Six lecture luncheons geared at enhancing quality of life offer a diverse lineup 

Since 1933, the Oklahoma City Town Hall Lecture Series has hosted a long list of widely known presenters. This year will not be an exception, as the program's lecturing roster ranges from a Beltway insider to an entertainingly informative author.  

The series' mission " to enhance quality of life in Oklahoma " remains a paramount concern, said Sherron Evans, organization president.

This season will explore topics such as global warming, personal accounts of being at Ground Zero on 9/11, media literacy, human rights and an inside look in the Central Intelligence Agency.  

Town Hall will host a diverse group of speakers, beginning Thursday with political analyst and veteran journalist Juan Williams, a senior correspondent for National Public Radio. Others include journalist and author Kati Martons on Oct. 21; retired CIA officer Carlos Luria on Nov. 18; Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News, on Feb. 17, 2011; and political analyst Larry Sabato on March 17, 2011. It closes next spring with professor and author Elliot Engel on April 14.

Evans became involved with Oklahoma City Town Hall more than 15 years ago, when a friend invited her as a guest, and she's been coming back ever since.

"There is a loyalty to the program," Evans said. "And it's always good."

Speakers come nationwide to enlighten Oklahomans with their knowledge and experiences in their respective walks of life. While many of these personalities can be seen on television screens, the lecture series offers a more in-depth opportunity with the presenter beyond a 30-second sound bite, Evans said.

The series offers an all-inclusive lecture focusing on a variety of subjects meant to inform audiences on culture, current events and a host of other issues. Speakers also conduct more private and interactive luncheons with members of the program, where a Q-and-A format takes place with attendees.

Topics are chosen specifically to cater to Oklahomans and educational fulfillment throughout the series. The arts, financial development, legal issues, human-interest stories, literature and politics are a few of the numerous subjects broached each season.  

"It's a learning experience," Evans said. "I want those who attend to walk away having learned something new, something they didn't know."  

Each year, more than 900 guests subscribe to Oklahoma City Town Hall for $55, which includes season tickets, access to luncheon reservations with each speaker, and guest vouchers. A diverse group of people attends throughout the series, including elementary through college students, for which complimentary tickets are available. Reservations are required, with individual lecture tickets at $22, and all six luncheons for $125.

Sessions will take place 10:30 a.m. the third Thursday of every month from September to November, and February to April, at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 222 N.W. 15th St. For more information, call 550-8181 or visit "Ta'Chelle Jones

photo NPR commentator Juan Williams

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