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Monadnock Summer Lyceum returns in person June 26

  • Theo Wilson will be the first speaker of the Monadnock Summer Lyceum series June 26 at 11 a.m. He is giving a talk titled “From Enemies to Enlightenment: The Hidden Gift Within Racial Tension.” The talk will take place in person at the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church and will also be available to livestream online. —COURTESY PHOTO

  • The Monadnock Summer Lyceum at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peterborough. File photo—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/22/2022 10:28:44 AM

The Monadnock Summer Lyceum is set to return to in-person presentations this summer for the first time in two years. 

On June 26, the first event will take place at the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church at 11 a.m., preceded by live music from local artists at 10:30. Theo Wilson will present "From Enemies to Enlightenment: The Hidden Gift within Racial Tension." Masks will be required when indoors and vaccines will be requested. There will also be livestreams available.

Bob Haring-Smith, chair of the Monadnock Summer Lyceum board, is both excited to return in person and appreciative of the value of offering livestreams.

“We decided when COVID hit that we wanted to keep it going in some fashion,” he said. “We decided that we would continue to stream it (this year) because it reached people further afield, and also allowed us to have video recordings of the events.”

This is the lyceum’s 53rd formal year, although the idea was sparked by similar events that began in 1828. 

“A lyceum was founded by (the) Rev. Abiel Abbot at the (church),” said Haring-Smith. “He’s the same person who founded the library we still enjoy in Peterborough today.”

According to Haring-Smith, this original lyceum series lasted several decades but ultimately ended. Then, in 1970, the series started back up and has continued ever since.

Haring-Smith has lived in Peterborough since 2017, and called the series is an important part of summers in the Monadnock Region.

“It presents a variety of issues to people in this area,” Haring-Smith said. “It gets them talking, and generally contributes to the great culture here in town.”

All events are free to either attend or stream, and the planning committee is made up of volunteers. According to Haring-Smith, each speaker in the series is sponsored, which allows them to be paid honorarium, and all other expenses are funded through donation.

Wilson is a teacher, author and actor whose work has been informed by his experience with police brutality, the homicide of a childhood friend and awareness of the deaths of other Black people. He created a persona to infiltrate a white supremacist group online and learned lessons about humanity and the impact of social media. 

Haring-Smith noted particular excitement about Wilson’s talk.

“He seems to have come out of it with an interesting perspective, which I’m interested to hear,” Haring-Smith said.

Haring-Smith also mentioned the final talk by Lesley Carhart, “Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure: The Essentials,” as having interest to him, although he said that all of this summer’s speakers are appealing. 

“I think we have a terrific lineup all the way through,” he said.

To see the full list of speakers and get video links, visit monadnocklyceum.org.


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