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Loudoun Newsletter

Happy Winter Loudoun Newsletter


Welcome to a few days of warmer weather and then back into the deep freeze. It certainly has been a long break between semesters and I know a great many of you are getting antsy for the beginning of classes. Let me show you some of the great Loudoun classes being offered and then some thoughts on meetings and programs.

L307 The Water World of Ancient Egypt Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 6–Feb. 13 Two sessions Instructor: John Gaudet Ten thousand years ago, the Sahara and Egypt were extraordinarily verdant, lush places with water in excess. Large lakes, interlinked with waterways and thousands of rivers, produced aquatic conditions until 5000–3000 BC. Then the climate changed as the earth tilted, rains stopped, deserts formed, and man moved on as the Sahara dried out. In ancient days the swamps along the Nile River and in the delta were important wet refuges that served man and made up a “water world” in Egypt. The early inhabitants of this region developed rich agricultural land along the river floodplain in tune with the cycle of annual inundations. This course will discuss and illustrate this water world and how it acted as a great natural buffer, a sustainable reserve that was later cleared and developed to make way for the irrigated world of Pharaonic times, a period that began with the arrival of water-lifting techniques.  John Gaudet is a writer, lecturer, and ecologist whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, and Huffington Post. He authored The Iron Snake, a historical novel about a railroad that affected millions in Africa. His most recent book, Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World, is available on

L308  Henry Kissinger and the American Approach to Foreign Policy Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14  Instructor: Greg Cleva More than 40 years have passed since Henry Kissinger served as America’s secretary of state, yet he continues to enjoy prominence in our public life and throughout the global community. His views are sought by congressional committees and foreign policy groups, and his articles on international issues appear in distinguished journals and newspapers. The major focus of this class is the historical philosophy that Kissinger developed as a Harvard undergraduate in the late 1940s. He drew upon such thinkers as Immanuel Kant, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, and the German historicists. It was this historical philosophy Literature, Theater, and Writing that he later applied to studying and understanding world politics, particularly the period culminating in the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) and the actions of such statesmen as Metternich, Talleyrand, and Castlereagh. This was the philosophy that informed Kissinger’s criticism of the American approach to foreign policy in the 1950s and 1960s, prior to his assuming the office of national security advisor in the first Nixon presidency, and that supported his diplomatic work in that position. Greg Cleva has a PhD in international politics from the Catholic University of America and is a retired foreign affairs analyst with the Department of Defense.

Two wonderful classes and lots to take away from each.

Loudoun program committee will be having a meeting on January 24th at 2:15 which we invite you to come visit. We are planning for summer and fall courses. We would love to hear from you as our Loudoun program is growing and we need your help, ambition and joy of teaching. It is fun, exhilarating and you meet so many interesting people. Please come and lend us your visions.

Be a founding member of a Loudoun club!  Loudoun is holding organizational meetings at the Signal Hill Plaza campus on Thursday, Feb 8 for following three clubs:

1)      non-fiction club – 2:00-2:30pm

2)      classical music club – 2:30-3:00pm

3)      collections club – 3:00-3:30pm

Join us and help shape the nature and composition of these clubs.  Things we will discuss include: coordinator/alt coordinator, when and how frequently to meet, how to structure the meetings and topics to be explored.  Your participation will help give these clubs a running start.  And just think of the social aspects and comradery that you would enjoy!

Hopefully the weather will allow us four full weeks of classes this year. Drive safely and see you in class.

Kathie West
Loudoun Newsletter Editor