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What happened at The Great Connections 2016


The Outcome of The Great Connections Seminar 
2016

This July, our high school-to-graduate school students hailed from places such as Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Nepal and all directions of the U.S. Over half were returnees who paid their own way—one from Buenos Aires!

Six came to study how to be a teacher in our style, so they could take that skill back to their classrooms and organizations where they live.

For this purpose, I created a two-day Great Connections Training Program for Teachers and conducted it before the week started. I’m now being asked to conduct a class for teachers at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala.

We added a new component to the instruction this year, a 5-day writing class. Malachy Walsh, former creative director for J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, was our instructor and he brought all of his knowledge and world-tested skill in excellent communication to the program.

Before he worked in advertising, Malachy studied literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago under the Aristotle scholar and member of the committee that created The Great Books, Richard McKeon. His love of these books was nothing but strengthened over the years by the advantages they gave him in advertising and marketing—his co-workers would marvel at how he solved certain problems. He knew it was from incorporating the principles of Aristotle’s Rhetoric into his thinking!

Malachy used the Rhetoric for our class this summer—and he was deeply impressed with how quickly our students were able to work together to produce excellent solutions to the writing problems he posed to them.

He went out of his way to comment to me about something else that impressed him: arriving early every morning, he would listen to our daily faculty meetings. At these, my instructors and trainees would review the performance of the students from the previous day and analyze what went well, what needed improvement, and what each student needed to optimize his or her experience. Then we would figure out what changes we needed to make that day to help students have the best experience possible.

He remarked that he saw how this review and revision resulted in better classes every day. Bottom line: this careful work is part of the reason we have consistent, remarkable outcomes after one week of classes.

For example, Saulo Maciel, a junior in Journalism from Campo Grande Brasil, declared “I learned more in one week than in ten years at school.”

Our students are ambitious to live well and spread reason, individualism, and freedom through their projects and careers. That includes their personal choices, the way they run the companies they plan to create, their work as journalists, musicians, computer programmers, or their academic teaching careers. We’re preparing a kind of professor different from the indoctrinating collectivists that rule most of the Academy today.

You can see these ambitions in some of the comments which are below. Unlike their experience at traditional school, they relished spending an entire week studying and discussing very difficult readings at least six hours a day, more than double the usual college class-day hours.

I hope you’ve had a chance to see the short videos we had made last year, now on www.rifinst.org homepage. You can hear the students, assistant instructors, and interested professionals recount the immense intellectual and practical value in our program.

Student by student, we transform lives, and these students go back to the world, empowered to turn the tide away from collectivism and towards reason, individualism, and freedom.

You are making all this happen. Our enduring thanks for your generous and important support through your contribution this year. Your gift and others enabled us to offer some travel aid this year, allowing Saurav Ghimire and Saulo Maciel to attend the program from Nepal and Brazil respectively. Each is taking back what they learned to teach others in their countries.

I hope you feel free to contact me any time about the program – or anything else for that matter!

Warmest regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright
President

P.S. Why do we get so many returnees? Because the program powerfully prepares students to find, choose and succeed in their life path. They don’t get this help at school, so they return to refresh and expand their knowledge.Imagine how helpful this is to students (and their parents) who attend before investing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars at colleges?

 

What Students Said About The Great Connections, 2016

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, Junior, Business, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

Ian Mihura

 

“The Great Connections is an intense experience that helps people to learn how to learn rather than what to learn. I plan to implement the group discussion methodology in the office with my co-workers.”
—Ian Mihura (center), Junior, Computer Science, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Great Connections Students “It changed my perspective about several essential topics  about life. –Maria Jose Bernal, Senior, ColegioGimnasio  Los Pinares,  Medillin, Colombia

 

I have never been in a classroom where students wanted to stay after the session had ended. I have never learned so much or so well in my life, andScott McGinley that is saying something, given my love for my university experience at George Mason. But you have shown a way for me to tap into a completely different aspect of learning—about the liberal arts and about myself—that likely would have escaped me had I not committed to attending this seminar. My only regret is that I haven’t gone since the first time you invited me in 2014!”—Scott McGinley, Junior, Economics, George Mason University, Washington, DC

Madison Ross“The Great Connections seminar gave me tools for communicating I’ve never encountered before. It encouraged me to be aware of ideas in a new way. Before I went, I liked ideas but now I am more confident I can understand and talk about them. I was taught to speak so my ideas can be understood.”– Madison Ross, Junior, Mathematics, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

Nora Gibes “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. I know now that it is within my power to achieve  my dreams, to help advance the health of humanity through science and innovation.” –Nora Gibes, Freshman, Biochemistry, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan

“Life-altering is used much too lightly, much too often. However, when I Sarrah Alisaytheseminar was life-altering, I mean it with the heaviness of a woman who is in awe of her experience. My entire life I have been searching for a way to TRULY understand life––why I’m here and how I can make the most of the time I’m given. My previous reality was that I had neither the resources—such as the inspiring pieces in this seminar—nor the ability to dissect the pieces with people who have a passion to learn and UTILIZE knowledge.”— Sarrah Ali, Senior, Cypress Creek High School, Houston, Texas

Kayla Torquemada  “I truly can say that I have grown intellectually and           spiritually as a person. It has made me see  reason, love,  and individuality from a new  perspective. This experience  is one I will not forget.”–  Kayla Torquemada, junior, physical  therapy, San Jose  State University, Pleasanton, CA

Saurav Ghimire

Now I will be more confident to speak in international platforms, analyzedecisions by the pay off they give, use writing skills learnt and much more.” –Saurav Ghimire, J.D., Katmandu School of Law, Nepal

 

Sable Levy “I feel more aware of the need to stop and listen to my  body, to  reflect, to ground my choices and actions in self-  love and self-  interest; and to reflect on whether I’m  acting congruently with  my values and goals. I feel  more determined to make the  most of my hours  and days. There’s so much I want to do, and every moment counts.”—Sable Levy, Junior, Actuarial Studies, University of Texas at Austin,

 

Learn about the collectivist control of education

Bending children to the needs of the state go back much farther than Common Core. Hear about the failure of public education to teach most of its students — since its inception in Massachusetts in the early 19th century.

What kind of education fosters the habits and virtues needed for in a free society, where independent, active, versatile, and self-responsible citizens are crucial? What would the education market look like in a fully free society, with entirely private education? Hear my answers and the way in which everyone would be served by private interests.

My talk at The Heartland Institute, Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Read Common Ground on Common Core, edited by Kirsten Lombard, for the complete, referenced account.

Renewed and Enlightened: A Parent’s Account of Her Daughter’s Transformation

We were delighted to read this 5-star review on greatnonprofits.org of RIFI’s The Great Connections Seminar from a TGC parent. The student, Jessica, was a shy, quiet girl with a lot of inner ambition and hidden creativity. Watching her blossom throughout the week was a joy, and hearing about her continued transformation from her mother is deeply gratifying. Jessica’s growth is characteristic of what we continue to hear about the transformational experience The Great Connections Seminar has in the lives of young people.

Five Stars

 

“My daughter attended the Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute’s Great Connections Seminar in July, 2013. Her experience was life-altering. Our daughter was a shy, intelligent bookworm who couldn’t care less about politics, civilized debate, logic, or philosophy. Instead, she preferred “practical” knowledge that she could process by herself and put into action. The foundations of this “practical knowledge” was uninteresting to her—before the seminar. I knew she would benefit from reading Alexis de Tocqueville, Francis Bacon, Aristotle. I knew she would benefit from visiting art museums, businesses, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home. I knew she would benefit from the philosophical nature of the seminars and the Socratic-style classroom discussions. What I didn’t anticipate was a completely transformed child coming home—one who spoke with confidence in her opinions and an interest in the “big” questions and their connections to the practical world. In addition to my beautiful daughter emerging from her shell, she now has a firm appreciation for her personal liberties and accepts that her participation is necessary for her to retain her autonomy in society.

And my normally shy daughter made a group of friends in this one week (just seven days!) that she’ll have for a lifetime. As her mom, I couldn’t be more pleased. These kids were all high-achieving, responsible, and intellectually curious… just the kind of kids I love for my children to be around.

I should also note that we were given a scholarship to help my daughter attend. Initially, the cost for the seminar was a bit daunting, but the President (Marsha Enright) was eager to work with us to enable my daughter to attend. We are both still very appreciative that the scholarships were available.”

Jessica on her transformation from The Great Connections Seminar

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would…
The only change I would like to see is for the Great Connections Seminar to happen more than once per year. My daughter is already excited to return—but she has to wait a full year.”

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
“Life-changing.”

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
“Definitely.”

How well do you feel you were treated by this organization?
“Very well.”

Jessica on her transformation from The Great Connections Seminar

 

If you or  a student you know could benefit from a transformational experience like Jessica’s, please take a look and share The Great Connections Seminar! Scholarships and early registration rates are now available. It’s the opportunity to unleash the inner potential that traditional education leaves dormant. Take control of your education and your future now!

Tutor Lauds Student Transformation from Great Connections Seminar

Last fall we received an email message in response to our Report on The Great Connections 2015 Summer Seminar about Derick Ansah, a spectacular student we had the pleasure of having with us last summer.

Derick Ansah, Great Connections Student

When Derick went back to school that fall, RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright received an email from Nawaphon Sittisawassakul at the SUNY/Purchase Economics Department. The kind of growth described in his email about Derick is exactly what we aim to provide for all students at The Great Connections Seminar. It’s a touching message that we wanted to share with you. Transformations like Derick’s make The Great Connections Seminar such a valuable and meaningful experience for young people today.

Hi Marsha!

The update you sent me looked awesome. It’s very cool to see Derick Ansah go through all that along with your other students from around the world. To tell you the truth, when I met him again at the beginning of this fall semester, it was like meeting a completely new person.

Derick had changed mentally and spiritually so much in the short months of the summer break and I think it had to do hugely because of your program. He’s now more critical and analytical of works and ideologies while in the Econ classes lectures, talks, and seminars. His question-asking manner in class has also increased in acuity and form. It’s as if he grew 2 years worth of college prowess in your short 1 week course. A lot of college students don’t get  enough of this critical thinking and these deep analytical skills taught to them at most colleges in America today, which is sad.

He tells me that you dream of making your one week summer course into a full time school one day, I hope that your dream happens because America needs more of this.

George S. Clason, successful businessman and author of The Richest Man in Babylon, once said “Our prosperity as a nation depends upon the personal financial prosperity of each of us as individuals…our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.” Benjamin Franklin also once said that with all our getting, get understanding.

I find that you’re at the forefront of helping our kids understand not just themselves better, but the world, and the inner working of humanity as a whole. This can and will translate itself deeper down the line into a stronger, more prosperous society.

Thank you for all that you do, Marsha!

Sincerely,
Nawaphon

During the seminar, Derick was a natural leader whose affable, inquisitive nature brought TGC students together and helped tremendously to create an open and inviting environment. Throughout the week, it was evident that many of the ideas were new and challenging to him, and he worked hard to improve himself. What was admirable in Derick was that he always aimed to understand things for himself and connect the ideas with other texts and activities throughout the week, especially drawing from his own life experience. His attitude of openness and his enthusiasm to learn and challenge himself encouraged others to push themselves outside of comfort their zones as well.

Not only are other’s noticing Derick’s growth in intellectual prowess, he himself knows how he has grown. The effective methodology of The Great Connections Seminar creates an environment where students can discover within themselves their own powers and abilities. This self-empowerment allows students like Derick to walk away with the confidence that they can be an active leader in their own learning and life.

Derick Ansah on his experience at The Great Connections Seminar

If you know a young person or student aged 16 and up who could benefit from a transformative experience like Derick’s, take a look at what this summer’s Great Connections Seminar has to offer. Scholarships and early registration rates are available now!

 

RIFI Founder Visits Atlanta to Speak About Education Reform

On January 24, 2016, RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright presented a guest lecture on “The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Could Look Like in a Free Society” at the Atlanta Objectivist Society.

ball dresses nz

To the packed room of people concerned about the destructive direction of education, Ms. Enright’s presentation generated a stream of great questions and conversation. The audience was particularly interested in the picture of  what education could be like if it were in a free, competitive market.

It’s evident that people are becoming more aware of the continuing control of academia by the left and how education is being used to transform young people into sheepish conformists. Ms. Enright discussed the ways in which the new left has achieved these aims, analyzing the psychology, history, even fashion prom dresses and economic reasons behind our current state of education. As a tonic to that gloomy situation, Ms. Enright provided a surprising picture of what education could be like in a fully free society, with some ideas as to how to get there.

See photos from the event on Facebook here. Like our page to stay up to date on upcoming talks and seminars for students and adults!

Read More

Common Ground on Common Core

 

To read more on this topic, see Ms. Enright’s four-part series of articles on The Savvy Street, starting with University Education As It Might Be And Ought To Be, Part I and Part II.

 

You can also read more about the current push for standardized learning in public education and the opposition from across the political spectrum in Common Ground on Common Core. In the last chapter, “Liberating Education” by Marsha Familaro Enright, she recounts the origins of the American love of education and the history of public education in the U.S. and details what education could be like in a free market.

Hear The Lecture

To hear Marsha Familaro Enright speak on this topic, please join us at the Maryland Objectivist Society on Sunday afternoon, February 28th in Columbia, MD (just outside of Washington, D.C.). To engage her as a speaker, contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org.

LECTURE: Feb. 28, What Education Could Be Like in a Free Society

We’re pleased to announce that on Sunday, February 28, 2016, RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright will be guest lecturing at The Maryland Objectivist Society on “The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Could Be Like in a Free Society.”

Her talk coincides with the International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, D.C., where RIFI will be exhibiting to promote The Great Connections Seminar in Chicago. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out both events!

Maryland Objectivist Society Lecture: Marsha Familaro Enright

In her talk, Ms. Enright will discuss how public education costs most of us a pretty penny in taxes, yet yields poor outcomes:

  • making many of us pay twice – first in taxes and then in private school tuition;
  • depriving of choice the children of the less well-off, who can’t escape to private schools;
  • failing to provide crucial knowledge, reasoning power, motivation, and work skills.

As technology drives the job market, requiring higher and higher skills, the situation is only getting worse – more and more individuals are being left behind, unable to adequately and honorably support themselves.

In her talk Ms. Enright will address:

  • What’s driving the decline in the quality of education – the historical, economic, psychological and political reasons;
  • The bright spots of hope and the real reasons for optimism in our current educational situation;
  • The surprising picture of what education could be like in a freer society, with some ideas as to how to get there; and
  • What individuals can do to hasten this better future for them and their children.

Come to hear and meet Marsha as well as other concerned parents, taxpayers and civic minded individuals about what can be done to create a better future in education.

About Marsha:

Marsha Familaro Enright is an author and speaker on, among other topics, human development, psychology, and creativity. Many of her interviews are available to watch online.

She is the creator of The Great Connections Summer Seminar, a week-long, liberal arts course for students 16 and up, focuses on classic texts across the ideological spectrum, including those of the philosophy, economics, politics, and history of freedom. Its evidence-based discussion principles significantly increase student reasoning power, as well as collaborative work skills. The program has a transformative effect on most students who attend, radically increasing their autonomy. Learn more at www.thegreatconnections.org.

Check out the event and RSVP on the MDOS (Maryland Objectivist Society) Facebook page here. For further information, visit the Eventbrite page here.

WHEN: Sunday, February 28, 2016 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

WHERE: PGAMA, Executive Boardroom – 9685 Gerwig Lane Columbia, MD 21046

RIFI Exhibiting at ISFLC 2016, Plus Cool Events

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be exhibiting information about RIFI and  The Great Connections Seminar at the 2016 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, D.C. February 26-27 at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

RIFI at ISFLC16

We’ve been exhibiting at ISFLC for years because we know it’s one of the biggest gathering of students who are passionate about ideas and promoting freedom in the world. Our Great Connections Seminar is the perfect environment for students who are interested in not only learning about the ideas of freedom, but living and implementing autonomy in their education and their lives. This summer’s theme is “Reason & Love.”

At conferences, we so often meet students who are tired of listening to lectures, one after the other. They want to talk about the ideas with each other. They want to interact and learn through conversation. And that’s how the schedule and curriculum of the Great Connections summer program has been designed: to involve students in all aspects of their learning through challenging texts and ideas, facilitated discussions, guest lectures and activities with fascinating professionals, and exciting outings throughout the city of Chicago. It all adds up to a liberating and transformative learning experience. Join us at our table at ISFLC to learn more and to sign up for early bird tuition discounts!

Events Worth Checking Out During ISFLC

There are several interesting events going on throughout the weekend during ISFLC. We’ve listed a few here for you that we think are worthwhile:

  • Luncheon: Ladies of Liberty – The Ladies of Liberty Alliance and the Women for Liberty are bringing together women who love liberty from over the world to lunch together at ISFLC. You don’t have to attend the conference to come have lunch, but you do have to be a lady of liberty. It’s a great opportunity to meet other women who are interested in promoting liberty and to share your experiences and build a great support network of fabulous women. Saturday, Feb. 27, 12:15—1:15PM. $20 cash for lunch. Learn more here.
  • Seminar: Ayn Rand’s Philosophical Underpinnings of Freedom – For students attending ISFLC, there is a one and one-half day seminar on Ayn Rand’s key philosophical arguments for a free society. Get together with other students to examine Rand’s writing and its relationship to libertarian political theory. You’ll analyze her essays, “The Objectivist Ethics,” “Man’s Rights,” and “What Is Capitalism” in four shared inquiry sessions. All interested students must complete a short application. These discussions start Thursday evening, Feb. 25th, one day before ISFLC, and end Friday, Feb. 26th in the afternoon, before the ISFLC opening remarks. The seminar organizers have scholarship money to provide for staying at the hotel for the extra night. Learn more here.
  • Lecture: What Education Would Be Like in a Free Society – RIFI President and Founder Marsha Familaro Enright will be speaking at the Maryland Objectivist Society on “The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Could Be Like in a Free Society.” She’ll discuss what’s driving the decline in the quality of education, the real reasons for optimism in our current educational situation, and the surprising picture of what education could be like in a freer society, with some ideas as to how to get there. Sunday, Feb. 28, 2:30—4:30PM. Learn more here.

A Summer Program for Students 16 and older

Get an edge on college – and life! Come to

The Great Connections Seminar

A Summer Program for Students 16 and older

Saturday, July 22-Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chicago

If you’re not a student…

Could your favorite student benefit from this program? Please forward this information.

Free yourself: Students success

Unleash your mind.

Strengthen your autonomy.

Expand your knowledge.

Experience your power to affect others.

“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. And I realized how lacking my formal education was. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” Brendan Moore, Coe College

Registration is now open for
The Great Connections Seminar

Our theme this year is “Reason and Evolution”

To students…

  • Are you tired of classes where you’re told what to think?
  • Are you looking for more than memorizing information and reciting it on tests?
  • Do you want to be challenged to think for yourself?
  • Can you confidently argue for – and act on – your point of view?
  • Do you want to be prepared for today’s ever-changing markets?
  • Do you want to connect with passionate and principled students from the U.S. and abroad to discuss life’s most challenging questions…while enjoying music, dancing, architecture, and art to the fullest?

Students practicing improv techniques. If your answer is “yes,” then join us this  coming July for a unique “total immersion”  learning experience in one exciting and  challenging week of intensive classes,  interactive sessions, off-campus expeditions,  and rewarding camaraderie. It just might  change your life, as it has for previous  students.

(Students practice improvisation techniques above.]

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…

Janessa Colomer

“I love this program! I learned how to approach [philosophical] topics, learn mathematics and found people who are motivated, determined, and proactive to further their education.” Janessa Colomer, University of California San Diego

Chicago by the river

 Preview what you’ll experience…

 

 

 

Through this program, you will:

  • Discover why philosophy is crucial to your survival and flourishing, and find the important meaning and implications for yourself in seemingly simple issues.
  • 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 with our evidence-based discussion method applied to an extraordinary range of subjects, from philosophy to mathematics, poetry to politics.
  • Discuss the links between between theory and practice, choice and action.
  • Learn how to creatively collaborate with enthusiastic peersIvy Hood

“I learned ‘Question your teachers–if you simply soak up what they tell you, you don’t have a true understanding.” Ivy Hood, B.A. International Studies, B.S. Economics, Rockford University, 2016 Student Laureate, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois

Learn How to Write Well

Do you know how to write well and express your thoughts effectively?

Writing with skill is crucial to achieving many goals: course-work, cover letters for jobs, emails inquiring about post-doc positions, persuading others to invest in your business idea – you name it.

This year at The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the instruction of a professional writing expert, Malachy Walsh. See all about him below.

Connect timeless principles to today’s hottest issues…

At the seminar next summer, we’ll show you how to understand and enjoy challenging works that have changed the world.

Discussions of Pythagoras, Charles Darwin, Joseph Schumpeter, and other great thinkers, will help you discover the often-hidden connections between classic principles and contemporary controversies.

Sable Levy talking with other students. “It’s four months later and  I  haven’t stopped thinking about the  seminar. At  the risk of sounding trite or  hyperbolic, I  know it has changed my life    forever.” Sable  Levy, Drew University (second  from right)

On architecture tour of Chicago.

For example:

  • Examine the nature of life and its relation to the mind in Aristotle’s DeAnima–and relate it to Darwin’s discoveries,
  • Explore a poem that was a right-turn in human intellectual evolution–and revived the Western world, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things.
  • See how Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws influenced social evolution.

We’ll delve into works from science to economics and literature – all about evolution.

Derick Ansah

“When I met him again at the beginning of this fall    semester, it was like meeting a completely new    person. Derick had changed mentally and spiritually    so much. It’s as if he grew 2 years’ worth of  college prowess in your short one-week  course.” – Nawaphon Sittisawasakul, SUNY-  Purchase (Derick Ansah pictured at left)

See how to use The Great Connections in your life in our latest videos here.

Benefit from individual attention…

In our discussion groups (maximum of 15 students) instructors won’t force-feed you prefabricated notions. Rather, our talented faculty will teach you one of Great Connections 2013 students studying together at breakfast.the  most important lessons of all: how to grasp the  meaning of events and ideas for yourself. Why? One  of our priorities is constant interaction between  instructors and students.  Participants will work  individually  and “hands-on” with superb teachers  and mentors who will coach them one-on-one in achieving their goals.Guest speakers won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions both in and out of class.Eric Rhodes, The Great Connections 2009“Eric spent several hours telling us about his experience in Chicago and how much it meant to him. His father and I are delighted!” Lucy Hair, mother of Eric Rhodes, University of California Riverside 

Free Yourself…

All this adds up to a culture in our seminar like no other; one which encourages and respects your individuality, ideas, and independence, and which will energize you while you free yourself to take charge of your own education and your life.

Ian Mihura and Sable Levy “We made our own society, where my ideas, my  presence and effectiveness counted. Now I know I can  make a difference.” Ian Mihura, senior, Clarin High School,  Buenos Aires (at left)

 For one transformative week, experience a superior  way of learning … and discover the culture of a rational  and free society.

Meet your instructors…

Marsha Familaro Enright Marsha Familaro Enright, Seminar Leader
 B.A. Biology, M.A., Psychology, President, The Reason,  Individualism, Freedom Institute, the Foundation for the  College of the United States

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.

Liz Parker

Liz Parker, B.S. Economics and B.A. Global Affairs,
 George Mason University
 The Great Connections Teacher Training Course

Ms. Parker has participated in more than ten Great Connections  Seminars, and co-instructed for the past three years. She brings a wide range of talents to the program from her background in art and television production, as well as economics and international relations.

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor, The Great Connections Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor
 B.A. Liberal Arts, M.Ed. Montessori Integrative Learning,  Graduate student, Economics, George Mason University,  Master leader of Socratic Seminars.

A graduate of the rigorous Great Books classics program at St. John’s College, Sante Fe, Mr. Humphries is a Koch Fellow, Grover Herman Fellow, and Young Communicators Fellow of the Institute for Humane Studies. He also worked at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the high school program at The School of the Woods Montessori School, Houston, the Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi, and Michael Polanyi College at Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala City.

 MalachMalachy Walshy Walsh, Leader, The Writing Connection

 B.A. Georgetown University, M.A.  Depaul University, and  perennial  Ph.D. candidate in literature,  University of  Chicago.

In his 5-day course, The Writing Connection. Mr. Walsh will teach you how to write for any purpose, based on his 25 years of experience as a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, and Aristotle’s Rhetoric. His passion is helping people learn how to write better, because knowing how to write well creates a lifetime of opportunities.  As a manager at Kraft put it, “Malachy shows you how to pick your own brain.” He will also be available as a professional mentor to the students. See more about him below.

Enjoy special presentations and meet exciting professionals…

Meet accomplished professionals in a variety of careers of potential interest to you. You’ll learn first-hand how they do their jobs and get personal answers to your questions. You will meet people such as Ruth Baker, J.D., Baker and Enright, Chicago and Ralph Yuan, Quantitative Researcher at a Wall Street investment firm.

Think hard, work hard, play hard…

Students Jake Ilson and Eric Rhodes swimming in Lake Michigan

Our program includes informative seminars and mind-  expanding presentations, plus adventurous off-campus  expeditions that connect classroom theory to the real world.  We will draw upon Chicago’s rich intellectual, architectuChicago lakefrontral,  cultural, and commercial  resources, capitalize upon classic films,  music, and works of art.

We’ll journey to famous museums, research facilities, business clubs, restaurants, retail stores and beyond, such as:

  • Gorgeous Grant Park
  • Lake Michigan’s Oak Street Beach,
  • The Oriental Museum on the University of Chicago campus,
  • The Second City Comedy Club, birthplace of improv and midwife to Saturday Night Live

Experience the excitement of one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in North America, Chicago. You’ll attend classes in conference rooms and live in its fully equipped apartments of Marie Robinson Hall, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You’ll be just steps from their great recreational complex, and a short bus ride to Millennium Park, the Art Institute, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.

Due to the individual attention each student will receive, enrollment is limited to  15 per seminar discussion group. DMarina Coll and Carolina Ciblis, Great Connections 2011on’t risk being left out –  enroll today! See complete seminar details below.

 

“It was good when people said ‘I don’t understand.’” Marina Coll, English and philosophy teacher, Our Lady of the Shelter School, Buenos Aires, Argentina (on the left in the picture)

Seminar Details
The basics: The Great Connections Seminar will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 22nd and end at midnight on Saturday July 29th. You will check out of your dorm on Sunday morning, July 30th and have the rest of the day to enjoy the city.

Location:
Marie Robinson Hall at The University of Illinois at Chicago811 W. Maxwell, Chicago, IL

Capsule schedule:
 Participants will attend seminars in the mornings, go on excursions in the afternoons, and engage in extended discussions in the evenings. Saturday afternoon/evening: An orientation and initial Socratic Seminar. Sunday to Saturday: Socratic Seminars, special presentations, excursions, meetings with professionals, extended breaks to eat and explore on your own; Saturday evening: A closing dinner and party; Sunday morning: The day is free to explore the city or return home, at your option.

Readings:
In the spring/summer, we will email links for most of the texts so that you can read them in preparation for the seminar. On the opening Saturday afternoon, you will receive a specially printed book with all the readings to use during the seminar. We highly recommend you read all selections before you arrive.

Accommodations and Meals:
 You will reside in the contemporary, air-conditioned apartments of our conference building, Marie Robinson Hall. You will have one bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen. We will provide the opening and closing dinners. A Whole Foods and a Jewel Supermarket are 5 minutes walking from the Hall and there are many food stores, eateries and cafes nearby offering everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to Thai food and sushi for your other meals. There’s also have a cafeteria within walking distance. Students often eat together and are encouraged to make meals together in their apartments. You can sign up to use the University of Illinois at Chicago recreational facility.Transportation: Downtown Chicago is reached easily from O’Hare and Midway airports via CTA train or airport shuttle, as well as by bus and car. Links to maps, information about what to bring, and details about Chicago will be sent to you after you register.Fees: Full tuition to the program is $1,200, which includes the opening and closing dinners, and books. Room in an equipped apartment, with use of conference and entertainment facilities, is an additional $800.Fee Schedule:Before March 1st, tuition is $300, Room and Board $300Before May 1st, tuition is $500; Room and Board $500,After May 1st, tuition is $1,200 and Room and Board $800.Some scholarships are available covering tuition, room and some board (see details on the Application Form here and contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418 with any questions).

How to register for the seminar:

1. To apply online click here to go to the Application Form. After your interview and acceptance, you will be directed to a totally secure web page, where you may use your credit card to pay for the program. For your information, the payment page is here.

2. To apply by postal mail, fax, or email, click here to print out an application form. Complete and mail to 9400 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60643.  After your interview and acceptance, you can mail your check to the same address, call us at 773-677-6418 to pay by phone, or pay online at our website.

Jan. 24 EVENT: The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Would be Like in a Free Society

RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright will be speaking on the collectivists’ control of education in the U.S. on Sunday, January 24th in the Atlanta area. We would enjoy having you join us that afternoon! Please let us know if you have any questions. You can contact Marsha at: menright@rifinst.org or call at 773-677-6418.

Wavy hair lace wigs

“The Collectivist Control of Education and
What Education Would be Like in a Free Society”
Sunday January 24, 2016
4:00-5:30 P.M.
Smyrna, GA

A talk by Marsha Familaro Enright, educational entrepreneur, author of the last chapter, “Liberating Education” in Common Ground on Common Core, editor of Ayn Rand Explained, Lead Developer and Instructor, The Great Connections Seminar for High School and College Students, and Founder and President of Council Oak Montessori School in Chicago for over 26 years.

Many of us are aware of the continuing control of Academia by the collectivists, and how they are using education to transform our young people into sheepish conformists to their agenda. Ms. Enright will discuss the insidious ways in which they achieve these aims, analyzing the psychology of it. As a tonic to that gloomy situation, she will project the surprising picture of what education could be like in a fully free society, with some ideas as to how to get there

Public education costs most of us a pretty penny in taxes, yet yields poor outcomes:

  • For our own children, driving many of us to pay two times; in taxes and private school tuition;
  • Especially for children of the less well-off, who can’t escape to private schools;
  • For too many, in the lack of crucial knowledge, reasoning power, motivation, and work skills.

As technology drives the job market, requiring higher and higher skills, a very good example is the hair lace front wigs. the situation is only getting worse – more and more individuals are being left behind, unable to adequately and honorably support themselves.

Hear about:

  • What’s driving this decline – the historical, economic, psychological and political reasons;
  • The bright spots of hope and the real reasons for optimism in our current educational situation;
  • The surprising picture of what education could be like in a freer society, with some ideas as to how to get there;
  • What you can do to hasten this better future for you and your children.

Come to hear and meet Marsha as well as other concerned parents, taxpayers and civic minded individuals about what can be done to create a better future in education.

About Marsha:

Marsha Familaro Enright is an author and speaker on, among other topics, human development, psychology, and creativity. Many of her interviews are available to watch online.

She is the creator of The Great Connections Summer Seminar, a week-long, liberal arts course for students 16 and up, focuses on classic texts across the ideological spectrum, including those of the philosophy, economics, politics, and history of freedom. Its evidence-based discussion principles significantly increase student reasoning power, as well as collaborative work skills. The program has a transformative effect on most students who attend, radically increasing their autonomy. Learn more at www.thegreatconnections.org.

Check out the event and RSVP on the ATLOS (Atlanta Objectivist Society) Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/924843764230575/.

For further information, contact: Kelly Elmore kellyelmore79@gmail.com.

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