Special Events

Please continue to check back here for information as events are updated several times a year.

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Great Decisions

Facilitated by OLLI Members

Saturdays, February 1, 8, 15, 22 & March 1, 10am-12noon
Members: $25 and Non-members: $40

Join us for insightful, thought-provoking discussions about some of the most pressing foreign policy challenges that our country faces today. Great Decisions is a nation-wide civic education program supported by the Foreign Policy Association (www.fpa.org).

Turkey’s challenges – February 1

Turkey: a nation at a crossroads, a bridge over an ever-growing chasm between the East and West. Turkey’s first Prime Minister Kemal Ataturk envisioned a modern, democratic nation-state built on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire with strong ties to Europe, not the Middle East. But as the clashes between secular and religious groups and the recent protests in Taksim Square show, the soul of Turkey is still very much up for grabs.

China’s foreign policy – February 8

China has gone to great lengths to emphasize the “peaceful” nature of its meteoric rise. Yet few dispute that China is the dominant regional power in Asia – and in recent years Beijing began to flex its muscles regionally in order to advance its strategic interests. What does the rapid rise of this new superpower mean for other countries in the region, and are there potential points of conflict with the U.S. as it “pivots” to Asia?

Energy Independence – February 15

Energy independence, by taking the bargaining chip of oil dependence off the table, would be good for American foreign policy. But the very technological advances that make independence possible have created a dilemma for lawmakers. In a government with fixed resources, should the U.S. encourage more traditional fuel production or invest in the young technology of renewable resources?

Food and Climate – February 22

Even as a sixth of the world’s population suffers from chronic hunger, a changing climate threatens to wreak havoc on already insecure and vulnerable populations. As food and water become scarce and once fertile land becomes barren, the U.S. finds itself faced with new challenges in securing the globe. The U.S. is getting ready, but can it lead the way to climate reform?

Israel and the U.S. – March 1

Modern Israel’s struggles with the Palestinians have turned what was meant as a safe haven for Jews into the center of a decades-long conflict. The U.S. has stepped in as Israel’s ally due to the two countries’ shared values, providing years of unparalleled military and diplomatic support. But now those ties are being tested. The Arab Spring, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, failed peace talks, and Israel’s own decision to give Washington the cold shoulder have put new strains on the 65-year-old “special relationship.”


Community Cinema

Tuesdays, February 11, March 11, April 8, June 10, 6pm
Fletcher Free Library

Community Cinema is a groundbreaking civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens and is a partnership between OLLI at UVM, Vermont Public Television, and the Fletcher Free Library. All films are screened at the Fletcher Free Library at 6pm and are followed by a lively panel discussion.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6pm
Fletcher Room
Dating from the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas is unlike any other. Las Marthas follows two Mexican American girls carrying this gilded tradition on their young shoulders during a time of economic uncertainty and political tension over immigration.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6pm
Fletcher Room
Medora, Indiana is a once-booming community beset by a crippled economy and a dwindling population. This documentary follows the town’s down-but-not-out varsity basketball team over a season, capturing the players’ stories on and off the court – as the team’s struggle to compete parallels the town’s fight for survival.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 6pm
Fletcher Room
The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers the famed boxer’s toughest bout of all: his battle to overturn the five-year prison sentence he received for refusing U.S. military service. The film explores Ali’s exile years when he was banned from boxing and found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 6pm
Fletcher Room
Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, The New Black takes viewers into the pews, the streets, and kitchen tables as it looks at how the African American community grapples with the divisive gay rights issue. Part of the Women and Girls Lead campaign.