2018 Spring Lecture Series

IMPORTANT information

TIME: 1:30 - 2:30 pm

LOCATION: This semester, all lectures are held in the Spring Valley Building, 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Room 601 on the Sixth Floor.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: Room 601 holds 120 people.

  • Reservations are required on Eventbrite.
  • Registration for members opens at 8:30 am on TUESDAY of the week preceding the lecture. An email is sent to members at that time containing a link for registration.
  • If the lecture is not full by 8:30 am on THURSDAY of the preceding week, registration for the public opens. An email is sent to nonmembers at that time containing a link for registration.
  • Your name must be on OLLI's Eventbrite list to enter the lecture. You do not need to bring your ticket to be admitted.
  • You must be seated five minutes before the lecture begins to guarantee your seat. Five minutes before the lecture begins, empty seats are given to individuals on the waitlist.

SPring 2018 Lectures

March 9, 2018—Hunter Rawlings
American Universities: Some Questions and Answers

Why are American universities by far the best in the world? What makes them, as a group, so strong that the world beats a path to them? How can they be so good when our K-12 system is so mediocre? To what extent do universities’ controversies—speaker bans, high tuition, athletic scandals—do irreparable damage? Why is the contribution research universities make to the American economy so little appreciated? Why study arts and humanities when students and their parents worry about students getting jobs and paying off college loans?
Hunter R. Rawlings III recently served as interim president of Cornell University, his third turn as its leader. He has been president of the Association of American Universities, Associate Vice Chancellor for Instruction at the University of Colorado at Boulder, chair of the Ivy Council of Presidents, and chair of numerous boards. Rawlings graduated from Haverford College and received his PhD, in Classics, from Princeton University.

March 16, 2018—Bruce Fein
Today: The Best of Times for Presidential Wars; The Worse of Times for Liberty

The Constitution is explicit: Congress shall have ... Power To declare War. Conservative scholar and lawyer Bruce Fein says that at least since 1950, Congress has meekly surrendered the war-making power to the president, “with disastrous results.” He has written on unchecked executive power and constitutional crises in his books, Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy and American Empire Before the Fall.
Bruce Fein has served as associate deputy attorney general of the US Department of Justice, general counsel to the FCC, and counsel to the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran. Fein appears on national and international radio and television. He assisted in the impeachments of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, and drafted articles of impeachment against Presidents Bush and Obama for initiating wars or illegal warrantless surveillance in violation of the Declare War Clause or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

March 23, 2018—Deborah F. Rutter
A Living Memorial and 21st Century Arts Center

Deborah F. Rutter is considered one of the most influential arts administrators in the nation. As president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Rutter is artistic and administrative director of the world's busiest performing arts center, managing all Center events—theater, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, jazz, contemporary music, hip hop, and comedy—and the Center’s affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. The Center’s arts education programs reach millions of people of all ages each year and include VSA, the international organization on arts and disability.
Deborah Rutter is the third president of the Kennedy Center. She is overseeing the Kennedy Center Expansion, which broke ground in 2014, during her first year. The expansion is intended to create new and open rehearsal, dedicated education, and flexible indoor and outdoor event and performance spaces, as well as to allow visitors to more actively engage with artists.

March 30—Azar Nafisi
Reading Lolita in Tehran and America

Azar Nafisi is the critically acclaimed author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, a long-running #1 New York Times bestseller published in thirty-two languages, and Things I’ve Been Silent About, also a New York Times bestseller.
Azar Nafisi is a fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She was born in Tehran, the daughter of Nezhat and Ahmad Nafisi, who served as mayor of Tehran. Educated in Iran, England, Switzerland, and the United States, Nafisi taught at Tehran University and later at Allemeh Tabatabai University. She was a visiting fellow at Oxford University, teaching about the interactions between Western and Iranian culture. Nafisi has earned international recognition for advocating on behalf of Iran's intellectuals, youth, and, especially, women. She has a PhD in English literature from the University of Oklahoma.

April 6—Anthony A. Williams
Washington: Past, Present, and Future

Tony Williams, the former Mayor of Washington, DC (1999–2007), is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Federal City Council, an organization focusing the talents of Washington’s business and professional leaders on major opportunities and problems facing the District. He is widely credited with leading the comeback of Washington, DC, during his two terms as Mayor, restoring the finances of the nation’s capital, and improving the performance of government agencies, all while lowering taxes and investing in infrastructure and human services.
Tony Williams is a Senior Advisor at King and Spalding LLP. He serves on several boards, including the Urban Institute and National Geographic Society. Previously, he led the Global Government Practice at the Corporate Executive Board and taught at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Before being elected Mayor, he was DC’s Chief Financial Officer, working with local officials, the DC Financial Control Board, and the US Congress. He has worked in federal, state, and local government. Williams holds a BA from Yale, an MPP from the Kennedy School, and a JD from Harvard Law School.

April 20,2018—Gail Kern Paster
“My” First Folios

What is it like to be the keeper of 82 copies of one of the world's most revered books—Shakespeare's First Folio? In this talk, Gail Kern Paster, Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will share stories of adventures, triumphs, and near-disasters from her nine years as steward of the world's largest Shakespeare collection.
Gail Kern Paster directed the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, from 2002 until 2011. She also served as Editor of the Shakespeare Quarterly, Professor of English at GWU, and President of the Shakespeare Association of America. She earned a BA at Smith College and a PhD at Yale University, and holds two honorary degrees. Paster has won many national awards and fellowships, including from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Endowment from the Humanities, and the Mellon Foundation. She sits on the governing board of the Folger Shakespeare Library. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II honored Paster as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

April 27—Alice Rogoff
The Arctic: Why It Matters

If global warming has a ground zero, Alice Rogoff believes it is Alaska. Global warming is happening twice as fast in Alaska as in the lower 48 states. Glaciers are melting at record speeds, the sea level is rising, and coastlines are retreating, causing villages perched on the ocean’s edges to become flooded and uninhabitable. In addition, expanded shipping channels are opening and China is announcing plans to build a Polar Silk Road. Rogoff, who has been active in Alaskan affairs for nearly a quarter century, will describe why polar issues have become her—and our—urgent priority.
Alice Rogoff is an American publisher, business executive, philanthropist, and arts patron. She has been assistant to the director of the OMB and to the chairman of The Washington Post. After serving as CFO of U.S. News and World Report, she became active in publishing in Alaska. Rogoff is a licensed pilot who travels widely in Alaska. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Why We Are Using Eventbrite
We have been having overflow crowds at many of our lectures. Due to fire code, we have to limit the number of people who can attend lectures. Rather than turn people away at the door,  we have decided to use Eventbrite, which is a free, widely used event-management website and app. Please take the time to read the directions below thoroughly.

How to Use Eventbrite

  1. When you receive the email announcing the lectures, click on the Eventbrite link below the lecture description. That will take you to the Eventbrite page for the lecture.

  2. On the Eventbrite lecture page, click on the green "REGISTER" button on the lower right.

  3. A pop-up window with the lecture name will appear. Select 1 ticket. Click on the green "CHECKOUT" button.

  4. You will have 8 minutes to finish your registration. Enter your first name, last name, email address, and confirm your email address. Click on the green "Complete Registration" button. A confirmation screen wlll appear and you will receive an email with your ticket(s). You are done.

You do not need to bring your ticket to the door. We will have a list at the door of individuals with reservations.


OLLI does not endorse any of the viewpoints expressed by the speakers in its series.


We thank the Lecture Committee and all those who suggested and contacted speakers:
Paul Brown, Lew Cohen, Martha Cutts, Chuck Edson, Judith Havemann (Chair), Tina Fried Heller, Lynne Heneson, Jeanne Kent, Mary Fran Miklitsch, Stan Newman, Diane Renfroe, Richard Ringell, and Steve Sherman.