Tour Lecturers


Ronelle Alexander, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, has been teaching in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley since 1978. She is the author of numerous books, and is the recipient of a medal from the Bulgarian government and a honorary doctorate from Sofia University. As a linguist, her research interests include dialectology (the relations between different geographical varieties of speech), and sociolinguistics (especially the relation between language and identity as connected with the breakup of Yugoslavia); both have involved extensive travel and fieldwork in the Balkans. As a folklorist, her field extends also to Russia, which she has visited numerous times. She regularly teaches courses in Russian folklore, and is the co-founder of the Society of Living Traditions, a California-based non-profit organization.

Grand Danube Passage | Sep. 9-23, 2017


Elizabeth M. (Beth) Boles has been a professor of political science and law for more than 25 years, teaching at U.C. Berkeley, Sarah Lawrence College, Pomona College, Ohio State University, and currently with American University’s Washington College of Law. She was the founding director of two innovative programs in experiential education for U.C. Berkeley and for The John Glenn School of Public Affairs. She has written and spoken widely about issues in civic education, international education, and comparative politics and foreign policy. She speaks frequently with visiting foreign delegations of senior scholars and government officials, and serves as an enrichment lecturer examining the nexus among history, politics, and culture, most recently in Russia, Spain, France, and South Africa. Dr. Boles earned her Bachelor’s degree at Stanford University and her Master’s and Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington-based Cultural Treasures Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing international understanding through arts and culture.

Southern Africa Odyssey | Sep. 28-Oct. 15, 2017


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.

Italy: Sorrento | Oct. 4-12, 2017


Josef Chytry is Senior Adjunct Professor of Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts, Oakland/San Francisco, and Managing Editor of the Oxford journal Industrial and Corporate Change at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. He has also been a lecturer in the humanities at the University of California Extension program since 1989. Professor Chytry received a BA in international relations from George Washington University, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in politics and European intellectual history from the University of Oxford. He has authored six books, including Mountain of Paradise: Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization (2013). Among the subjects he regularly teaches are: Ancient Greek Culture, the Italian Renaissance, the European Enlightenment, Modernism & Postmodernism. Josef was named the UC Berkeley Extension Honored Instructor for 2009–2010.

France: Normandy | June 5-13, 2017


Anthropologist Eric Crystal has been researching contemporary Southeast Asia for over four decades. The focus of his research has been in highland minority communities of highland areas. His work has included publications in traditional ceremony and religion, depiction of traditional arts in film, audio and video media, and analysis of traditional agro-economic systems. Dr. Crystal served has Vice-Chair of the Berkeley Center for Southeast Asia Studies for the balance of his career. He has taught at UC Berkeley, the Claremont Colleges, and the Art Institute of San Francisco. Engaged in studies of both traditional culture and contemporary social change, Professor Crystal has additionally consulted for The World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency, and USAID on a range of development issues in rural Southeast Asia.

Romance of the Mekong | Oct. 3-18, 2017


For forty years, Jack traveled the world, as founder of American Field Studies in Massachusetts and as the director of Golden Gate Tours in California. Since 1988, he organized and led more than sixty tours with Cal Alumni visiting just about every state and Canadian province and traveling extensively in the Far East. Since his retirement, Jack has published four books—two novels (Boris and Crosshairs), a journal describing his wife Mary and her battle against fourth-stage cancer (You Don’t Stop Living: A Family Cure For Cancer), and most recently Traveling With Bears: Canada—the World Next Door, the first of a series of travel books about his experiences with Cal Alumni travel.

Croatia's Adriatic Coast | May 15-26, 2017


Alex Filippenko is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 14 of them – most recently in March 2015, aboard an airplane high above the North Atlantic Ocean, as part of a Cal Discoveries Travel trip. He is well known for his ability to make complex ideas accessible and entertaining. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the "Best Professor " on campus a record 9 times, he was named the National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced 5 astronomy video series with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 TV documentaries.
An elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Alex is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. His primary areas of research, in which he is a leading authority, are exploding stars, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, galaxies, and the expansion of the Universe. He is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research, and was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, propelled by mysterious "dark energy. " This discovery was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members.
Dr. Alex Filippenko, a UC Berkeley Professor of Astronomy and veteran of 14 previous total solar eclipses (all of which he viewed successfully, an amazing record), will be your guide for this celestial spectacle. He is passionate about total solar eclipses and loves to share his expert knowledge. In the days prior to the eclipse, he will give two lectures on total solar eclipses, how to view them safely, what to look for, and how to photograph them.

Total Solar Eclipse: Oregon | Aug. 18–22, 2017


Dianne Fukami is an award-winning documentary and television producer and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley’s School of Journalism. Much of her documentary work has centered on Japan and the Japanese American experience and has been broadcast on PBS stations. As a third-generation Japanese American and with nearly 20 trips to Japan under her belt, she has successfully and delicately navigated her way among the two cultures. She has been invited by the Foreign Ministry of Japan to participate in three delegations which included meetings with the Prime Minister, members of Parliament, and corporate business executives. Her recent documentary about the impact of Japan’s 2011 devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster was screened by the U.S. Embassy and Sophia University in Tokyo, Tohoku Gakuin University, and throughout the Tohoku region. As a TEDx speaker, she’s been able to share her experiences in Japan. She is on the faculty at Academy of Art University teaching TV and multimedia production.

Insider's Japan | Sep. 30 – Oct. 12, 2017


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.

The Great Journey Through Europe | June 14-24, 2017


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.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival | June 19–24, 2017

Provence & the French Riviera | Sep 14-24, 2017

Traderoutes of Coastal Iberia | Oct. 9-17, 2017


Terry D. Johnson has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT and is currently an Associate Teaching Professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley. He hopes that by doing so, he will be giving students the tools that they will need to repair him as he gets older.
He teaches courses in a wide range of subjects, displaying a versatility that has prevented him from achieving any actual expertise. In 2010 he received the Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching, and was one of the recipients of Berkeley’s 2013 Distinguished Teaching Awards. He is also co-author of the popular science book How to Defeat Your Own Clone (and other tips for surviving the biotech revolution).

Switzerland | Aug. 9-19, 2017


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 | July 9–22, 2017


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.

Canadian Rockies | July 20-26, 2017

Journey to Southern Africa | Oct. 10-25, 2017


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.

Atlantic Treasures: The Canaries, Azores, and Morocco | Sep. 5-19, 2017


Dr. Nadesan Permaul received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science. He has been an Adjunct Professor in three departments at Berkeley—Rhetoric, Sociology, and Political Science for 23 years. He retired in 2011 after 33+ years as an administrator at Cal—his last position being the Director of the Associated Students of the University of California (A.S.U.C.). A past president of the Cal Alumni Association (2003–2005), Dr. Permaul has been a lecturer on nine previous Cal Discoveries trips.  

National Parks & Lodges of the Old West | June 5-14, 2017


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.

Circumnavigation of Iceland | Aug. 1-9, 2017

Paradores & Pousadas | Sep. 23-Oct. 7, 2017

Moroccan Discovery | Dec. 1-14, 2017


Kathryn Roszak is a choreographer, educator, and writer recognized for her work combining literature and the arts. She has collaborated on performances with Maxine Hong Kingston and created a work inspired by the poetry of Nobel Prize-winner Tomas Tranströmer. Her dance and theater productions have been presented by Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., La MaMa Theatre, New York, and the Copenhagen Cultural Festival. She received the John and Susan Diekman Fellowship in Choreography at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program. She has produced choreography and taught for the San Francisco Opera Center and the American Conservatory Theatre. She has taught arts courses for Dominican University and the M.F.A. program of the American Conservatory Theatre, in addition to and teaching on dance, opera, film, and theater for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley. Ms. Roszak will lecture on Scottish arts, literature, and the Edinburgh Arts Festival.

Scotland | Aug. 2-10, 2017


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.

Pearls of Italy | June 3-14, 2017


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.

Cruise the Peruvian Amazon | Nov. 3-12, 2017


Alex M. Saragoza has served as Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (1994-1997), and subsequently as Director of International Education Programs (1997-1999). He is a member of the systemwide UC-Cuba Initiative, and a member of the Cuba Working Group at the Berkeley campus. Professor Saragoza regularly teaches a course on Cuba, and has visited the island several times over the last ten years. He led two UC Berkeley Extension tours to the island, before the Bush administration imposed restrictions on travel in 2003. He worked on a collaborative project with the Center for Hemispheric Studies and of the United States (Centro de Estudios Hemisfericos y sobre los Estados Unidos) of the University of Havana from 2006–2009, including a two-day symposium with Cuban scholars that he organized and was held in Mexico City in 2009. Professor Saragoza is currently conducting research for a comparative study of the tourist industry in Mexico and Cuba. Along with Professor Barry Carr of Melbourne University (Australia), he is editing a volume on tourism and Latin America. He is a professor of history in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Culinary and Cultural Traditions of Northern Spain | June 1-10, 2017


Fred is a scientist with long experience in Thailand. He spends about a third of his time there: as Visiting Professor at Chiang Mai University, Advisor to the Thailand Center for Excellence in Physics, and as a frequent lecturer on many topics, including energy and transportation issues in Thailand and developing Asia. Fred is a co-author of a report on sustainable energy resources for USAID. He is a UC Berkeley graduate, a retiree of Berkeley Laboratory, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Fred can speak passable Thai, and frequently dives in Thailand and nearby waters in Southeast Asia.

Treasures of Thailand | Nov. 30-Dec. 14, 2017


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.

Classic Germany | June 28-July 12, 2017


Dr. Noah Whiteman is an evolutionary biologist who studies the genetic basis of adaptations. He currently focuses his research on the genetics and evolution of plant toxins and counter- adaptations in insects that ingest them, including compounds relevant for human health such as mustard oils (wasabi). Dr. Whiteman joined the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley as an Associate Professor in January 2016 where he runs a research laboratory, teaches undergraduate and graduate students and trains postdoctoral scholars ( Dr. Whiteman is also an investigator at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in summers where he studies the genetics of broad-tailed hummingbirds, particularly how the bills of these Neotropical migrants are shaped by interactions with the flowers from which they feed. He was previously an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona from 2010-2016. Dr. Whiteman’s postdoctoral training in molecular biology and genomics of host-parasite interactions was at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital through an NIH fellowship in 2007- 2009. Dr. Whiteman’s dissertation research at the University of Missouri-St. Louis took him four times to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, where he studied the evolution of Galápagos hawks and their parasites. He has sampled from hundreds of Galápagos hawks in Ecuador and Swainson’s hawks in Argentina. He has also participated in botanical field work in the Atacama Desert of Chile and the northwest provinces of Argentina. His M.S. is in entomology from the University of Missouri, Columbia and his B.A. is from St. John’s University in Minnesota. Dr. Whiteman was raised near Lake Superior in the boreal forest of northeastern Minnesota and was a resident naturalist at Gunflint Lodge during summers in college. Committed to increasing public understanding of evolutionary biology, Dr. Whiteman and has appeared recently in the “What are we?” episode of the PBS series Genius by Stephen Hawking.

Patagonian Frontiers | January 2-18, 2018

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