LIFELONG LEARNING ACADEMY’S Spring 2016 Einstein’s Circle Series At USF Sarasota-Manatee; These open forums, moderated by knowledgeable experts on a variety of timely topics, provide an opportunity for participants to engage in a thoughtful exchange of ideas, opinions and information

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Spring 2016 Einsteins Circle Series

At USF Sarasota-Manatee

These open forums, moderated by knowledgeable experts on a variety of timely topics, provide an opportunity for participants to engage in a thoughtful exchange of ideas, opinions and information.


March 2:

Petroleum Prices and Geopolitics

March 9:

The Word of God First Person: The Koran and The Imam

March 16

Are We Alone in the Universe – or What?

March 23

Eat to Live: A Strategy for Positive Aging

March 30

“Politics” and the 2016 Election


(Sarasota-Manatee, Florida) Lifelong Learning Academy (LLA) announces its spring 2016 session of Einstein’s Circle forums, held in March, 3-4:30 p.m., in Selby Auditorium at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Cost is $5 per session for LLA paid members and $6 for general admission. Seating is limited to 180 participants. Registration is recommended online at or by calling 941-359-4296. For additional information on the Lifelong Learning Academy, including weekly updates of Einsteins Circle, visit or call 941-359-4296.

            According to Bev Harms, producer of the Einstein’s Circle, these open forums, moderated by knowledgeable and noted experts in a wide variety of matters, provide participants an opportunity to interact, share information and  gain perspective on current and evolving events and topics. “If it’s relevant, interesting and timely  there’s a good chance we’ll be talking about it at Einstein’s Circle,” says Harms.

Petroleum Prices and Geopolitics with Jim Bartis, Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation (Wednesday, March 2): Jim Bartis’ career in energy began in 1978 when he joined the newly formed U.S. Department of Energy, where he rose to become the director of the Divisions of Fossil Energy and Environment. At the non-profit RAND Corporation, his research clients included the offices of the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Energy. With a focus on petroleum, Bartis will cover a bit of geology and the nature of oil exploration and production. He’ll review the current global energy situation and conflicts in oil exporting nations, shedding light on the mystery of petroleum prices and why they fluctuate the way they do. He’ll also explain “peak oil,” PAS (Petroleum Anxiety Syndrome), and OPEC’s ability to control oil production, offering “Jim’s best guess” as to where energy prices are headed.

The Word of God First Person: The Koran and the Imam with religious advisor Imam Azhar Subedar and former federal prosecutor Robert Gary (March 9): To all Muslims, both Sunni and Shiite, the Koran is considered a sacred object inscribed with the actual words that were spoken to the prophet Muhammad by Allah. To over a billion Muslims, these words dictate all aspects of life from the spiritual to the secular.  Former federal prosecutor Robert Gary will engage Imam Subedar, a recognized Islamic scholar, in a mutually respectful dialogue, illuminating passages, statements and commands that from a non-Muslim and Western perspective are problematic. Robert Gary is a former federal prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Justice Department. As a private attorney working prior to September 11, he was appointed by the federal court to represent Muslim prisoners. Since the 9/11 attacks, Gary has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, seeking to gain a better understanding of Islam, and frequently lectures on the Koran and Islam. Imam Ashar Subedar is an Islamic scholar who currently serves as Imam, khateeb, teacher and religious consultant at Port Charlotte’s Masjid Nur. He is also a member of the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and is a religious advisor to the Florida Department of Education.

Are We Alone in the Universe – or What? with Jeff Rodgers, director of the Bishop Planetarium at the South Florida Museum (March 16): Are we alone in the universe? Is there intelligent life elsewhere? Why have there been no visits or communications with intelligent beings from elsewhere? Is it wise to wish for such contact? Jeff Rodgers, director of South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium, conducts a rousing contemplation of humankind’s place in the universe.

Eat to Live: A Strategy for Positive Aging with nutritionist Jill Edwards (March 23): For many, eating is one of the most enjoyable things we do. Aside from the pleasure derived from eating, it is also a necessity and from our brain to our bones, what we eat matters. Jill Edwards talks about the magnitude, benefits and consequences of the foods we eat, how the wrong choices can negatively affect our health and how the right diet can potentially slow the aging process, boost our memory and even stave off such age-related diseases as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. Jill Edwards, a certified plant-based nutritionist is also a certified clinical exercise specialist through the American College for Sports Medicine. Edwards has extensive experience in cardio-pulmonary rehab, helping patients recover from cardiac and pulmonary events with the help of exercise and diet.

Politics and the 2016 Election with former Florida congressman Dan Miller (March 31): On November 8, voters will head to the polls to determine who will be our nation’s next president. Some argue that the current election process is undemocratic, that early primaries and media hype can have a major impact on later voter turnout and on the outcome of major elections. Are the critics right? Is America’s electorate changing? Former Florida congressman Dan Miller examines the process, the facts and fallacies and discusses factors that will determine the outcome of the 2016 general election. Dan Miller is a
Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For ten years he represented Florida’s 13th Congressional District as a member of  U.S. House of Representatives for the Thirteenth Congressional District of Florida that included  all of Sarasota and Manatee counties and parts of Hillsborough and Charlotte counties.

He currently teaches on university campuses for the Congress to Campus program, a program that works to educate and  inform students on the world of politics and public service.

In addition to special events and lectures, the Lifelong Learning Academy offers four course terms annually. Each course lasts two to eight sessions; most classes meet for an hour and 20 minutes weekly. For more information about Lifelong Learning Academy, call 941-359-4296 or visit to view or request a catalog.

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