Local lectures look at world's hot spots

RUTLAND-The Rutland Area Osher Lifelong Learning Institute presents its lecture series for the fall of 2009. Each of the 12 lectures will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon at the Godnick Adult Center, 1 Deer St. (located off Woodstock Avenue) in Rutland.

For directions to the center or for program information call 773-0184. Nonmembers may attend individual sessions for $5 at the door. Reservations are not required.

Oct. 2, "The State of Israel - Its Past, Present, and Future". Haviland Smith was educated at Exeter, Dartmouth, and the University of London, majoring in Russian studies. He is a retired CIA station chief, having focused on the recruitment and handling of Soviet and East European agents. He served in Prague, Berlin, Beirut, and Tehran, and as executive assistant to the CIA director. Smith will dispassionately and factually cover the origins of the State of Israel, its subsequent evolution, and the prospects for its future as a democratic Jewish state.

Oct. 9, "Observations on a Cuban Homeland". Armando Vilaseca has a B.S. degree in education from UVM; his master's degree is from Lesley College and focused on educational leadership. He has over 29 years of experience in education, having spent his entire professional career in Vermont schools. He recently was appointed as Vermont commissioner of education. Vilaseca, a native of Cuba, has also served as a government liaison accompanying a delegation to Cuba to introduce Cubans to Vermont agricultural products. He will share his observations on his Cuban homeland under the rule of dictator Fidel Castro since 1959.

Oct. 16: "Sisters in War - How the US Invasion of Iraq has Affected Women's Rights". Christina Asquith, senior editor of The Solutions Journal based in Burlington, was educated at Boston University and the London School of Economics. A journalist for over 14 years, she has written for several major American and British publications. Shortly after the U.S. military arrived in 2003 she hitchhiked into Iraq and spent 18 months living in Baghdad and traveling around the country reporting for the New York Times. She will present an overview of the history of women's rights in Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein and how these rights were affected by the joint U.S. and Coalition forces military mission.

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