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The “Reason and Power” Great Connections Weekend

January 13 @ 5:00 pm - January 15 @ 5:00 pm

Derick Ansah, Great Connections Student

Registration is now open for

The Great Connections Weekend Seminar

“Reason and Power”

Free to qualified students aged 16 and older.
Apply at link below.

Friday afternoon, January 13 to
Sunday afternoon, January 15, 2017
The University Of Illinois at Chicago
1933 W Polk St

Brendan Moore “The seminar gave me confidence that I could achieve great things. It was like  something was  lit inside. I acquired the intellectual tools to help me come to  my own conclusions. It  was one of the most rewarding experiences of my  life.” Brendan Moore, Freshman, Coe College


Would you like a deeper understanding of power and a sharpened ability to reason?

  • Do you want to develop sought-after collaborative skills, valuable in any profession?
  • Can you confidently argue for—and act on—your point of view?
  • Do you want to connect with passionate and principled students to discuss the most challenging questions…while enjoying movies, art, and food to the fullest?

Then sign up for The Great Connections Weekend Seminar.

No matter where you go to school, this unusual experience will serve you well. The knowledge and skills acquired here could prove to be your most valuable asset in college, graduate school—and life. For details, please read on…Rene Miguel

“It allows you to think outside the box. This is something that school does not teach and if I want to get ahead of the game, it is a must.”—Rene Miguel, Sophomore, Harold Washington College

Connect timeless principles to today’s hottest issues…

Our instructors will show you how to comprehend and enjoy challenging works that have changed the world, such as:

  • Plato, Meno…on the power of knowledge.
  • Epictetus, Handbook…how to acquire the power of self-direction.
  • Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy…on the power that causes a stable government
  • Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America…on the power of an idea to change the world.
  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism…on the power of virtue to shape capitalism.
  • James Madison, The Federalist Papers, 51…on the separation of powers.

You will:

  • Understand how the thinking of  these writers connect to powerful forces in your life today: public and private.
  • Analyze one of the most influential propaganda movies ever filmed: “The Triumph of the Will.” This movie was instrumental in Hitler’s rise to power. Compare it to classic American director Frank Capra’s dramatization of “Why We Fight,” created to motivate American soldiers in World War II.
  • Learn to understand famous fine art paintings—for yourself—and discover how they wield their power over the human heart.

lace wedding dress Why study philosophy, history and the classics? Here’s what Stewart Butterfield,  founder Slack Technologies, Silicon Valley, has to say: “I learned how to follow an  argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. I  learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true…until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

Preview what you’ll experience…

Through this program, you will:

  • Increase your ability to ask questions that will change what you get from—and how you perform in—your classes, your job, your life.
  • Become a versatile thinker—critical in today’s economy—with our evidence-based discussion method.
  • Learn how to work well in groups with enthusiastic peers — who will become your friends.
  • Find the important meaning and implications of classic authors for yourself, increasing your independence.
  • Make friends with interesting people from around the country.

Madison Ross “The Great Connections seminar gave me tools for communicating I’ve never  encountered before. I am more confident I can understand and talk about them. I was  taught to speak so my ideas can be understood.” Madison Ross, Freshman, Rochester Institute of Technology

Meet your instructors…

In our discussion groups, instructors won’t force-feed you prefabricated notions. Rather, our faculty will teach you one of the most important lessons of all: how to grasp the meaning of events and ideas for yourself.

Marsha Familaro Enright Marsha Familaro Enright, Seminar Leader
 B.A. Biology, M.A., Psychology, President, The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute

Ms. Enright brings a remarkable range of knowledge and analytical ability in both the sciences  and the humanities to her role as the seminar’s lead instructor. She will guide students in class discussions throughout the week, as well as lead informative tours. Ms. Enright has extensive teaching experience with adults and adolescents in schools, conferences, and summer camps. She also writes on topics ranging from economics to esthetics, neuropsychology to politics.

In 1990, Ms. Enright founded Council Oak Montessori School for children ages 3-15. Chicago Magazine named it one of the top private schools in the city in 2006 and 2011.

buy discount bridesmaid dresses at theluckybridal new collection Liz Parker, Co-Instructor
 B.A. Economics and Global Affairs, George Mason University, Graduate, The Great  Connections Seminars, 2009-2014.

Liz has a keen mind and a deft manner for delving into the works you’ll study and has led superb seminars around the country, from New Orleans to Chicago. She has extensive experience and training in our Collaborative Guided Discussion method and in study of the Classics from her years at The Great Connections Seminars.

The instructors, won’t lecture, but guide your conversations about what you’re studying so you can understand it yourself, first-hand. And they’ll be available for informal discussions and interaction, both in and Nora Gibesout of class.

Before coming, I was frustrated because I was not learning enough in my studies; I was only working just enough to get decent grades. As a result, I was not enjoying school. The Seminar renewed my determination to put my all into my studies. ” –Nora Gibes, Freshman, Hillsdale College,

Seminar Details

The basics: The Great Connections Seminar will begin with a friendly introduction to the program and each other at 5:00 PM on Friday, January 13th and end after you’ve told us your opinion of the program, at 5 PM on Sunday, January 15th.

Location:  The University of Illinois-Chicago Residences at 1933 W. Polk St, Chicago. In Chicago’s Medical District, it is close to Blue and Pink Line CTA stops and CTA bus lines. It is a short hop on the CTA or by ridesharing to Chicago’s central downtown, the Loop, live with sights, parks, restaurants, and entertainment.

Capsule schedule: Friday: Introductions to each other and the program with your first seminar discussion, then dinner together. Saturday: Extended discussions, lunch on your own (or with the some other students). Afternoon, seminar and film viewing and discussion, then dinner together (locations for dinners to be announced). Sunday: Seminars in the morning, lunch on your own, seminars and art discussion in the afternoon, then complete your questionnaire and say fond goodbyes!

You’ll have See the full schedule here.

Readings:  Online links to all the readings are included in the schedule (link above). This is not like most classes: YOU will do the talking, based on the evidence you find in the readings. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll learn to conquer and comprehend these hugely important writers through our sessions!

You will receive a specially printed book with all the readings to use during the seminar.


Transportation and accommodations: Accommodations are included free for out-of-town students. There are highly limited funds for help with long-distance travel. Apply early.

How to register for the seminar:

To apply, click here to go to the Registration Form. After you apply, you will be contacted for a short, chatty interview.

Please contact Marsha Familaro Enright if you have any questions:

menright at rifinst.org or call 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and ability to hold your own in any discussion.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into two days of intensive learning, interactive sessions and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.


The University of Illinois-Chicago Residences
1933 W. Polk St
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