May 22, 2015
Optimism: America’s Most Ignored Asset

Mike Barnicle

“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: