View recordings of previous OLLI Mason lectures below.

NASA’s Moon To Mars Program of Planetary Exploration: Science Update
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NASA’s Artemis program will land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface by 2024, and many activities are going full speed to accomplish that goal. In addition, the Mars program of robotic exploration continues with the scheduled landing of the Perseverance rover—carrying the Ingenuity helicopter—at Jezero Crater in February 2021. The latest science news from these and other ongoing NASA efforts was presented in this lecture.

NASA Deputy Chief Scientist David Draper is an earth and planetary scientist with 28 years of professional experience in studying the earth, moon, planets, and solar system.

The Art of Piano Performance during Covid
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Outstanding piano artists from around the world -- masters and doctoral candidates at George Mason University -- performed exciting masterworks of the Classical Piano Repertoire. 

Dr. Linda Apple Monson, International Steinway Artist, serves as director of the Dewberry School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University where she is a university distinguished service professor.

Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free Black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home. Their ordeal—an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away from their families thousands of legally free African Americans in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.

Dr. Richard Bell is a professor of history at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home.

Pandemics Past, Present and Future—Can We Achieve Global Health Security?
Monday, May 3, 2021

This lecture reviewed the lessons learned from past pandemics and highlighted what more needs to be done on a global basis to ensure the world is better prepared for future international public health emergencies.

Ambassador John Lange had a distinguished 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the US Department of State, where he was a pioneer in the field of global health diplomacy and a leader in pandemic preparedness and response.

He Died as He Lived: The Death of George Washington
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Always aware that he was “on stage,” George Washington did not only want to live with honor but he desired to die with honor as well. The manner in which he faced his final debt to nature tells us much about the man as we focus on his inspirational best way to live—and die.

Dr. Peter Henriques received his PhD in history from the University of Virginia and is professor of history emeritus at George Mason University.

Current State of U.S.-Mexico Relations
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Dr. Correa-Cabrera talks about the main challenges that are present in the United States-Mexico relationship today, focusing on the topics of immigration, border security, trade and anti-narcotics cooperation in particular.

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera is Associate Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

The American Revolution: More to the Story Than You Learned in School
Tuesday, July 6, 2021

This presentation examined multiple topics and personalities such as the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's ride, Benedict Arnold and the Battle of Valcour Island, providing the story behind the story, placing them in context, and correcting misconceptions, which will enhance and perhaps even change one's understanding of what occurred.

Blane Ampthor is a federal government employee with more than 35 years of service. A Philadelphia native, he has had a lifelong interest in history - particularly World War II, ocean liners and the American Revolution.

Political Religion: the First 100 Years
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

This lecture surveyed Voegelin's idea with its original references to fascism, Nazism, and Bolshevism, but also with updates and additions concerning Antifa, MAGA, European populism, and other contemporary political ideologies in the West that have successfully appropriated religious sensibilities for their partisan purposes.

Mark R. Royce is Assistant Professor of political science at Northern Virginia Community College and author of The Political Theology of European Integration: Comparing the Influence of Religious Histories on European Policies

The Mayflower: The Story of an American Icon
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Mayflower is a beloved icon of American history, but we know surprisingly little about the ship itself. This lecture examined the Mayflower’s place in the development of sailing ships and the historical sources about her and her famous voyage. 

Peter Ansoff is an OLLI member who recently retired from a career as a support contractor for the US Navy, specializing in ship acquisition logistics.

Media, Politics and Democracy -- From the US Colonial Days, to the 2020 Elections and the January 6, 2021 Insurrection
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This lecture explored the expanding contemporary context of free speech beyond newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, into the realm of social media, websites and digital platforms.

Kathleen Burns has been an OLLI lecturer and contributor since 2009.

The Voice of America: Countering Disinformation Since 1942
Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Voice of America, headquartered in Washington, has evolved from a shortwave radio broadcaster that began with World War Two German and Japanese language transmissions into a multimedia entity with 47 language service. Its White House bureau chief, Steve Herman, guides us through the decades and explain how the U.S. government operation effectively counters hostile propaganda and tries to fill the information gap in strategic regions of the world which are underserved or where governments prevent objective reporting.

Steve Herman is a veteran news correspondent for the Voice of America (VOA), having reported from dozens of countries. He served as a VOA bureau chief at the State Department and the White House. He frequently appears on radio and TV news channels around the world to discuss US political affairs.

Motion Picture Movie Scores
Monday, Nov. 15, 2021

Violinist Ben Powell discusses his career as a professional recording musician in the studios of Hollywood. Ben explains the transformation of film music from the orchestral days of Bernard Herrman to today’s incorporation of technology and home studio recording. Learn how a movie score is conceived, scored & recorded through the varied methods of approach now available to the modern-day film composer.

Ben Powell is one of the most versatile young violinists of his generation. His career spans genres of music from classical and jazz to film music. He has performed on over 200 major motion picture sound tracks such as The Lion King (2019), Dunkirk (2017), The Pirates of the Caribbean (2018) and Hillbilly Elegy (2020). Please visit www.ben-powell.com for more information.

Berlin 1989: The Year the Wall Came Down
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

This illustrated lecture examines the Cold War phenomenon of the Berlin Wall, its building and subsequent dismantling.

Vera Wentworth, an OLLI member, holds a PhD in English and taught literature on the college level for 30 years, mainly at the University of Maryland and Prince George’s Community College. A native Berliner, she witnessed the building and dismantling of the Wall.

The Power of Hope
Monday, Nov. 29, 2021

As we prepare for all of our Holidays this time of year, Rabbi Aft discusses the power of a little light to spark hope.

Rabbi Bruce Aft, currently Rabbi Emeritus, served as the spiritual leader at Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield, Virginia, for 29 years.

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