Lecture Series Overview

Suggest A  Speaker


We hold four lecture series each year. During the fall and spring semesters, lectures are held on Friday afternoons from 1:30-2:30 pm. In January and May, we hold lectures six to eight mornings from 10:00-11:00 am. Lectures are held in large lecture rooms.

In the past 30 years, more than 1200 speakers have given a lecture at OLLI. Topics range from art, music, and literature to public policy, economics, and politics to astrophysics, history, and sports. We strive to present experts on a wide range of issues.

Below is a sampling of lectures offered during 2016-2018.

  • The American Songbook, Donnie McKethan
  • The Changing Face of American Sports, George Solomon
  • A Conversation with Marty Baron, Editor, The Washington Post
  • The Criminalization of Poverty, Peter Edelman
  • The Dreamers' Story, Donald  Graham
  • Life Is Polyrhythmic, Ysaye Barnwell
  • Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016, Allan Lichtman
  • Washington National Opera as Classic, Contemporary, and American, Francesca Zambello
  • Who Gets What: Victim Compensation After Tragedy, Kenneth Feinberg
  • Will There Ever Be Peace in the Middle East?, Elliott Abrams


Each lecture series is announced about one month ahead of time through our email list and e-newsletter as well as in paper format available in the OLLI Social Spaces or Office on the fifth floor.

Due to limited seating, reservations through Eventbrite are required to attend lectures. 

Member Reservations: We e-mail the registration link to current members at 8:30 AM on the Tuesday preceding the next week’s lecture(s). 

Non-Member Reservations: We e-mail the registration link to non-members at 8:30 AM on the Wednesday preceding the next week’s lecture(s). The registration link is also placed at that time on the website.

Each registrant may reserve one seat. Your name must be on the list of registrants to enter the lecture and you must be in your seat five minutes before the lecture starts to guarantee your seat.  


Why We Use Eventbrite
We often have overflow crowds at many of our lectures. Due to fire code, we have to limit the number of people who can attend lectures. Rather than turn people away at the door,  we use Eventbrite, which is a free, widely used event-management website and app. Please take the time to read the directions below.

How to Use Eventbrite

  1. When you receive the email announcing the lectures, or find the link on the webpage, click on the link below the lecture description. That will take you to the Eventbrite page for the lecture.

  2. On the Eventbrite lecture page, click on the green "REGISTER" button on the lower right.

  3. A pop-up window with the lecture name will appear. Select 1 ticket. Click on the green "CHECKOUT" button. 

  4. You will have 8 minutes to finish your registration. Enter your first name, last name, email address, and confirm your email address. Click on the green "Complete Registration" button. A confirmation screen wlll appear and you will receive an email with your ticket(s). You are done.

You do not need to bring your ticket to the door. We will have a list at the door of individuals with reservations.

Suggest A Speaker

To broaden members' exposure to a wide range of expertise, speakers are drawn from the federal government, universities, arts organizations, media, think tanks, and other institutions in the Washington metropolitan area. The Lecture Committee, made up of 12 to 18 OLLI members, researches and reviews potential speakers. Emphasis is placed on offering a series with a diverse group of speakers and topics.

Study Group Leaders cannot give lectures. Members can register for study groups led by individuals in whom they are interested. Also, since more than 120 individuals serve as Study Group Leaders throughout the year, the lecture schedule cannot possibly accommodate all, or even, most of them. 

To recommend a speaker, please call the office at 202-895-4860 or email olli@american.edu.