Assassinations in History

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Bi-weekly;  Week One;  Thursday;  2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Two Terms; In-person  **NEW**  

On learning of the death of Abraham Lincoln, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli told House of Commons, “Assassination has never changed the history of the world.” Was Disraeli right? In this workshop, we will seek to answer that question by studying the role that assassinations have played as an instrument of political change from ancient times to today while we at the same time use the events to learn about the history of various countries and periods. Each participant will research, prepare and make a 20 to 25-minute presentation covering the context, target, perpetrator, motive, method and consequences of the assassination.  Presentations will be followed by an equal amount of time for Q&A and round-the-table discussion of such questions as, when is assassination justified, why is it more common in some societies than others, what is the relationship between assassination and terrorism and how are assassinations best prevented?


Frank Nicholson ( is a returning member of the Academy who’s been actively engaged in peer-learning since retiring from public service a dozen years ago. His interest in history comes from earning a PhD in that subject from the University of Toronto and co-facilitating history study groups at the Academy and two other later life learning organizations.

Pat Cross ( has a background in science and technology in the space industry, but is particularly interested in workshops that investigate world history and politics. A member of the Academy since 2008, and with an interest in past and future history (sci-fi), she hopes she can bring a slightly different approach to discussing the past.

Workshop Details

Workshop Notes