Tour Lecturers


Gibor Basri received his B.S. in Physics from Stanford University (1973) and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1979). An award of a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship then brought him to the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Berkeley Astronomy Department in 1982, and became a full professor in 1994. A thread that runs through all his areas of research is magnetic activity on the Sun and other stars. He was a discoverer of and early pioneer in the study of brown dwarfs, has studied star formation, and been active in the debate on “what is a planet?”. Professor Basri has extensively used telescopes at the Lick and Keck Observatories, along with space telescopes. He was a Co-Investigator on NASA’s Kepler mission, which has revolutionized our knowledge about exoplanets. In 2007 he also became the founding Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at UC Berkeley, and in 2015 he received the Berkeley Citation (campus’ highest honor) upon retiring. In 2016 he received the Carl Sagan Award for Popularizing Science. He is still very active with students and research, currently utilizing Kepler photometry to understand starspots.

Total Solar Eclipse: Chile | Jun. 25-Jul. 6, 2019


Stanley Brandes is Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, where he received his doctorate degree. He has devoted his career to researching and teaching about the societies and cultures of Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, and the United States. He is the author of six books and nearly two hundred articles and book chapters concerning a wide variety of topics, most recently ritual and religion, eating and drinking patterns, photographic imagery, and animal-human relations. On two occasions, he served as Director of Study Centers for the UC Education Abroad Program. He has lectured widely at academic institutions all over the world, and accompanied tour groups organized by UC Berkeley Extension.

Paradores and Pousadas | Sep. 13-27, 2018


John Chere, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired 2014) is also an alumna of UC Berkeley (1982) in Political Science and Columbia University (MA, 1991) in International Affairs. John served over 30 years of active service in uniform and is currently an instructor at the Defense Institute for Security Cooperation Studies. In the Army John spent 20 years in the Infantry in assignments in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East and served his last ten years as a Foreign Area Officer in the Middle East and North Africa. More specifically, John was posted in U.S. Embassies as the Defense Attache in Morocco, 2002-2005, Defense Attache in Algiers, 2006-2007, Army Attache in Tel Aviv, 2007-2010, Senior Defense Official, Tunis, 2010-2013 and returned to Israel 2013-2014 before he retired with his family in Santa Rosa, California. Before returning to Government service, John led a Cal Discoveries Tour to Southern Spain in 2015 and maintains an active interest in wines through self education and employment as a wine retail associate at Benziger Winery in Glen Ellen.

Provincial French Countryside | Sep. 28-Oct. 12, 2018


As the former owner of Golden Gate Tours, Jack wrote more than a hundred tours for Cal Alumni and personally led almost seventy of them, taking alumni to every state in the U.S. and many lands overseas, including Iceland and Greenland and the Viking site in Newfoundland. This will be his fifth visit to Iceland, which remains one of his favorite destinations. Since retirement, Jack has spent much of his time writing, including four novels as well as topics from his extensive travel journals.

Exploring Iceland | Aug. 14-24, 2018


Ian Duncan is Florence Green Bixby Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been teaching since 2001. He has served as English Department Chair, and in 2017 he was a recipient of the university’s Distinguished University Award. Before coming to Berkeley, Duncan taught at the University of Oregon and at Yale, where he received his PhD; his BA is from King’s College, Cambridge. Duncan has taught at the universities of Rome and Palermo and held visiting positions at the universities of British Columbia and Konstanz, Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), Ludwig-Maximilians University (Munich), and Princeton. His scholarly interests include Romanticism, Victorian literature, Scottish literature, and the history of the novel; as well as those topics, he has taught courses on Charles Darwin, Dante’s Inferno, Comedy, Gothic fiction and cinema, and nineteenth-century opera. He is the author of books on the novel in Romantic Edinburgh and the romance tradition in the nineteenth century, and the editor of several major works of Scottish fiction, including Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe and Rob Roy, James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, as well as a coedited anthology of Travel Writing 1700-1830. He is currently completing a critical study of the novel and the science of man in Europe, from Buffon to Darwin, and a short book on Scotland and Romanticism. Duncan is a Vice-President of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Swiss Alps and the Italian Lakes | Jul. 11-20, 2018


Hans Giesecke began his service as Executive Director of International House at UC Berkeley in July 2012. His driving focus has been making I-House students’ residential experience(s) a top highlight of their enrollment experience at Berkeley. Prior to his arrival at Cal, Hans served as President of Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece where he led an “American-style ” international campus with more than 2,300 pupils and students from Kindergarten through MBA. Before serving in Greece, he was President/CEO of the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. in Indianapolis, the President’s Advisor for Student Affairs at International University Bremen in Germany (now Jacobs University), President of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association in Nashville, TN, and Director of Marketing and Research with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) in Sacramento. He earned his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Education and Human Development. His M.A. was received from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.A. from Williams College. Hans enjoys many opportunities to interact with current I-House residents and the thousands of Cal alumni around the world who recall their I-House residency as one of their fondest, university-related personal memories.

Nordic Magnificence | Aug. 5-15, 2018


Dr Patrick Lloyd Hatcher earned his Ph.D at UC Berkeley in History and went on to teach in both Cal’s History and Political Science Departments. For his teaching he won the Blue and Gold teaching award. He has led Cal Discoveries Travel programs to Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as Europe. He is the author of three books, several articles, and numerous reviews. Dr Hatcher is often seen on Bay Area television commenting on American diplomatic and defense issues. He has also been a commentator on two History Channel television productions.

Southwest National Parks | May 14-23, 2018

Oregon Shakespeare Festival | Jun. 18-23, 2018

The Mighty Mississippi | Aug. 5-20, 2018

New York Theater: Berkeley Behind Broadway | Oct. 1-6, 2018

France’s Champagne Region | Oct. 16-24 2018


Lynne Kaufman, MA is an award winning playwright and novelist. She has had thirteen full-length plays produced in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C, at such theatres as The Magic Theatre, Theatreworks, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Abingdon, The Fountain Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre. Her awards include Best New Play in California, Best New Play in San Francisco, New Voices in Playwriting from the William Inge Theatre Festival, and the Kennedy Center/NEA Fund for New American Plays. Kaufman teaches writing at both the UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University Osher Foundations. Lynne is currently Director of Special Events for the Joseph Campbell Foundation, a trustee of the California Institute of Integral Studies and was Director of Travel/Studies at U.C. Berkeley Extension from 1980–2004.

London Theatre | Jul. 8-21, 2018


Local, national, and international key senior leadership positions as Deputy Honorary Consul of Madagascar and Honorary Vice-Dean of the San Francisco Consular Corps, Faculty member and Chair of the Modern Languages Department of the University of Madagascar, Rotarian, Fulbright Enrichment Program Advisory committee chair and Fulbright Program alumna, NAFSA officer (the leading professional organization promoting the exchange of students and scholars to and from the United States).Over 20 years’ experience in the design, implementation, management, and evaluation of intercultural, cross-cultural, diversity and leadership trainings, projects, and programs. Cross-cultural/intercultural training workshops clients include among others Google, Chevron, UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford University, United Nations Association, World Affairs Council, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and Indianapolis Immigration Office and Police Department Office. Demonstrated experience in delivering thematically-linked cross-disciplinary programs in collaboration with academic units, governments and governmental agencies, and NGOs. Has worked in Madagascar, Taiwan, and the US. Judicial Department, State Court Interpreter for Malagasy, French and English, and simultaneous translator for Malagasy, English, and French. Teaches Navigating Cultures Living & Working Around the Globe in the 21st Century, in the Peace and Conflict Studies now Global Studies of the University of California Berkeley. Fluent in English, French, and Malagasy.

The Wildlife and Botany of Madagascar | Jun. 15–29, 2018


Joe Lurie is Executive Director Emeritus of UC Berkeley’s International House where he served for two decades. He has over four decades of intercultural teaching and training experience focused on western and non-western cultural contrasts at UC Berkeley, the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning, Road Scholar, the Fromm Institute at USF, the World Affairs Council, the Commonwealth Club of California and with various international organizations and businesses in the United States and abroad. A former director of semester and summer programs abroad for the School for International Training in France, Kenya, and Ghana, Joe lived in Europe for four years , has traveled widely in Polynesia, Tahiti and its outer islands; he is fluent in French, as well as Swahili which he learned as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. Formerly Vice President for AFS Intercultural Programs in the United States, Joe holds an advanced degree and diploma in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he was recipient of an NDFL Fellowhip in African Languages. His writings have appeared in Harpers Magazine, US News and World Report, and profiled on NPR. He was featured in a national PBS documentary about International House and is author of the award-winning “Perception and Deception – A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures”

Basque Country | May 19-27, 2018


Regarded as one of the most accomplished swimming mentors in the United States, if not the world, Teri McKeever completed her 25th season overseeing the University of California women’s swimming & diving program in 2016-17. Over the course of her career with the Golden Bears, she has guided Cal to four NCAA and four Pac-12 team championships. In 2012, McKeever served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s swim team in London, a unit that included six past, present, and future Golden Bears who produced 13 medals for Team USA. In addition, McKeever was an assistant Olympic coach in both 2004 and 2008.

Glacial Adventures: Alaska Cruise Pac-12 | Jun. 19-29, 2018


Laurence Michalak is a cultural anthropologist and specialist in North Africa, originally from Woodland, California. After a B.A. at Stanford (1964), Larry was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, then did his M.A. at the University of London (1970) and Ph.D. at UC Berkeley (1983). At Cal, Larry was Vice Chair of UCB’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and taught for 23 years, retiring in 2002. Besides Arabic, he speaks fluent French, good Spanish, and fair German, and has traveled widely in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He has taught and lectured on the anthropology of food, tourism, migration, globalization, and problems of economic development. He is the author of books on social legislation and labor migration and is currently working on a book on informal commerce. Larry has a Canada connection, since his grandfather emigrated from Poland around 1900, homesteaded in Alberta Province, and farmed there for nearly 40 years.

Mystical India | Feb. 25-Mar. 13, 2018

Majestic Passage Cruise | May 8-23, 2018


Brent Mishler has been a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley since 1993, where he teaches about island biology, plant diversity, evolution, and phylogenetic analysis. He is the lead professor in the popular “Biology and Geomorphology of Tropical Islands” course, where undergraduates spend the semester at the UC Berkeley Gump Station on Moorea in French Polynesia. He currently has research projects going on in Australia, the South Pacific, and South America. He is thus a generalist in field biology, with extensive knowledge about many kinds of organisms, tropical and temperate. He is also Director of the University and Jepson Herbaria on the Cal campus, a natural history museum devoted to plants of all types, and with research programs spanning the globe ( One personal research specialty is mosses, plants that are small in stature but big in ecological importance and research interest, especially for studying desiccation-tolerance. He is also interested in more general topics involving the theoretical basis of systematic and evolutionary biology, such as the nature of species. He has been heavily involved in developing electronic resources to present taxonomic and distributional information to the public, and to apply these to conservation concerns.

Scottish Islands and Norwegian Fjords | May 17-25, 2018

Pride of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe | Apr. 25 - May 9, 2019


Marissa Moss graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Art History. She has used her knowledge of historical research to write more than seventy children’s books, from picture books to middle-grade and young adult novels. Best known for the Amelia’s Notebook series, her books are popular with teachers and children alike, using graphic formats to introduce history in an accessible, appealing way. Barbed Wire Baseball recently won the California Book Award, Gold medal and the California Young Reader Medal. Her historical books cover subjects as varied as Ancient Egypt and Rome, Renaissance Italy, Medieval France, and 19th century London. She has spent years living in France and Italy to do the necessary research and brings a vivid mix of art and daily life to her historical work.

Apulia: Undiscovered Italy | Sep. 26-Oct. 4, 2018


Vincent H. Resh has been a professor of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at the University of California, Berkeley since 1975. Professor Resh has been an adviser to the World Health Organization and other United Nations Organizations for over 20 years in evaluating human impacts on water resources in developing countries in Asia and Africa. He also serves on various science advisory boards on water issues in California. He received the University of California’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995 and has taught about issues related to water and the environment to over 20,000 Berkeley undergraduates.

Inland Sea of Japan | May 8-18, 2018

Journey Along the Elbe River | Jun. 5-16, 2018

Taiwan: The Beautiful Island | Nov. 2-11, 2018

Mystical India | Feb. 21-Mar. 9, 2019


Sheldon Rothblatt has been honored by the Swedish Crown as Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (founded 1748), Sweden’s highest award to foreigners. He is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, former chair of History and sometime Director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Citation for “distinguished achievement and for notable service to the University. ” He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Britain, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (the body that awards the Noble Prizes) and a Member of the National Academy of Education (USA). Besides teaching in American universities, he has taught in Australia, Austria, Sweden and Norway. His academic publications are on 19th-century intellectual and scientific history, with translations in Russian, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Japanese and Chinese.

Kaleidoscope of Culture: Panama Canal | May 6-22, 2018


Steve Ruzin received his Ph.D. in Botany from UC Berkeley in 1984. He currently directs the Biological Imaging Facility at UC Berkeley, is Curator of the Golub Collection of antique microscopes at UCB, and teaches three UCB courses. Steve has a classical education in Botany and is knowledgeable about the natural history and biogeography of plants, especially those of tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world.Steve has lectured for Cal Discoveries about the plant biogeography of Borneo, Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and the Amazon.

The Wildlife and Botany of Madagascar | Jun. 1-15, 2018


Robert Gordon Sproul III graduated from UC Berkeley in 1969. He has worked with several music publications, including No Depression and Black Music and Jazz Review, a British R&B magazine, and occasionally at the roots radio show on KKCY. Joining Robert in a joint lecture will be musicologist and Sun Records authority, John Siamas (Boalt ’70). John’s father, the former owner of Keen Records, recorded hits for Sam Cooke, gospel albums for Lou Rawls and a variety of rhythm and blues, and doo-wop and rockabilly tunes. Robert has recently retired as the Director of Stewardship and Alumni Scholarships in the Development department of the Cal Alumni Association.

Southern Grandeur | Apr. 7 – 15, 2019


Born to German parents in San Francisco in 1930, Professor Emeritus Frederic “Fritz” Tubach grew up from the age of three in Nazi Germany. Following WWII, Tubach regained his American citizenship and returned to San Francisco in 1949. He attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received his doctorate in German Literature in 1957. He taught at UC Berkeley from 1959 to 1994. Engaged throughout his career in international education, he served on the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the UCB Fulbright Committee. He directed the UC Education Abroad Programs in Göttingen and Bordeaux, where he received an honorary doctorate in 2002. Author of numerous scholarly articles and books on medieval German literature and folklore, Tubach has also written widely acclaimed books for a general readership, including Germany 2000 Years: From the Nazi Era to the Present, a Cultural History of Modern Germany. With co-authors, Bernat Rosner and Sally Patterson Tubach, he wrote An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust (University of California, Press) and German Voices: Memories of Life During Hitler’s Third Reich (UC Press). He is a frequent lecturer for Cal Discoveries in Europe.

European Coastal Civilizations: London to Lisbon | Sep. 4-13, 2018


Edward W. Walker is Executive Director of the Berkeley Program in Eurasian and East European Studies and Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His book Dissolution: Sovereignty and the Breakup of the Soviet Union (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), explains the breakup of the Soviet Union, emphasizing the role of the institutions and the mythologies of Soviet federalism and nationality policy. He has written and taught on problems of federalism, secession, and nationalism; religion and the state; ethno-politics and ethnic conflict; Islamist movements in the former Soviet and East Central Europe, and geopolitics in Europe and Eurasia. His blog on the latter topic can be found here. here.

Rivieras & Islands: France, Spain, Italy | Sep. 26-Oct. 4, 2018

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