“Any cause that encourages people to never stop learning, never stop participating in the social/cultural experiment that is these United States of America—I’m for it,” Mike Barnicle told The Berkshire Eagle prior to delivering the annual Mona Sherman Memorial Lecture, presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College (OLLI at BCC) in Massachusetts on Friday, May 22.
With his talk, ”Optimism: America’s Most Ignored Asset,” Mike discusses elements of society’s social media obsession and what it does to diminish the collective, institutional memory of who we really are as a nation—as well as what we can do to re-engage on a personal level with each other. This lecture applies Mike’s experience, wit, rich knowledge of national and international affairs, and blunt observations—as displayed in his column for The Daily Beast or during interviews on MSNBC’s Morning Joe—to the fast-changing, often controversial and polarizing social media world we’re all trying to navigate. The news seems as bad as it ever was, but Mike believes we can tackle our challenges as a nation, from social justice issues here at home to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, with a little more genuine, human interaction and optimism.
“There is no substitute for the natural curiosity and sympathy that comes from really spending time with someone else,” says Mike.
The Mona Sherman Memorial Lecture, was created and named in honor of one of OLLI’s most dynamic members, the late Mona Sherman, who served as President of OLLI’s Board and helped lead its transformation. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College is a year-round membership organization providing compelling educational experiences, including courses, speakers, special events and trips.
For more information about the event, please check out these articles:
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle talks about the historic handshake between Prince Charles’ and Irish republican leader Gerry Adams, accused of being a senior figure for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) when the group killed the Prince’s uncle in 1979. “I’ve been covering Northern Ireland since 1973, and after two of the most shocking assassinations occurred you’d think ‘this is never going to end.’ Gerry Adams has bridged a gap that was unbridgeable 10 or 15 years ago,” says Mike. Listen to the conversation about the conflict known as The Troubles. Only on Morning Joe.
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle talks with The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt about Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s scrutinized relationship with Sidney Blumenthal, a personal counselor, who advised her on Libya during her time as Secretary of State. “Sidney Blumenthal’s relationship was with whom? Certain people who wanted to do business with Libya as it was imploding? And do we know whether Blumenthal had any business relationship with contractors?,” asks Mike. Listen to Michael Schmidt discuss his latest reporting on the issue. Only on MSNBC.
“Ramadi has fallen, Fallujah has fallen, Mosul has fallen, it’s Memorial Day weekend, Section 16 will be crowded with the families of those already lost in Iraq. My question, not just to you, but to the official policy makers in Washington, is: How many more American lives are we willing to risk and lose in saving this false nation?,” Mike Barnicle asks of Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.), former Director of the NSA and CIA, who suggests sending more resources to Iraq in the fight against ISIS. Listen to the Morning Joe conversation here. Only on MSNBC.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joins MSNBC’s Morning Joe and talks with Mike Barnicle about concerns and the unintended consequences of breaking up Iraq, as some key figures have suggested. “What do you favor now? What would be best now?,” Mike asks Secy. Gates in regard to a new approach toward stabilizing Iraq. Listen to Secy. Gates’ Middle East analysis here.