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Asilomar 2007 "Searching For Peace: Within, At Home, Abroad And Beyond"

Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association
21st Asilomar Conference, February 16-19, 2007

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The sun shone on 117 Phi Betes and their guests who joined together for our Association’s twenty-first annual conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove February 17-19, 2007.  President Jean James ordered weather that brought out the Monarch butterflies and one of our largest attendances on record.  If you were not able to enjoy the weekend, you may consult this web page , complete with pictures taken by Judson Goodrich.

Participants praised the quality of our speakers and the beauty of the venue, and, as in the past, many especially valued the opportunity to meet and converse with each other.  We are truly an organization of interesting, exceptional folks.

In addition to the intellectual and social aspects of Asilomar, the conference is a major contributor to our scholarship program.  Our net receipts this year amounted to more than $10,000–enough to fund two, $5000-graduate scholarships.  This money comes from the $100 per person registration fee; the part that isn’t used for expenses is totally tax-deductible. This year $88.92 of the $100 registration fee you paid in 2006 or in 2007 for Asilomar 2007 is tax-deductible. And for those of you who were not able to attend and graciously donated your registration fees, the entire $100 per person may be deducted.

We are already planning for next year.  If you did not turn in your evaluation questionnaire or would like to add comments, please send them to me.  Again we shall have outstanding women and men speakers from arts, sciences, and letters, and hope to continue the morning T’ai Chi. We are exploring the possibility of having a common reading with small group discussions, as well as the regular sessions.  Look for details in the September Newsletter.  If you have decided to attend, you may send me your registration fee now and be among those who receive their housing registration form as soon as it is available from Asilomar, usually prior to the September Newsletter.

This year we were fortunate to attract a large number of first-time participants.  To assure continued success of the conference, please pass the word along to others who have not attended this rewarding experience.  Our best advertisement is “word of mouth,” and the best place to pass the word is at our many other Association activities.  When you attend these events, please tell your friends about Asilomar and encourage them to join us.  Each individual who comes directly supports our scholarship program.

To see and hear our scholarship recipients and the outstanding teaching faculty whom we honor, attend our annual dinner this year, Sunday, May 6, at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club.


The conference program consists of a newcomers reception, three sessions of T’ai Chi with Diane, eight outstanding lectures and discussions, visiting with old and new friends, relaxing in your room, enjoying the fire in Hearst Hall, bicycling to Monterey, walking through the Pacific Grove butterfly zone, and shopping in Carmel, You may participate in as many or as few of these events as you like. Bicycles may be rented from the gift shop in Hearst Hall.

Friday, February 16, 2007 5:00-6:00 p.m. Newcomers Reception, Forest Lodge Suite

All those attending the conference for the first time are invited to a reception hosted by our President Jean James, where you will have an opportunity to meet one another and become acquainted with your NCA officers.


Steve Fox

Friday, February 16, 2007
7:45 p.m.

“Dispelling Myths about Civilian Internment in the U.S. during World War II: German and Italian Americans Under Siege."


Stephen Fox, Humboldt State University professor emeritus, earned his baccalaureate degree from DePauw University and his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. He is author of two books. UnCivil Liberties received an American Book Award in 1992 and was honored by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. His Fear Itself: Inside the FBI Roundup of German Americans in World War II, the Past as Prologue was published in 2005 ( Steve is an avid cyclist, crossing the U.S. twice and following on the wheels of the Tour de France a number of times. He and his wife, Francoise, have two children and three grandchildren.


Saturday, February 17, 2007
9:30 a.m.

“Speaking of Presidents!: Emily Dickinson, John Muir, and Thoreau–literary engagements with power politics on behalf of peace, civil rights, and environmental legislation.”

Barbara Mossberg is President Emerita of Goddard College and Director and Professor of Integrated Studies, California State University Monterey Bay. She is a poet and international author and lecturer on literary and cultural criticism and educational leadership and philosophy. Her poem “John Muir Takes a Sauna with the Finnish Ladies of Kuopio” won the Abbie M. Copps grand prize, and her book on Emily Dickinson won the Choice Award for an outstanding academic book. She is currently writing a book on John Muir. She has lectured and taught courses on both John Muir and Emily Dickinson as a Senior Distinguished Fulbright Scholar. She is dedicating her lecture to Senator J. William Fulbright, who designed his program specifically to promote understanding and world peace.


Saturday, February 17, 2007
1:30 p.m.

“Entering the Muslim Mind.”

John Provost is a philosophy instructor at Foothill College and a popular lecturer in Monterey Peninsula College’s Gentrain program. He grew up in San Francisco and worked on North Sea oilrigs before earning his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and a master’s in philosophy and religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He loves teaching, specializing in integral philosophy and contemplative spiritualities. He will discuss The Five Pillars of Islam, Islamic Law and Tradition, Muslim Spirituality, and the Sufis, a mystical branch of Islam.


Saturday, February 17, 2007
7:30 p.m.

“Expedition Four to the International Space Station.”

Daniel W. Bursch (captain, USN, ret.) was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Vestal, New York. He graduated with a major in physics from the US Naval Academy, from the naval flight school Pensacola, Florida, and from the Navy Test Pilot School. He has been Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he earlier earned his master’s degree. Currently he is the National Reconnaissance Chair. His duty stations included the USS JFK, USS America, USS Long Beach, and USS Midway, flying 35 different aircraft. As an astronaut he flew four missions, 227 days, including 196 on the International Space Station, which established the space flight endurance record for consecutive time in space. His program, which will discuss the challenges of living in space and space as the frontier for peace, will include pictures taken from the International Space Station, He is married with four children.

Added 2013-02-10 Published on Nov 19, 2012

In her final days as Commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams of NASA recorded an extensive tour of the orbital laboratory and downlinked the video on Nov. 18, just hours before she, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency departed in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. The tour includes scenes of each of the station's modules and research facilities with a running narrative by Williams of the work that has taken place and which is ongoing aboard the orbital outpost.

Watch this fantastic video. Click the small frame on the lower right of the image after starting the video to see this full-screen.


T’ai Chi with Diane.” Each morning on the patio in front of Kiln


Sunday February 18, 2007

Diane Bishop filled in for an ill speaker at the last moment. She is one of our own members, who was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at UC, Los Angeles, will teach us simple exercises for 30 minutes each morning before breakfast. (If it rains, we shall move indoors.)  She is a certified T’ai Chi for Arthritis instructor at Sierra College and uses the method of Dr. Paul Lam. His website describes the program as “warm-up, wind-down, Qigong exercises, special precautions and a set of 12 movement Sun-style T’ai Chi.” Wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes to calm those twinges in the hinges.


Sunday, February 18, 2007
1:30 p.m.

“A Career in Aviation: War, Peace, and Hollywood.”

Thomas McMurtry was a navy aviator in the Vietnam War and a test pilot and Associate Director of Operations at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Dryden Flight Research Center. Currently he shoots aerial scenes for Hollywood films (“United 93” and “12 Days”). A native of Indiana, he graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an ROTC commission in the Navy from Notre Dame University and later from the Navy Test Pilot School. He has over 11,000 hours flying in such aircraft as the F9F, A3D, A4D, F3D, F-8, F104, A-6, S-2, U2, the triple-sonic LYF-12C, X24B, and the shuttle carrier aircraft. He and our first speaker, Steve Fox, served together in a flight crew on board the USS Kitty Hawk.


Sunday, February 18, 2007
7:30 p.m.

“Being Iraqi after Saddam.”

David Siddhartha Patel is a pre-doctoral fellow with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. His research examines Islamic institutions and political action in a wide range of settings from 7th century garrison cities through the US-led occupation of Iraq. He has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East, including extended visits to Yemen, Morocco, Jordan and Iraq, where he spent seven months in Basra. He consults with the Council on Foreign Relations and is a repeated guest on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” This fall he will begin his appointment as Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University.


Monday, February 19, 2007
9:30 a.m.

 “Julia Morgan on Campus and at Home ”

Rory Keller and former PBKNCA President, Ray Hendess, stepped in at the last minute for an ill speaker.

Rory told us about Julia Morgan's education at UC Berkeley and L'Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, her career of designing nearly 700 buildings (of which 600 were built), including sixteen buildings at Asilomar (eight of which remain), Hearst Castle, many buildings in Berkeley and San Francisco, and six homes in Petaluma, including their own. They then gave us a virtual tour of their home, with the help of Ray's drawings, and finally, Rory lead a guided tour of the buildings at Asilomar. Some pictures of their Petaluma home are here. More information about Julia Morgan may be found here.

We are indebted to Bob and Dee Dee Baronian for their help in scheduling an outstanding group of lecturers and to Judson Goodrich for the Asilomar pictures on this page.

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