The world's leading experts, authors, historians and diplomats explore contemporary affairs in Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning's 2019 Global Issues series in Sarasota, Venice and Lakewood Ranch


Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning launches its 48th season with its hard-hitting Global Issues series in Sarasota, Venice and Lakewood Ranch. Internationally acclaimed experts explore the challenges and dilemmas we face at home and around the world in this engaging series of lectures and lively conversations.

(Sarasota, Florida) Internationally renowned experts discuss a vast range of domestic and global issues as part of Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning’s (SILL) 2019 “Global Issues” series. The new season features 72 programs in Sarasota, Venice and Lakewood Ranch, and runs from January 8 through March 29. Speakers will explore dozens of topics, including the U.S. role in the world, changing patterns of violence against women and girls, America’s volatile politics, the future of democracy around the world, the aging brain, and topical issues in China, Korea, Russia and the Middle East. Programs run during the day in both Sarasota and Venice. An evening series, in Lakewood Ranch, is also available.

A few of this year’s headliners include: Carla Koppell, USAID’s first senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Dennis Ross, former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and the William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former ambassador of Saudi Arabia for the United States (2005-2007) and former director general of Saudi Arabia’s main foreign intelligence service; Dr. Daniel Ziblatt, professor of government at Harvard University and author of “How Democracies Die;” Martin Walker, senior fellow of the Global Business Policy Council, and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Dr. Sean McFate, an author, novelist, expert in foreign policy and national security strategy, and professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; Dr. Kathleen Hicks, senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Nolan Peterson, a Kiev-based conflict journalist reporting on the war in Ukraine, and a U.S. Air Force special operations pilot and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Peterson is also a Sarasota native and graduate of Pine View School.)

Robert Deutsch, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who served as a State Department senior advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the program committee chair.

“We’re looking forward to an outstanding mix of returning and new speakers,” he says. “Thirteen speakers are new to our series, offering fresh perspectives we haven’t heard before.” Deutsch adds that a host of favorite speakers will return to offer their perspectives on key global issues, including "The German Problem," “How Democracies Die,” “The Impossible Presidency,” “A Seat at the Table: Gender, Power, & Global Security,” "Trumpism, Putinism and the New/Old Cold War" and "The Divided Kingdom of Britain." Speakers will share their “candid insights on the state of the world and what can be done about it.”

“Our Global Issues program committee has assembled an impressive roster of speakers to analyze the daunting tensions that face the world today,” says Jorie Lueloff, former NBC Chicago news anchor and president of SILL.

“U.S.-Russian relations dominate the headlines. Who better to address the subject than the former U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft? For insight into Russian intervention in U.S. elections, we have retired CIA executive officer James Bruce,” says Lueloff. “Much attention has been focused on Asia—particularly China and North Korea. J. Stapleton Roy, the former U.S. ambassador to China, will discuss ‘U.S.-China Strategic Rivalry.’ Christopher Hill, the lead U.S. negotiator with North Korea at six party talks under George W. Bush, will speak about North Korea. Hill will also take on the broad question, ‘Is America’s Global Influence Declining?’ It’s going to be another thoroughly invigorating season at SILL and we look forward to seeing old and new faces this season.”

SILL’s Global Issues lectures are 40 to 50 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of audience questions. The lectures are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., at First Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., in Sarasota; Tuesdays, 2:30 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m., at the Venice Community Center, 326 S Nokomis Ave., in Venice; and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, 14306 Covenant Way in Lakewood Ranch. Doors open 40 minutes prior to the start of the lecture. Season subscriptions are $85 for a 12-lecture series. If seating is available, single lecture tickets are $10. To purchase subscriptions, or learn about the program in more detail visit For more information, call 941-365-6404.

About the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning

The Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is a non-profit organization that offers an expert lecture series to provide information on and discussion of the arts and contemporary global issues. SILL is guided by an all-volunteer board committed to modest pricing and enhanced outreach. Visit


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