Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College presents the 2020 season of “Einstein’s Circle,” a six-session series moderated by experts on a variety of timely topics. Each session provides an opportunity for participants to engage in a thoughtful exchange of ideas and information.

“If it’s relevant, timely and interesting there’s a good chance we’ll be talking about it at Einstein’s Circle,” says Bev Harms, producer of the series.

Topics planned for 2020 discussions include:

Jan. 29: “The Trapped Mind in Today’s Society and What it Takes to Change Your Mind.” Gerald Zaltman and Robert Gary will discuss “mind traps” lurking around the edges of the thinking process, “equal opportunity” traps that operate without regard to topic or position, and “mind sweepers” that raise awareness of how “mind traps” work and empower us to avoid and disarm them. Zaltman is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business School and co-founding partner of Olson Zaltman, a global market research and consulting firm. Gary is a former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor with the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and a former special assistant to the Governor of Ohio for criminal justice.

Feb. 5: “Full Speed Ahead: Back to the Moon.” Kenneth Bechis, a retired chief scientist in the Space Ops and Environmental Solutions division of Northrup Grumman and a former NASA payload specialist astronaut will discuss the possibilities, risks, and benefits of winning the space race back to the moon.

Feb. 19: “Stalin and Roosevelt, Gorbachev and Reagan, Putin and Trump.” Robert Toplin, an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, historian, author, creator and consultant on historical dramas for television, will examine the risk of ignominious defeat in attempting to form a working relationship with the leaders of the Russian government.

March 4: “Changing the Face of Sarasota: The Little Town That Keeps Growing Bigger.” Gretchen Schneider, general manager of the Development Services department for the City of Sarasota, offers insight into the building process with an open discussion of the importance of timing as Sarasota continues its methodology for approving private building projects that sometimes dramatically alter the city’s landscape.

March 18: “The Deconstruction of Reconstruction and the Long Walk Back.” Can we reanimate the dream of freedom that Congress tried to enact in the wake of the Civil War? David Wilkins, a retired Dow Chemical litigation attorney and American Red Cross diversity chief, explores the lost promises of Reconstruction. America was offered the opportunity to repudiate racism and white supremacy but chose not to. That choice continues to haunt us. Wilkins explains these choices and their continuing hold on American life.

April 1: “What the Primaries Are Telling Us.” Who will emerge from the July convention as the Democratic Party’s choice to challenge Donald Trump in November? Susan MacManus, a political analyst and commentator and retired distinguished emerita of government and international affairs at USF, shares insights into what the early numbers are telling us.

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