There’s always something to learn

Sep 20, 2012

Ever have conversations with your children – or grandchildren – about what’s going on in the world?

The Creative Retirement Institute (CRI) at Edmonds Community College can help you show them you actually know more than they do.

Every term, CRI presents information and informed opinion, not available from the media, on international affairs.

Experts who know foreign nations well, often people retired from government service, teach these courses. Frequently, travelers who have recently returned from abroad are the instructors.

On Friday, Sept. 28, local political consultants Cathy Allen and Stanley Tsao, both from Seattle’s Connections Group, will talk about a recent incredible election in the Congo.

A year ago, David Suze, now a Parliament member in the Congo, was a teacher in the Northwest. With the help of local political leaders and friends, he started down the path to Congo’s legislature.

CRI’s Barbara Shotwell traveled for days on a bus to visit Suze’s district.

She says this CRI course, On Becoming a Global Citizen – the Congo Way, will show how individuals like you might do something to encourage another emerging democracy.

Jim Thyden, who served 16 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, will present classes on Foreign Policy in the Obama Administration.  They get underway on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

“I hope to give students a better understanding of how foreign policy may affect them personally,” he says.

Topics will include relations with Russia and China, Iran’s nuclear program, and Pakistan as an unreliable ally.

Burma: Is There Hope? will be the course taught by Bob Rinehart, who had a 30-year career in the Central Intelligence Agency, including tours in Europe and Asia.

“We’ll look at Burma’s long-standing and frustrating struggles with its movement toward ‘democracy’ and gain a better appreciation of this country,” he says.

He’ll discuss the language and culture of Burma, trace its history from colonialism to a military dictatorship, and evaluate the hoped-for emergence of democracy.

Classes will begin Wednesday, Oct. 24.

“Students should learn that Central Asia is a complex region with a deep, rich history,” says Brett Walton, whose course will focus on the five “stans,” namely, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Walton has lived in Kazakhstan and taught school there.

He insists this region often gets “a bum rap,” because the media concentrate on its reputation as a staging ground for the Afghanistan war.

“But we should also know about the nomadic traditions, the stunning architecture, and the soul-lifting Alpine beauty,” he insists.

His course, Central Asia: Culture, History, and Current Events, will start Tuesday, Nov. 20.

You can learn more about these and other CRI offerings by phoning 425-640-1830 and asking for a free brochure.

This column has an early deadline, and these courses are popular. Some may already be filled. However, courses of this sort are offered every term, something you might keep in mind.

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