Lecture Series Overview

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We hold four Lecture Series each year. During the fall and spring semesters, lectures are one-hour long and are held Friday afternoons. In January and May, we hold lectures six to nine mornings from 10:00-11:30 am. Lectures are held in large lecture rooms.

In the past 30 years, more than 1200 speakers have given a lecture at OLLI. Topics range from art, music, and literature to public policy, economics, and politics to astrophysics, history, and sports. We strive to present experts on a wide range of issues.

Below is a sampling of lectures offered during 2016-2018.

  • The American Songbook, Donnie McKethan
  • Brexit and Its Aftermath, Michelle Egan
  • The Changing Face of American Sports, George Solomon
  • A Conversation with Marty Barron, Editor, The Washington Post
  • The Criminalization of Poverty, Peter Edelman
  • The Dreamers' Story, Donald  Graham
  • Life Is Polyrhythmic, Ysaye Barnwell
  • Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016, Allan Lichtman
  • Washington National Opera as Classic, Contemporary, and American, Francesca Zambello
  • Who Gets What: Victim Compensation After Tragedy, Kenneth Feinberg
  • Will There Ever Be Peace in the Middle East?, Elliott Abrams


Due to limited seating, reservations through Eventbrite are required to attend lectures. Each lecture series is announced about one month ahead of time through our email list and e-newsletter as well as in paper format available in the OLLI Social Spaces or Office on the fifth floor.

give A lecture

To broaden members' exposure to a wide range of expertise, speakers are drawn from the federal government, universities, arts organizations, media, think tanks, and other institutions in the Washington metropolitan area. Members recommend individuals. Then, the Lecture Committee, made up of 12 to 18 OLLI members, researches and reviews potential speakers. Emphasis is placed on offering a series with a diverse group of speakers and topics.

Study Group Leaders cannot give lectures. Members can register for study groups led by individuals in whom they are interested. Also, since more than 120 individuals serve as Study Group Leaders throughout the year, the lecture schedule cannot possibly accommodate all, or even, most of them.

Suggest A Speaker

We welcome suggestions of speakers for our Lecture Series. To recommend a speaker, please call the office at 202-895-4860 or email OLLI@American.edu.