Quest Lifelong Learning Community and Continuing Education for Older Adults in NYC

Spring 2021 Schedule / Contemporary Issues

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


Coordinators: Ann Goerdt, Bob Reiss, Bob Gottfried

It is important to learn about a continent that is not well known in the U.S. African history is not taught in schools, so we have little basis on which to build knowledge and understanding of the countries that we occasionally hear about in the news. This course will address questions such as: How developed are the countries of Africa? Which countries are most active in the world economy? What interest does the U.S. have in African countries? What role is China playing in Africa? How are countries alike, and different, from north to south, east to west?

B WEEK / MONDAY / 10:30am to 12:00pm


Coordinators: Stephen Baker, Pete Weis

Defining a nation-state and its subnational components requires physical delineation acknowledged by those within and beyond its geographic limits. Establishment of boundaries is vital, and borders and boundaries have often been a key component of history. This course will discuss boundary formation for our 13 original states and for newer states in which boundaries were formulated before non-indigenous populations had accumulated within them. Next, we will discuss our national borders and the problems engendered by Covid restrictions. Finally, we address global examples in which the imposition of borders remains a nagging source of tension.

B WEEK / THURSDAY / 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Coordinators: Arlynn Greenbaum, Bob Reiss, Estelle Selzer, Phyllis Weiss

The Guest Lecture Series enhances the Quest program experience by inviting recognized experts in their fields to present varied subjects. Past presentations have included discussions of global policy and political science, anthropology, literature, theater arts, social science, and music.

B WEEK / WEDNESDAY / 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Coordinators: Diane Crothers, Sandra Abramson, Sheryl Harawitz, Diane Reynolds

The Rebellion is afoot and change begins with looking within ourselves and our role in society. Worldwide protests have called attention to systemic racism in American society which damages Black lives. All are welcome to join this exploration of the often unacknowledged ways white people participate in and benefit from systemic racism. All of us can choose to perpetuate or work to change these systems.

B WEEK / WEDNESDAY / 10:30am to 12:00pm


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

In this course we investigate worldwide issues. The presenters will select an issue of importance to discuss. There will be time for class discussion.

A WEEK / TUESDAY / 10:30am to 12:00pm


Coordinators: Michael Wellner, Bob Gottfried, David Judlowitz

It is not just a TV crime series; it’s a topic which has galvanized virtually every segment of our society.  Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; White Supremacy; reparations for over 200 years of slavery; statues of Confederate leaders; crime in all its forms; what to do about the police; what’s happening in the courts?  Guns, guns and more guns? Surveillance?  Is justice available to all? America is divided internally about many of these matters. Join us as we discuss these subjects in depth, and see if we can come up with any solutions.

B WEEK / MONDAY / 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Coordinators: Terri Hicks, Barbara Gordon, Bob Hartmann

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.

B WEEK / THURSDAY / 10:30am to 12:00pm


Coordinators: Palma Mahl, Steve Allen, Joyce West

Quest Members have a wide diversity of interests and experiences. Each session is a chance to encounter something new or an encore of a talk that will be new to many members. As a presenter, you will have free rein to develop a subject otherwise not covered in the curriculum. As an audience member, you may find a fresh interest or learn more about a topic you always wondered about.

A WEEK / THURSDAY / 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Coordinators: Diane Crothers, Barbara Barnes, Judy Hampson,
Penelope Pi-Sunyer

By reading and discussing historical and contemporary accounts of Black lives, we hope to gain a better understanding of those lives and the current condition of every life in our country. We will explore Black lives through readings in individual biographies and political, social, and cultural movements.

This semester we will be reading

  • Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Land, and Jenifer Frank;
  • Bryan G. Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative’s
    Reconstruction in America: Racial Violence after the Civil War, 1865-1876;
  • Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, by John Lewis and Michael D’Orso;
  • A Promised Land, by Barack Obama;
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors.

A WEEK / MONDAY / 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Coordinators: Sandra Abramson, Diane Reynolds

As the Women’s Movement that exploded in the 1960’s and has continued to today 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 to books to art to the corporate boardrooms to the floors of legislatures and executive offices in governments all around the country.  We’ll listen to these voices and look at the impact.  We’ll explore how class, race, sex, gender and ethnic diversity amplify, modulate and transform these voices.

Presentations will be held to 20-25 minutes and the remainder of the class will be open for attendees to talk about their personal experiences. We will look at women in politics, theater and film, in law, and as professors, teachers, lawyers, librarians, and mothers.