Fall Minis tackle big topics

By Neale McDevitt

It has lasted as long as the award-winning TV sitcom Seinfield and, while not as zany as Kramer and the rest of the crew, McGill’s Mini lecture series shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

The popular public outreach program will kick off its ninth season in October with a trio of topical issues pulled from the front pages of the newspaper – the economy, the environment, and medicine.

First up is the Principal’s Mini, Insights for Turbulent Times, a series of seven lectures that will explore various aspects of the global financial crisis. Running from Oct. 13 to Nov 24, the Principal’s Mini marks a

new direction of sorts by being the first-ever mini to be cross-faculty and inter-disciplinary.

“So much of the work going on at McGill is intra-faculty, we thought it would be a good way to showcase how we work together,” said Kappy Flanders, who helped found the series back in 2001 with the inaugural Mini-Med and currently sits on the Minis Steering Committee.

Mini-Enviro also debuts this fall. Beginning on Oct. 19 and running through Nov. 23, the series will cover a wide array of topics including the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss, climate change, species invasions and emerging diseases, and sustainable energy and food production.

The fall season will be capped off by the granddaddy of them all, Mini-Med. Running from Oct. 21 through Nov. 25, the oldest-running Mini will take audience members on an informative tour of the world of

the senses.

With an audience that Flanders says has ranged from “12 to 99” and attracts everyone from lawyers and doctors to grandparents and CEGEP students looking to preview their potential alma mater, the Minis have expanded McGill’s primary mission – to teach – beyond the traditional parameters. “I always like to talk about ‘town and gown,'” said Flanders, “and it really does bring both of them together. People who think of McGill as an elitist place all of a sudden discover there is something that they can learn here.”

For more information regarding the fall Minis, including registration and the full schedule, please refer to their respective websites: www.mcgill.ca/principalsmini/; www.mcgill.ca/mse/minienviro/; and www.medicine.mcgill.ca/minimed