10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Courses

  • Islam: A Way of Life*

    Sessions 1-5. March 11-April 8. This course will shed some light on a Muslim's spiritual journey toward the Creator and attainment of peace. The course consists of five topics. The format for each topic will be a lecture and discussion.

    The topics are:

    1. An Overview of Islam
    2. An Overview of the Quran
    3. Creation: In Light of Modern Science
    4. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Shared Heritage
    5. The status of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammed in Islam

    * Registration for this course is “bundled” with the Lectures on Diverse Topics Course for Sessions 6-10 for no increase in fee. See Note #3 of the Registration Page of this website for further explanation.

    Teacher: Shaheen Akhtar is an educator, presenter and founder of many interfaith book clubs and discussion groups. She is an interfaith liaison for the Muslim community at large. She has spent over a quarter of a century of her life building bridges among people of all faith traditions and races. She is a community builder, works with several groups and holds community forums. She offers courses on Islam and lectures at churches, interfaith groups, schools and colleges. She holds on-going interfaith conversations with Lutherans, Latter Day Saints, Methodists and several other groups. She mentors and supports others who want to initiate interfaith dialogue in their communities. She is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values embedded in Islam.

  • Lectures on Diverse Topics

    WWLL is fortunate to have access to distinguished people who volunteer their time and expertise to give lectures on an eclectic array of topics.

    Course Organizers: This course was organized by Ann Dolbear, Stephen Engler, Barbara Mason, and Bruce Belason. The Zoom host is Bill Cohen.

    Below is a summary of dates, lecture titles, and speakers. For the entire lecture description and speaker bio, click on the “+” symbol to the right of the course title. To hide the information accessed, click again on either the lecture title or the “+” sign to the right of the title.

    • March 11

      The Lewis and Clark Expedition, (1804 – 06), was a U.S. military expedition, led by Capt. Meriwether Lewis and Lieut. William Clark, to explore the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest. The expedition was a major chapter in the history of American exploration.

      On January 18, 1803, U.S. Pres. Thomas Jefferson sent a secret message to Congress asking for $2,500 to send an officer and a dozen soldiers to explore the Missouri River, make diplomatic contact with Indians, expand the American fur trade, and locate the Northwest Passage (the much-sought-after hypothetical northwestern water route to the Pacific Ocean).

      The proposed trip took on added significance on May 2, when the United States agreed to the Louisiana Purchase—Napoleon's sale of 828,000 square miles (2,100,000 square km) of French territory for $27 million.

      Jefferson, who had already sponsored several attempts to explore the West, asked his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead the expedition. As his co-commander, Lewis selected William Clark, who had been his military superior during the government's battles with the Northwest Indian Federation in the early 1790s.

      Their expedition contributed significant geographic and scientific knowledge of the West, aided the expansion of the fur trade, and strengthened U.S. claims to the Pacific. No American exploration looms larger in U.S. history.

      Speaker: Jay H. Buckley grew up on ranches in Bridger Valley, Wyoming, and the Uinta Mountains. He received an MA in history at BYU before earning his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Buckley is an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University, where he teaches United States, American West, and American Indian history courses and coordinates the American Indian Studies minor. He is the director of BYU's Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and is president of the Utah Valley Historical Society.

      Buckley served as president of the national Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (2011-12), which provides leadership on scholarship, education, and conservation pertaining to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

      Buckley is the author of the award-winning By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis. He is the co-author of eight other books, including William Clark: Indian Diplomat, Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, Great Plains Forts.

    • March 18

      Brooks Goddard will speak on the many insights gleaned from a recent civil rights tour of the South. No cruise on the Danube, this Road Scholars trip featured many of the sites burned into our memories from the ‘50s and ‘60s when the world seemed as dark as the world today. He will speak of the incredible museums, the parks, the churches, the monuments that challenge us today as we seek peace and reconciliation.

      Speaker: Brooks Goddard is a retired classroom teacher who won't give it up. He presented a WWLL course last year on The 1619 Project and then last September with his wife Jeanie went on a Road Scholar Civil Rights trip to Georgia and Alabama. They both found the tour very impactful.

    • March 25

      Take a ride through history during the “Golden Age” of bicycling with cyclist and activist Phil Posner. During America's 19th Century “Gilded Age” railroads and trolley cars dominated mass transportation and the automobile had yet to rise. For a brief and important historical moment, the bicycle captured Americans' hearts and gave rise to a new era of personal transportation and freedom.

      Prior to 1890, perhaps 150,000 American “wheelmen” rode expensive “penny-farthing style” two-wheelers. By 1895, the mass produced, inexpensive “safety bicycle” had captured the public's imagination and pocketbooks. During the “Great Bike Boom” of the 1890s millions of bikes were sold. Bicycles sparked one of the largest industries in the United States. Clever advertising, musical numbers and magazine subscriptions fed the public's appetite. Throughout the country, skilled workers abandoned their careers to work in the bicycling industry. Massive factories were built in Hartford and Chicago to satisfy demand. Before they moved on to “other pursuits,” Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, and thousands of other technologists and tinkerers worldwide built, sold and serviced bicycles. National campaigns to improve America's rutted and muddy suburban and rural roads arose… not for automobiles (whose time had yet to come)… but for bikes! The bicycle whet America's appetite for independence and low-cost transportation in ways that no train (or horse and buggy) could match.

      The humble and human powered bicycle - affordable to the masses—tore down class and gender barriers and ignited demand for mobility and infrastructure in ways that profoundly shaped 20th Century America. Come along for the ride!

      Speakers: Phil Posner has been riding bicycles since he was a boy in New York City. Over the years he's owned and ridden bikes small and large whenever and wherever he could. Phil currently maintains a small fleet of bikes (road, mountain, and “other”) at his home in Concord, MA.

      Phil has been an advocate for creating safe and fun paths for cycling since the 1990s. He served as a member of the Board of MassBike, Massachusetts' Statewide Bicycling Advocacy Organization, and is currently a member of the Board of The Bike Connector, a nonprofit that provides reconditioned bikes for free to young people and eligible adults in Lowell and throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Phil is certified as a “Bicycling Instructor” by the League of American Bicyclists.

      Phil currently serves the Town of Concord as a member of its Transportation Advisory Committee and as a liaison between the public schools, Concord's public safety agencies, and the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program. Phil served as chair of Concord's Housing Development Corporation and of Wakefield's Conservation Commission for many years.

      Phil is an active participant in various cycling events, including the Pan Mass Challenge, the Deerfield Dirt-Road Randonnee, and the Blazing Saddles Century. He has also engaged in the private practice of real estate and land use law since 1985.

    • April 1

      The Supreme Court of the United States recently handed down the Dobbs decision revoking previously recognized federal constitutional rights to an abortion. The reasoning of Dobbs has cast doubt on the continued vitality of other federal constitutional rights. And the novel principles of constitutional interpretation espoused by the Justices in recent opinions threaten the traditional understanding that our federal constitution is a living document intended to provide continuing protections throughout the ages.

      In the resulting turmoil, debate rages over the legitimacy of the current Court. Proposals for dramatic changes are circulating amid growing fears about the willingness of the Court's majority to overrule precedents establishing other constitutional rights. People are worried about the loss of their fundamental rights and are paying close attention to the political controversy over the constitutional rights they enjoy as citizens of the United States, as they should.

      At the same time, however, it is important to keep in mind that citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are not wholly dependent on the Supreme Court for protection of their fundamental inalienable rights. The Massachusetts Constitution and its Declaration of Rights predates the federal government, and our Supreme Judicial Court, the oldest continuously sitting court in the Western Hemisphere, has a long history of protecting people's rights. Indeed, sometimes the Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted language in the Bill of Rights as not providing a claimed constitutional right or protection, but the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has interpreted identical language in the Massachusetts Constitution's Declaration of Rights to guarantee the claimed constitutional right or protection.

      In this talk, Attorney Carey will discuss why this is a time for renewed attention to the inalienable rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy under Massachusetts law and to the primary role of our state courts in enforcing them.

      Speaker: Attorney Thomas J. Carey, Jr. was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1965 and is a member of the Supreme Court Bar. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Boston College, a Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School, and a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School. He has had a long association with BC Law as an award-winning student, faculty member and active alumnus.

      Tom's legal career includes government service, private practice, and law teaching, including courses on subjects governed by state and federal law. He is the co-author of a guide to Massachusetts Appellate Practice published by Lexis-Nexis.

      Tom has been a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) for over 50 years, working toward meaningful legal reforms within the Legislature and the Judiciary. In recent years, as Chair of the MBA's Amicus Curiae Committee, he has served as lead or co-author on several MBA amicus briefs in support of judicial independence and access to justice. He is the founding chair, and current co-chair, of the MBA Appellate Bench-Bar Committee, serves on the Massachusetts Law Review Editorial Board, and is a Brandeis Life Fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. In 2021, the Massachusetts Bar Association presented Tom with its prestigious President's Award "for his selfless dedication, leadership, and service to the MBA and the Massachusetts legal community."

      Tom is a long-time resident of Hingham, where he has been active in civic affairs, including service as a trustee of the Hingham Public Library.

    • April 8

      It is hard to discuss healthcare without being sidetracked by ideology. Here we will discuss a bit of the history of our healthcare system, just how the system works at various levels in plain English, so that when proposals are made, you understand what is happening, where the trade-offs are and what questions to ask. Then we will do a quick survey of systems in four other countries. Although we hear that other countries have “universal healthcare”, how they arrive at this can be very different and there is something to be learned from this perspective.

      Speaker: Dale Magee, MD, MS is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who practiced in large health care systems as well as private practice at various points in his career. He also took a year off mid-career and obtained a Masters in Health Policy and Quality Measurement at the Dartmouth Institute. He chaired the Massachusetts Medical Society's health policy committee and later served as president of the MMS as Romney Care was being developed. He has served as medical director of a medical group helping to negotiate managed care contracts. He has also served on a committee dealing with infant mortality in Worcester, MA and as Commissioner of Public Health of Worcester.

    • April 22

      "The Village" was a close-knit African-American community that grew up in West Newton after the Civil War. It eventually evolved to become the largest suburban Black community in Greater Boston. The documentary "Myrtle Baptist Church: Pillar of the Community" tells the inspiring story of this resilient community and the church at the heart of it. With Myrtle Baptist as its religious center, social hub and rallying point, the congregation survived and thrived despite racial discrimination and a toll road that threatened to slice the neighborhood apart in the early 1960s.

      Speaker: Joe Hunter is owner and producer at Remember Productions, an award-winning video production company. He is also president of the Newton News Foundation, publisher of The Newton Beacon, a nonprofit digital news site. A veteran of more than 20 years in the field of educational communications, Hunter's prior posts include senior communication management positions at Boston University, Boston College and Curry College, and, most recently Olin College. He began his career as a public radio reporter, and currently, as owner of Remember Productions, is active as a producer of documentaries and public affairs programming.

    • April 29

      Mark Hopkins' camera documents a two-week trip that begins in Athens, Greece, and proceeds by small ship through the Gulf of Corinth and up the spectacular east coast of the Adriatic Sea, with stopovers in Greece, Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia. After eight days at sea the tour continues overland to the Croatian capital of Zagreb. A final visit to the Julian Alps of Slovenia rounds out the adventure.

      Mark's photographs bring the viewer to the famed Acropolis in Athens, the site of the oracle at Delphi, the majestic mountains of Montenegro, and the historic port cities and islands of Croatia. Along the way they capture Albania's struggles to right itself after years of stifling repression. And they end with some delightful discoveries in Zagreb, capped by scenes of the beautiful valleys of Slovenia. The talk includes discussion of the region's recent history of political upheaval.

      Speaker: Mark Hopkins is retired from a career as an advertising agency executive and freelance business writer. After retirement, he acquired his first digital camera and has since had his award-winning art photography featured in many exhibitions and juried competitions.

      Widely traveled and a frequent speaker in the New England area, he has published several books of his photography, nature cartoons, and poetry.

      Mark is a graduate of Wellesley High School and Brown University.

    • May 6

      Learn about the history of the United States Post Office from the first letters carried on the Boston Post Road to its interesting evolution through time and generations. Learn about the expansion of the Post Office after the Revolution, the introduction of home delivery, the short-lived Pony Express, the carrying of mail by railroads, buses, and trollies, the introduction of the rural free delivery, the start of Parcel Post, the use of V-mail during World War II, the start of zip codes, postal strikes and today's current system challenges and financial strain. Images of some of the over 100 stamps celebrating Massachusetts will be shown, plus some of the stamps that will be issued in 2024.

      Speaker: Henry Lukas, retired, was Education Director at the Spellman Museum of Stamp and Postal History at Regis College in Weston. Henry spent 35 years in education as a principal and classroom teacher in various Massachusetts school systems.

    • May 13

      This talk will look at how New Englanders worked the land, with a focus on what became the western suburbs of Boston. Was New England farming sustainable? Why did it decline? What are the prospects for reviving regenerative farming today, and what role can it play in our response to climate change and the need for food justice?

      Speaker: Brian Donahue is Professor Emeritus of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University. He co-founded and for many years ran Land's Sake farm in Weston, and is author of The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord, and A New England Food Vision. He continues to advance Wildlands, Woodlands, Farmlands, and Communities," and to write and farm in western Massachusetts.

    • May 20

      Join Earthwatch volunteer Mark Hopkins for a photographic visit to the savannahs of South Africa, where the continent's best known large mammals depend upon careful management to ensure their future.

      Learn how Earthwatch works with local scientists to perform a biennial herbivore census in one of Africa's most beautiful federal game reserves.

      Follow along as Mark hikes 60 miles over two weeks through scenic thornveld landscapes, accompanied by an armed Zulu ranger, counting wild rhino, giraffe, buffalo and a dozen other large mammal species, then returning to the campsite for close-up photographic visits with lions, leopards, hippos and crocodiles.

      Hear how a face-to-face encounter with one of Africa's most dangerous creatures enlivened the adventure.

      Speaker: Mark Hopkins, is retired from a career as an advertising agency executive and freelance business writer. After retirement, he acquired his first digital camera and has since had his award-winning art photography featured in many exhibitions and juried competitions.

      Widely traveled and a frequent speaker in the New England area, he has published several books of his photography, nature cartoons, and poetry.

      Mark is a graduate of Wellesley High School and Brown University.

  • Poetry for the People, 1-2

    Sessions 3-10. Starts March 25 No dull textbook analysis here! We'll read and appreciate a range of poets and their poems. We will look at the techniques and use of language that distinguish highly regarded poets and their ability to convey ideas and topics that we, the people, find engaging. Louise Glück's now-adult Gretel, Hansel's sister; Marge Piercy's feminist-rage cooking for ungrateful husbands; Updike's adult high-school basketball player frozen in his past glories; Walt Whitman's real take on astronomy; and Jack butler's rat-turned-coachman's view of Cinderella are a few of the subjects open for lively discussions.

    Teacher: Charles Kamar has a bachelor's from Boston State and a master's from Boston University; he taught all secondary grade levels and spent the last 20 years of his career at Newton North High School. In 1998, he won the Paul E. Elicker Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  • Wollen Sie Deutsch Sprechen?

    An hour of conversation for students of German and for German speakers. Basic knowledge of the German language is necessary. We read stories, newspaper/magazine articles and poems. Participants write short essays, which we correct in class and use as a basis to review or teach grammar points. Talents represented in the group make for a lively class.

    Teacher: Renate Olsen, B.A., M.A. New York State University at Albany, has taught English and German in high school. She had a Fulbright scholarship in Germany.