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About five times each academic year, Shared Learning presents experts from academia, journalism, and other professions who give talks geared towards a literate adult audience. These are free and open to the public and are scheduled for Fridays at 11:15 a.m.

Committee members: Rob David, Greg Hesterberg, Barry Lentz, Meyer Liberman (Chair), Doug Shier

This season’s lectures:

Upcoming —

February 3, 2023:  Neil S. Siegel, Ph.D., David W. Ichel Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science and Director of the D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy, Duke Law School:  Sustaining the Legitimacy of the Supreme Court“:  Prof. Siegel clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and was special counsel to then-Senator Biden on multiple Supreme Court confirmation hearings.


March 3, 2023: Prof. William J. Evans, Division of Geriatrics, Duke University Medical Center and Department of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley: “Biomarkers: The Determinants of Aging That You Can Control”.
Dr. Evans is the author or co-author of more than 300 publications in scientific journals. He will present information on how aging changes nutritional needs and how specific exercises can improve strength and vitality. Topics include: –What is the best diet for the rest of your life? –How can what you eat preserve muscle mass and reduce fat? –What are the most important lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and physical frailty?


Past —

October 7th: Dr. Steven A. Grant, U.S. Information Agency (retired), an expert on modern Russian history.  His talk is titled “Dueling Russias: Understanding Today’s Headlines on the War in Ukraine.”

To understand the war in Ukraine it is important understand Russia itself, in terms of its own past and its present and the record of Russia and her relationship to the world in general. There one uncovers perceptions and misperceptions which are the real drivers of today’s headlines.  Download HERE a more detailed description of the talk and our speaker’s biography.

The talk and the Q&A session afterwards were recorded.  The recordings are available here:

Link to lecture video

Link to lecture audio

Link to Q&A video

Link to Q&A audio

December 2nd: Professor Rongmon Bordoloi, NC State University: “How the Webb Space Telescope Ushers in a New Era of Space Exploration”

Dr. Rongmon Bordoloi, Assistant Professor of Physics, NC State University described the incredible effort that went into creating the greatest space telescope of all time and the features that allow it to delve further into the past than astronomers and cosmologists have ever gone before and to reveal previously unavailable information about chemical composition.

This flyer provides more detailed information about this presentation.

The recording of the lecture is here.

January 13, 2023:  Klaus Larres, Ph. D., Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science, UNC:  “What to do about Beijing?  China as a Cause of Transatlantic Tension and Global Concern”

The recording of Prof. Larres’ lecture is here.  

During Professor Klaus Larres’ January 13, 2023, well received Shared Learning Lindgren Lecture on “What to do about Beijing? China as a Cause of Transatlantic Tension and Global Concern”, he was asked about the possibility of the influence of the Russia – Ukraine war might have upon China’s relationship with Taiwan. For perspective on this question, Professor Larres offered the following recent article of his as published by “The Well”, the UNC news source for faculty and staff.  Will the Russia Ukraine War Last Forever?

 Klaus Larres, Ph. D., Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs at UNC-CH.  He is Director of the Krasno Global Affairs & Business Council/Krasno Events Series at UNC.  He served as a Counselor and Senior Policy Adviser at the German Embassy in Beijing, China in 2018.  He is an expert on contemporary U.S. and China and S.E. Asia.


Serious disagreements over China have been simmering under the surface of the transatlantic alliance since the 1980s. The Ukraine war has led to a thorough coordination of US and EU policies with regard to Russia. Regarding China, however, only a limited transatlantic realignment has occurred. While current US/EU policy coordination regarding China is much better, deep transatlantic divisions remain. There has been a gradual hardening of the EU position toward Beijing in the last few years. Nevertheless, it does not wish to get into an “open confrontation” with China or “decouple” from the country.
Neither EU nor the much firmer US strategies have been successful. China has exploited the ’benign’ European and German approaches – Beijing, for instance, has not stopped plagiarizing and stealing European technological knowhow. The ’tough’ Obama, Trump and Biden administration policies have resulted in trade wars and contributed to growing political and dangerous military tension with China. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August 2022 visit to Taiwan has enflamed tensions further.
This Lindgren Lecture will explore the EU/US/China relationship status and explore available options to prevent the situation from escalating beyond control.

Biography of the speaker:

Prof. Klaus W. Larres, Ph.D., is the Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs at UNC Chapel Hill, NC. As well as Director of the Krasno Global Affairs & Business Council/Krasno Global Events Series. Recently he has served as a Counselor and Senior Policy Adviser at the German Embassy in Beijing, China. Previously he held the Henry Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy & International Relations at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, was selected as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and was a Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and at St. Johns College, Oxford University. He has taught at Yale, Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington, DC, Tsinghua University, Beijing, the Beijing Language and Culture University, the University of London and Queen’s University Belfast. He was educated at the University of Cologne in Germany and the London School of Economics (LSE) in the UK.Professor Larres focuses on transatlantic US-China-EU relations. He also works on German and British foreign policies, European integration, the history and politics of the Cold War as well as German-American relations and global leadership and governance questions.

Between 1995 and 2021, Professor Larres, 10 books by Professor Larres have been published, including his latest entitled Uncertain Allies: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Threat of a United Europe (Yale University Press, November 2021).

On January 28, 2021, Professor Larres delivered the very well received Lindgren Lecture entitled “Uncertain Allies: the U.S. and the Threat of a United Europe”.


Presentations from previous years —

April 1, 2022 — “Why We Can’t Just Get Along: The Partisan Divide in a Period of Intense Polarization”.

Professor Hetherington has authored or co-authored six books, three on partisan polarization, discussing the evolution of this divide over the past two decades. In addition, his work includes volumes on political trust and public policy more generally.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, our spreaker received his PhD from the University of Texas. His academic career has included appointments at Vanderbilt, Bowdoin College, Princeton and the University of Virginia.

February 25, 2022 — “Unfinished Journey: Health Care Reform in the Biden Administration and Beyond”

Dr. Jonathan Oberlander, Professor of Social Medicine and Health Policy Management at UNC Chapel Hill.

The subject reflects Dr. Oberlander’s leadership role in UNC’s Depts. of Social Medicine and Health Policy & Management and his adjunct appointment in the UNC Department of Political Science.   His research interests include:  health care politics and policy; health care reform; Medicare; American politics; and public policy more generally.

January 25, 2022 — “Uncertain Allies: The U.S. and the Threat of a United Europe”.

Dr. Klaus Larres is the UNC Distinguished Professor of History and International Affairs,   Professor Larres addressed highly relevant current US-Europe relations, their Nixon/Kissinger era origins and the current state of US-European cooperation (or partial non-cooperation) regarding China and Russia.

Dr. Larres is well-known to the broader Chapel Hill community as Director of the Krasno Global Events Series which brings major academic and governmental speakers to UNC in monthly lectures open to the public.  Larres focuses on transatlantic US-China-EU relations.  His work also includes German and British foreign policies, European integration, the history and politics of the Cold War, German-American relations and global leadership and governance questions.  Larres’ 10 books include his most recent volume, Uncertain Allies: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Threat of a United Europe (Yale University Press, November 2021).

October 22nd, 2021  —  “Epigenetics and the Histone Code orThings Mom Didn’t Have to Teach Me.”

Professor Brian Strahl, Professor and Interim Chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UNC Chapel Hill

Each cell in our body contains ~3.4 billion base pairs, which, if stretched out from end to end, would be 6 ft in length, but somehow fits into a cell nucleus only about 10 μm (~0.00001 yards) in diameter. How our DNA is packaged into the nucleus and then unwound for gene expression and protein synthesis (both critical to cell identity and fetal development) is still poorly understood. Brian Strahl, co-Director of the UNC Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics, is at the forefront of deciphering how DNA is packaged and then unwound for expression. DNA packaging and unwinding is largely mediated by a class of proteins called histones. Brian’s lab has been studying these proteins and the small chemical additions that occur on them or they make to DNA (e.g., adding or deleting phosphate or methyl groups).

Download full flyer HERE.

Other recent Lindgren Lectures included:   Katie Ziglar, Director of the Ackland Art Museum speaking on Behind the Scenes at the Ackland; Nancy MacLean, Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke, speaking on Democracy in Chains; Jason West, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, UNC, speaking on Global Climate Change: What it Is, Why it Matters, and What We Should Do About It; Paul Cuadros, Assoc. Prof. of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC and author of “A Home on the Field” speaking on Immigration: A Perspective of Multi-generational Hispanics in Siler City.

Other previous speakers include many other UNC and Duke faculty including Eric Meyers, Gerhard Weinberg, Jonathan Weiler; William Ferris; Daniel Ariely; Gene Nichol; William Leuchtenberg; Richard Kohn; Klaus Steiner and James Stimson.