PAWAC Meets Mac Pogue and Kathryn Eissfeldt
Following a 34 year I/T career, Mac Pogue is an active community volunteer and life long learner who likes to play handball and travel. He is active in the Peoria Area World Affairs Council (PAWAC), the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI), Quest Charter Academy, Scouting, and Friends of Proctor Center (including tutoring GED candidates and teaching handball).
Kathryn is former educator who works as a freelance writer and runs a website devoted to STEM. She enjoys volunteering in the community with organizations such as the Radio Information Service for the Blind and Visually Impaired. An avid traveler, Kathryn has visited all seven continents and lived on two.
PAWAC: Mac, Kathryn, thank you for joining me here today. First question: We’ve had a lot of changes in our membership policy and we are reviving our marketing. What are your thoughts on our committees and our changes?
Mac: It’s really great to have these brainstorming sessions. It’s always good to have our members join us for committee meetings. For example, you (Olivia) and Kathryn are producing new ideas. You have new ways to engage people and interest them in our programs.
Kathryn: Speaking of programs, I just had one of those Facebook memories pop up the other day showing me my pictures of my tour of Turkey. It was something that PAWAC made possible for me, and I had a great time.
PAWAC: Mac, did you go on any of the tours that PAWAC offers?
Mac: I did, but I’ve heard so many good things about Turkey. Don Samford [another PAWAC member] told me about it and really praised it. There was a lot of behind the scenes.
Kathryn: It was amazing. You had to pay for the trip expenses, but we had a tour across Turkey and behind the scenes meeting all kinds of experts for a fraction of the cost that it would have been without PAWAC and the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
Mac: I think that the Turkey trip was exceptional with its access to different experts.
Kathryn: It really was. One of the things that really stood out was this workshop we had with Ebru marbling master Hikmet Barutçugil,an artist who is prominent in reviving this unique form of traditional decorative art. His work can be seen in the British Museum and around the world, and we got to experience the unique privilege of his leading a workshop just for us.
Mac: Oh, yeah. Don brought back a sample of his work.
PAWAC: Do you think PAWAC is doing a good job with being a non-partisan organization?
Mac: I think we do a good job with non-partisanship. We have that wide spectrum of individual political views, but everyone is civil and we all enjoy talking about international affairs.
Kathryn - I agree. We know that we have people with different political interests, but we leave it at the door.
Mac- Exactly. International affairs tends to be something that we can all sit together and learn.
PAWAC: How do you stay updated on international affairs? Where do you get your information?
Kathryn: NPR. I always have NPR on. I work from home and NPR is a good way to have an idea of what’s going on in the world. The BBC is my other go-to. What about you, Mac?
Mac: I also listen to NPR, and then I get a more in-depth picture from The Economist and The New York Times. I also like to triangulate my knowledge, so I read the Journal Star to understand the local perspective. You should never underestimate the local news. I then check in with Fox News and The Wall Street Journal at times to make sure I’m getting a rounded view of the news.
PAWAC: It’s always important to have that local perspective as well. So much change happens on the local level. What program are you looking forward to the most?
Kathryn: The Iceland program is bound to be fascinating. My parents went to Iceland recently and enjoyed it. I especially like the baseball program that we just had. I hadn’t thought about the international aspect of sports before.
Mac: Yeah, that’s something that I’d like to see again with other sports. It was interesting to get to know the international side of sports, and that’s something that’s in all sports these days.
Kathryn: Maybe we could make that a yearly program.
PAWAC: What would you like to see PAWAC present as a program in the future?
Mac: China. We should keep an eye on what’s going on in China. Russia as well is a place that we should look at, and we’re lucky to have Angela as a part of PAWAC since her background is in Russian studies.
Kathryn: For me, I’d like to know more about Syria. I’m less interested in a blow by blow account of the current civil war, but I’d like to know more about what led to the civil war there and the internal dynamics and modern politics.
Mac: That’s a good topic. I would like to know much more about their history.