‘Issues & Insights’ Programs Commemorate World War I

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College’s Spring 2014 “Issues and Insights” will feature three programs discussing the various aspects and impacts of World War I, also known as the First World War, fought from July 28, 1914 through Nov. 11, 1918.

The programs will be held on Wednesdays, March 5 and 19 and April 2, 2014, 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The programs are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, March 5, the discussion topic will be “World War I in Perspective.” The program will start with introductory remarks and an overview by host Professor of History and Political Science Dr. Thomas Kolsky and History Professor Dr. Lawrence Backlund.  Backlund then will start the discussion with the “Decision in Berlin in Summer 1914: Meddling, Mediating, or Marching,” followed by Sociology Assistant Professor Dr. Mustafa Saatci who will address “World War I: Ottoman Choice by Default.” Then, Dr. Lowell Young, retired Villanova University assistant professor of history, will talk about “The American Role in World War I.”

On Wednesday, March 19, the second part of the series will focus on “World War I and the Creative Arts (Humanities).”  English Professor Dr. Peter Scheponik will discuss “Poetry and War: A Marriage Made in Hell,” English Associate Professor Dr. Mark Amdahl will address “War and Modern Memory,” and History Assistant Professor Dr. Anna Raskin will talk about “World War I and Russian Art.”

On Wednesday, April 2, the third and final part of the series will examine “Some Long-Term Consequences of World War I.” Sociology Assistant Professor Dr. Garvey Lundy will start the discussion with “World War I and the Process of Decolonization in Africa,” followed by Dr. Kolsky who will address “The Echoes of World War I in the Middle East Today,” and then the program will conclude with Drs. Backlund and Kolsky talking about the “Lessons of War.”

“Issues and Insights” is designed to expand awareness, share knowledge and shed light on major issues for both the campus and public communities. Dr. Kolsky has been organizing and hosting these in-depth panel discussions for 28 years, and the Spring 2014 program will be his last series, as he shifts his attention to more writing and lecturing.

Dr. Kolsky, who has taught at Montgomery County Community College since 1971, started hosting Issues & Insight programs in 1986, although the series did not officially take that name until 1999. The program’s purpose is to stimulate discussions about diverse topics, to invite the larger community to participate in an exchange of ideas, to share the academic talent of the College’s faculty and to invite outside guest scholars to share their insights.

Throughout the years, the programs covered a vast range of topics with more than 100 individual events. Some of the topics included:  “The Modern Jewish Experience,” “Focus on the Middle East,” The Reign of Error: The Marriage of Humor and Politics,” “Vietnam and Iraq Wars Compared,” “The Immigration question,” Millennial Reflections, 1999-2000,” “Tony Auth on Cartoons,” “Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ,” “September 11, 2001,” “Do Others Hate America?,” “Religion in American Life,” “The Genius of Islam,” “American Politics in the Obama Era,” ” Ben Franklin’s 300th Birthday,” “King James Bible at 400,” “The Great Recession and the American Dream,” “The American Gun Culture,” “Healthcare in America,” “What Arab Literature Teaches Us About Arab Society,” “Social Media and Interpersonal Relations,” “Brown v. Board of Education,” and “Lessons of War.” Additionally, the program has covered every election since 1996.

For more information, contact Dr. Thomas Kolsky at 215-641-6380 or tkolsky@mc3.edu.

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