Did you compete in speech and debate in high school or college? Do you appreciate a hearty exchange of ideas from people who hold a dramatically different viewpoint than your own? If the answer to these questions is yes, do you have an outlet (other than the Thanksgiving table) to debate some of the more controversial issues of our time? Now you do!

Can Civil Discourse Be an Adventure? You Bet!

Road Scholar, the not-for-profit leader in educational travel is introducing a new series of six-day educational adventures focused on improving civil discourse. Hosted by Cornell University and in cooperation with the International Association for Senior Debate (IASD), this groundbreaking new program, titled “Artificial Intelligence: A Debate Workshop at Cornell University,” begins in October 2018.

The program enlists expert debate lecturers from the Cornell Debate Team, who will teach baby boomers and active lifelong learners a variety of debate formats and methods for analyzing arguments that they will then use during the program to engage in a series of informal debates on the Rapid Emergence of Artificial Intelligence Technology and Its Social Impact.

Older Adults Bring a Unique Perspective to Important Issues

According to Dr. Thomas L. Benson, the founder and President of the IASD, senior debates have sparked interest at both prestigious colleges like Cornell and several Lifelong Learning Institutes across the country because of the unique voice and perspective that older Americans bring to the table. Road Scholar is the first organization the newly founded association has partnered with, and Dr. Benson believes it’s an ideal match.

“Discourse in America seems to have reached a fever pitch, however understanding and resolution of some of our nation’s critical hot button issues are at an all-time low,” said Tom. “I founded this organization for seniors who want to learn how to debate contentious issues meaningfully and successfully, whether they be at the coffee shop or at the Thanksgiving dinner table. The organization also provides a rewarding way for thoughtful, engaged citizens to meet others who share their interest in frank and lively discussions of critical public policy issues. Road Scholar, with its educational mission and active and engaged participants, is the perfect partner, and we look forward to some lively debates in the months to come.”

In October, more than 25 Road Scholars, ranging in age from 60-80+, will gather at Cornell University for the first series of debates. Another debate in March 2019 is planned to discuss an even more controversial topic: United States Immigration Policy.

This Road Scholar Attendee Says it All!

Davis Todhunter and his wife, Patricia, Road Scholar Class of 2008, customarily attends Road Scholar adventures in the western states. With Patricia’s decline deeper into Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, it became necessary for her health and safety to place her in a memory care facility.

Davis, a retired engineer, was still caring for Pat and it was starting to take a physical and emotional toll on him. Friends and family suggested that he take some time just for himself; take a trip.

For the last few years, Davis had been reading about the various Road Scholar programs, much the way a kid looks through a toy catalogue at Christmas, and the formal debate program at Cornell University spoke to him. The subject, Artificial Intelligence, and the location, Ithaca, New York in October, sealed the deal. According to Davis, spending the week with a bunch of people wanting to expand their understanding of such an important contemporary topic, what could be better?

To learn more or enroll in this new program, please visit the Road Scholar website.

What do you think about the idea of incorporating debate and civil discourse into your travel plans? What issues would you like to see discussed in forums like the ones discussed in this article? Let’s have a chat!

About Road Scholar:

Road Scholar is the nation’s largest educational travel organization for adults — a true university of the world. This not-for-profit educational organization offers 5,500 extraordinary learning adventures in 150 countries and 50 states. Road Scholars are immersed in a variety of educational activities, enlisting renowned faculty and experts who offer insider access not available to most individuals. Dedicated to making educational travel available to everyone, Road Scholar offers financial aid for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs.

Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the not-for-profit world leader in educational travel for adults since 1975. To learn more, please visit Road Scholar’s website or their blog.

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