Quest Learning Community

A communal learning experience for adults
designed to expand one's intellectual and social world.

Contemporary Issues

These courses are offered by the Quest Lifelong Learning Community. For more information on Quest, click here and also see more details at the bottom of this page.


Coordinators: Steve Allen, Jane Lubin

Each summer, the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York offers lectures by leading public intellectuals on a wide range of topics. Our course will select one talk from previous Chautauqua seasons for each class— we will watch a 45-minute video of the talk followed by 45 minutes of class discussion. We will try to be guided by Chautauqua’s guidelines for robust civic dialogue, which we will discuss in the class.


Coordinators: Bob Gottfried, Sandy Frank, Ellen Gottfried, Glenn Johnston

In this course we investigate world-wide issues. The presenter selects a critical international topic based on an article published in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Economist or other reliable source that includes essential foreign issues. The last thirty minutes of the class are dedicated to questions and discussion.


Coordinators: Stephen Baker, Pete Weishis

This course will continue discussion of islands, focusing not on islands as part of a region but rather on specific insular entities be they single countries confined to an island, multiple islands united as one nation or two countries sharing one isolated land mass but divided by a vertical border. Each of these water-girt nations shares a colonial past and an uncertain future, interesting in its own right and of particular fascination for each presenter. A partial list includes Indonesia, New Guinea, Madagascar, and Hispaniola.


Coordinators: Michael Wellner, David Judlowitz, Bob Gottfried

It is not just a TV crime series. It is a topic which is galvanizing the American public. Crime in all its forms, including “white collar” and cyber crime, make headlines every day. Are the police properly trained and equipped to meet modern challenges? Why are so many Americans in prison? Guns, guns and more guns? Surveillance? Is justice available to all through the legal systems? America is divided internally about many of these matters. Why? Join us as we discuss these subjects in depth, and see if we can come up with any solutions.


Coordinators: Barbara Gordon,Bob Hartmann, Terri Hicks

This is an interactive discussion class in which both the coordinators and class members bring in short opinion pieces—editorials, op-ed articles, reviews, etc. A vote is taken on which pieces to discuss that day and individuals argue their views.


Coordinators: Peter Fleischman, Steve Allen, Marion Schulthies

Managing money in retirement is one of the most important responsibilities Quest members have for themselves and their families. It’s a complex decision balancing current spending needs, future spending needs, bequests, investment choices, and the selection of an investment advisor. The goal of the course is to learn from each other, thereby making ourselves better and smarter money managers. In addition, we will have some sessions in which one or two money management topics are presented. Topics that may be presented include asset allocation; risk and risk tolerance; market conditions; ETFs and the types of brokers and advisors with whom we interact; and the meaning of a “fiduciary”.


Coordinators: Sandra Abramson, Diane Crothers, Diane Reynolds

As the Women’s Movement that exploded in the 1960s opened up opportunities for girls and women, it also provided opportunities for women’s voices to be heard. We can see this in many forms—from music and books to art, from corporate board rooms to legislatures and executive offices. We’ll listen to these voices and look at the impact they have had on life in America for everyone. We’ll explore how class, race, sex, gender and ethnic diversity amplify, modulate and transform these voices.

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