January 2015

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Happy New Year!

Open House and Info Session

Faculty Profile: Beverly Allen

Volunteer Profile: Christine Werme

Travel Study


The Lunch Bunch

Member Benefits

Susan Hoffman

Program Coordinator
Nicole Magnuson

Classroom and Facilities Coordinator
Eric Anthony

Communications Coordinator
Jennifer Monahan

Program Assistants (Interim)
Devon Howland
Aileen Kim
tel. 510.642.9934

Happy New Year!  

Best wishes for 2015 from all of us here
at OLLI! We look forward to another year of programs and building community.

Winter 2015 Open House and Info Session 

Open House

Tuesday, January 6, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison St., Berkeley
Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Lafayette Info Session (focus on Lafayette programs and Travel Study)
Thursday, January 8, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Community Hall, Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette

All are welcome! No need to register in advance!

No Classes February 16

Presidents' Day, Monday, February 16, 2015, is a University holiday. There will be no OLLI classes, and OLLI's administrative offices will be closed.
Faculty Profile: Beverly Allen
by Hilary Kaiser, OLLI member

"I think my professional life is entirely coherent, but others might not see it that way," said Professor Beverly Allen in our recent interview. "First, I studied music, and this got me interested in how meaning is created. So I studied Italian, which is a very musical language. In fact, my first studies were in Italian poetry, so you can see the connection. This led me to doing a Ph.D. in Italian, teaching, and writing books and articles about Italian poets, filmmakers, and national identity. Then, in 1992, one of my former students at Stanford who was of Bosnian and Croatian heritage brought me translated testimonies of girls who had survived the Serbian nationalist rape camps. I had read nothing about this here in the U.S. and at first I didn't believe it. As I read more and more, something clicked in my mind, and I knew I had to do something. From there came more than a decade of investigative research and work on the rapes in Bosnia."


In 1996, Allen published Rape Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, a book that is said to have influenced the U.N.'s creation of a new international law making rape a Crime Against Humanity. She served as consultant to the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and has worked as a consultant, expert, and adviser for various other organizations. She has done fundraising and organizing for international conferences, including two in Zagreb; one was on genocidal rape during the war in the Balkans and the other on postmodern perspectives on democracy.


A distinguished professor emerita at Syracuse University who has recently taught courses at the Graduate Theological Union and Stanford's Continuing Studies program, Allen has received numerous professional honors and has published books and articles on Italian literature, film, and culture. She is also a prize-winning literary translator and screenwriter. Two of her screenplays, His Name Is Daniel and The Bitter Chalice, are set in Bosnia. The Bitter Chalice won a prize in 2010 for the Best Feature-Length Screenplay at Rome's Independent Film Festival. She has written a stage play and is working with a friend, a renowned opera singer, on a romance.


She has also completed a memoir, entitled One Yarn: Memories of War, Peace and Knitting. "Knitting?" I ask. I find out that knitting is a theme and an activity dear to Allen's heart. She learned as a girl, "forgot it," and then started up again in 1999 after her mother's death. "I've met knitters who've inspired me in war zones, in upscale suburbs--all over the place. It's a wonderful thing to do," she says, regretting that when she works too much, her knitting suffers!  


Allen's parents were Swedish immigrants. She loves Sweden, goes there often, and speaks "enough Swedish to get by." She says that Italy is "the antidote" to her Swedish background and upbringing and that her Swedish roots balance her Italian passion. She has lived in Italy for thirteen years and speaks fluent Italian.


Just before rushing off to buy a zipper for the sweater she's knitted for her son for Christmas, Allen tells me she's very much looking forward to teaching at OLLI but wants to stress that her course is not "a travelogue." Her goal is for students to learn as much as possible, so she will only take two or three short, non-anecdotal questions at the end of each lecture. But she encourages the class to get together on their own to share their experiences about their trips to her beloved Italy.


Volunteer Profile: Christine Werme
by Gale Lederer, OLLI member

 "We're still recovering from the Gold Rush," says marine biologist and OLLI enthusiast Christine Werme, who abounds with interesting information. "It's only recently that sediment from the Mother Lode stopped washing down and filling the Bay." Seeking new ways to work in their field, Chris and her marine biologist husband Mike Connor migrated from Boston to the Bay Area in 2002, though Chris still consults for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.


Looking for community, Chris and Mike joined OLLI @Berkeley. "Relations with people are the most valuable part of OLLI," says Chris, but she also waxes eloquent about OLLI courses such as Marty Pollard's paleontology class. "He brought in young faculty members, post-docs, and Ph.D. candidates," she tells us. "They were amazing young people doing fabulous, cutting-edge work. I'd like to see this model used more often in OLLI classes." Chris also praises professor Linda Rugg: "She manages her classes superbly. She puts everything into context and can make anything interesting--from Bergman through the Icelandic sagas." And then there was Judith Coburn's course on Food and Memoir: "She gave us the most wonderful, unexpected writing assignments. I couldn't wait to get home and start on them."


In addition to OLLI and marine biology, Chris and Mike enjoy hiking and traveling, often with friends. Last year, they walked France's Robert Louis Stevenson trail: 16 days, 158 miles, 28,900 feet up, 30,400 feet down. They have also explored off-the-beaten-track Vietnam and Burma during a number of trips organized by Volunteers in Asia, and visit their anthropologist daughter who lives part time in Norway and works on immigrant issues.


Chris regularly volunteers with OLLI as a class assistant and helps with events such as Open House. "Volunteering is easy and it enhances your OLLI experience," she tells us. "You meet a lot of  great people and it's fun to get to know the staff. I can't recommend it enough."

Summer Travel Study
History and Culture of Spanish and French Catalonia
June 1-12, 2015
Discover  Catalonia--its language, its culture, its centuries of  history, and  its rich gastronomic traditions--in this 12-day travel study tour led  by Alex Saragoza. Offered in conjunction with Cal  Discoveries, the  trip will take you to  Barcelona, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Collioure, Figueras, and other wonderful sights.
Learn more. 

The Art of Public History and Remembrance in Berlin, Germany 
June 12-25, 2015
Join OLLI instructors and historians Cecilia O'Leary (CSU Monterey Bay) and Tony Platt (UC Berkeley) in this travel study tour organized in collaboration with Road Scholar. See how Germany commemorates the holocaust, Nazism, and World War II. Learn how museums, public art, and memorials engage history. Experience the city's lively cultural life through informative tours, dinners, music, and art exhibitions.
Learn more.

You can meet Alex Saragoza, Cecilia O'Leary and Tony Platt at the Lafayette info session on Thursday, January 8. Bring your questions! See above for time and place.

Help Plan OLLI's Future: Member Survey Coming January 9

Is OLLI offering the right kinds of courses? The right kinds of member activities and support? How should OLLI grow? Help us plan our future by giving your feedback in a five-minute anonymous survey that will be sent via email to all OLLI members next Friday, January 9.   


OLLI in the News

OLLI volunteer Franette Armstrong's article about Alex Saragoza's  upcoming "Hands on the Vines" class appeared in the December 30 issue of the Lamorinda Weekly.  

Read the article.  



The Lunch Bunch

by Lucille Poskanzer, OLLI member 


Tamon Tea

2055 A Center St., between Shattuck Ave. and Milvia St. 

Berkeley, CA 94704




This very small storefront, convenient to OLLI classrooms, offers home-style Japanese cooking, especially a variety of onigiri (rice balls) made to order, as well as all kinds of other interesting dishes, some spicy and some soothing. There are a few tables, but most people--especially Berkeley High kids--come here for takeout, which makes for a busy and crowded lunch hour. However, the food is worth the wait, prices are very moderate, and it is a totally different experience that's worth a try.

Member Benefits

Members of OLLI @Berkeley have access to the full range of OLLI programming and receive a Student ID card that is honored for discounts at a variety of campus and community locations. See offer details on OLLI's website and be sure to show your OLLI student ID.  

OLLI members age 50 and over will receive a $10 discount on a $50 Senior Citizen annual membership at CAA.
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OLLI members can join the UC Botanical Garden as Cal Affiliates (see Cal Affiliate Membership) and save $15 on an $55 annual membership.

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Show your OLLI student card and get 10% off on food and non-alcoholic beverages (when ordered with food).
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10% off on food and beverages from the "a la carte" menu. Valid weekdays only.
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10% off on  food and beverages purchased in-store, or on take-out orders of $20 or more. 1984 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley.
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Berkeley Arts and Letters offers a 50% student discount to OLLI members on advance tickets purchased through their website.
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Berkeley Symphony is offering a 10% discount on single tickets to OLLI members for the 2014-15 Season at Zellerbach Hall.
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OLLI @Berkeley is a stimulating community of inquiring adults, age 50 and above, exploring new areas of knowledge and traditional disciplines through courses, lectures, and events.

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