Newsletter from the President (December 2021)

The end of a year is usually a time for reflection about the past year, and anticipation of the next.  I hope that you are well, and that living in the “most locked-down city in the world” has not weighed too heavily upon you.  In some of this time I have been very fortunate to discover previously unknown laneways, parklands, magnificent trees and gardens on many walks with a very enthusiastic dog that loves lockdowns!

Innovations at U3A Stonnington:  Hybrid sessions; a new Website;  Access to recorded lectures
We are looking forward to 2022 – to offering many of our activities to members face-to-face at Valetta Street and simultaneously to members at home – Hybrid sessions.  This meets both the preferences of members who want to be together at Valetta St, and of those who are unable come to Valetta St, or who may be concerned about COVID exposure – but all of whom wish to participate.

Please explore the new U3A Stonnington Website:  this has been redeveloped by a new team.  There are many items of interest, including a marvellous gallery showcasing some of the work of our artists, and some glimpses into the readings of our book discussion group.  Perhaps you may wish to enjoy the recording of a lecture that you missed in 2021, or to review a favourite one.  Do you need help with: showing your vaccination certificate on your smartphone? . . . using Zoom? . . . renewing membership and fee payment?  Help is on the Website, as well as key information such as dates, membership renewal and enrolment details.  We gratefully acknowledge the management of the Website previously provided by Netta Heine.

As you know, we are using U-MAS for Members.  Many of us will be able to independently renew and enrol in activities of interest in 2022.  Assistance will be available if needed.

A glimpse of the Course list for Semester 1
Our favourite year-long activities are returning in 2022, including current affairs, poetry, religion, Tai Chi, creative writing, film and book discussion, several activities for those with artistic inclinations, Chess, French and German.  It would be excellent if people who wish to play Bridge or MahJong would let us know so that these games could reappear at U3A with face-to-face activities at Valetta Street.

Dr Peter Schattner is offering a series of six lectures “Palestine:  From the Romans to the Ottomans, 135 CE to 1918”, and Dr Bill Breen a series of nine lectures:  “World War II in Europe” in which the major European campaigns in World War II are discussed in the light of recent scholarship.

Suzanne Collings will lead us around some stunning English gardens, and there are walks planned for local gardens.  “The Red Light District of Lt Lon” is the basis of one of several historical walks.  Single lectures on a wide variety of topics will also be on offer as usual.

We hope to have some celebratory occasions at Valetta Street as a welcome back to our U3A Stonnington home, COVID permitting.

Thank you – and best wishes to all!
I am very grateful for the ongoing contribution of our valued tutors and leaders and  for the dedication of a number of volunteers who continue to work to keep U3A Stonnington running smoothly, especially Dr Peter Ward, Dr Kay Stevens, Dr Roger Hilton, Daniela Furyk, Ian Singleton, Denise Nadebaum, Margaret Hay and A.Prof Robin Stevens.  Denise, ably assisted by Margaret and others including Sandra Beauchamp, manage membership details – an ongoing activity.  Mary Heinemann and her team of volunteers manage Reception whenever needed.

I hope that you enjoy your celebrations during this Festive Season.  Best wishes for a healthy, safe and happy year in 2022.  And I hope that this will be a year in which U3A Stonnington will play an important part, in your life.  

Elizabeth Brown