S.I.L.L. Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning


Thursdays, 10:30 A.M. at Temple Beth Israel. The videos will be the recording from the previous Thursday’s lecture in Sarasota. The showings are open to the public. Daily tickets to all lectures are $10 at the door, payable in cash or by check only.



January 17 – Reflections on U.S. Policy in Post-Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe

The end of the Soviet Union was the greatest strategic shift in the last fifty years. Reflecting on his work as a U.S. policymaker and representative in Russia and Eastern Europe over four decades, Amb. John Tefft will offer his thoughts on U.S. policy and the way ahead for the United States in this region which is critical for U.S. national security interest.

January 24 – Russian Covert Intervention in the 2016 U.S. Election and the Role of Intelligence in American Democracy

Dr. James Bruce will unpack the key controversies surrounding the election of the 45th U.S. President How successful were Russian efforts to influence the outcome of that election? How should U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, vital to American democracy, and accustomed to attacks by Russia, counter Russian intervention when they are also under attack from the U.S. President himself?

January 31 – Eurasia’s strategic Realignment: The Challenge to U.S. Predominance

The dominant feature of Eurasia’s emerging security landscape is rapid strategic realignment among virtually all actors on which the United States depends. S. Enders Wimbush will discuss what this emerging security landscape looks like. What are the key actor’s objectives and strategies, and what challenges does the U.S. face to defend America’s interests in this dynamic geostrategic environment?

February 7 – The German Problem

Brexit leaves Europe unbalanced, with Germany as the biggest and richest nation, and France a poor second. The Germans have learned – painfully and profoundly – to duck responsibility, but it is being thrust upon them. Martin Walker explores how Europe will cope, without widening it’s north-south divide.

February 14 – The Impossible Presidency

Dr. Jeremi Suri notes the American presidency changed from the limited role envisaged by the Founding Fathers to the most powerful job in the world. In recent years the presidency became a victim of its own success. Now it is almost impossible to fulfill the expectations placed upon it.

February 21 – The Divided Kingdom of Britain

Britain is going through an identity crisis. With Brexit, Britain will detach from Europe and focus on internal affairs. Alternatively, the marriage of Prince Harry to a divorced, mixed race American has generated enthusiasm, with citizens embracing a more multi-cultural, multinational life. Baroness Margaret Jay will discuss what happens when normal conventions have been shattered. What does this imply for the future?

February 28 – The Future of War

The future of war is not what most think. The 21st century is maturing into a world mired in perpetual conflict. The weak defeat the strong, and battlefield victory achieves little. Forget what you know about war – it’s obsolete. Dr. Sean McFate will explain the new rules of war, and how to win.

March 7 – Tensions in the Ukraine and Why It Matters

Several years ago Russia-backed forces and Ukrainian nationalists came face to face. Today, Ukraine is increasingly at the intersection of Russian, American, European and even Chinese interests. Foreign correspondent Nolan Peterson, the first U.S. journalist to be embedded with the Ukrainian army, will discuss the current situation and why it matters to the United States. Mr. Peterson will explain why the U.S. needs to strengthen its diplomatic presence in the Ukraine or risk losing influence to its adversaries in Eastern Europe.

March 14 – India: Rise on the World Stage

Dr. Alyssa Ayres will look at India’s emergence into the global economy and world stage. After decades of looking inward, India’s leaders want the country to be featured in the ranks of the world’s great powers. India’s vastness history, and diversity render it incomparable to any other democratic power.

March 21 – Understanding World Leaders

What do we know about the backgrounds, experiences, world views, leadership styles and policymaking predispositions of current world leaders of people like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jingping, Kim Jong-un, Angel Merkel, Bashar al-Assad, Emmanuel Macron, and Aung San Suu Kyi? Dr. Margaret Hermann takes us on a tour to learn more about current world leaders.

March 28 – The End of White Christian America

The United States is no longer a majoity white Christian country. White Christians are a shrinking demographic and that has profound social and political implications. Dr. Robert Jones, founder and CEO of the Public Opinion Institute, will examine the effect of this population shift on the United States and what it means for the future – politically, socially, and culturally.

April 4 – The U.S. Role in the World: Domestic Debates and International Context

Dr. Kathleen Hicks will explore links between the domestic and international contexts for U.S. foreign policy. She will address America’s internal debates over U.S. leadership in the world and present propositions on where we might rebuild Americans’ security consensus.