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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,

 

A wonderful weekend at The Great Connections Seminar

Wish you could have joined us last weekend! “Types of Power,” “Causality Versus Duty” and “Federalist 51 on the Separation of Powers” were just a few of the fascinating texts we analyzed at The Great Connections Seminar. That was in between walking around Chicago to explore it’s fabulous architecture and sculpture. We all learned so much from the texts and each other about power in every aspect of our lives – and the ideas that make the world what it is today.

Tibor Machan recounted his unusual life, beginning with a harrowing escape from communist Hungary aboard a train filled with Soviet soldiers, to his part in establishing Reason magazine, leading to his worldwide fame as a reasonable exponent of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.Great Connections Fall 2015 Tibor Machan and Marsha Familaro EnrightGreat Connections Fall 2015 Sculpture discussionTGC Fall 2015 Seminar 2Great Connections Fall 2015 DinnerGreat Connections 2015 DinnerGreat Connections Fall 2015 Architecture tour

Register for our seminar now: Understanding Power and the Power of Reason

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults
Our theme: Reason and Power
Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015

Can’t make it? Join us for dinner and a talk by philosopher Tibor Machan on Saturday night (see more about him below).

Don’t miss out on our powerful weekend.  We’ll:

  • Delve deeply into “Types of Power” by Goldhammer and Shils to reveal the multiple variations of social power that influence our world.
  • Experience the psychological power of art through our examination of sculpture and architecture.
  • Bolster our understanding of the Constitution through our dialogue on Federalist 51, on the Separation of Powers.

And more! You will come away from our weekend, armed to understand and navigate social relationships, craft a better world for yourself through art, and fight against the erosion of our freedoms.

The weekend is coming up shortly – register soon! See all the detailed information below.

STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW!

Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – for your own satisfaction, pleasure, and increased personal power. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

With our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • Louis Sullivan, on the power of architecture.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room which was available until September 1st: call to check whether it is still available. Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

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. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

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

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright
President

 

The Great Connections Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults

Join us in Chicago this Fall for…

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults
Our theme: Reason and Power

Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015

STRICTLY LIMITED TO AN ENROLLMENT OF 20 … REGISTER NOW!

Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

I hear it so often: People wistfully express regret for what they didn’t accomplish in their college years – the courses they should have attended, the books they should have read, the discussions they didn’t have. Some even guiltily wish they had spent more time in class instead of sleeping, drinking, or otherwise slacking off.

It’s never too late! Now you have a second chance. Armed with renewed motivation and seasoned with the experience of a lifetime, you have a new perspective that will make this “return to college” genuinely worthwhile and rewarding.

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

Moreover, with our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions.Our theme this fall will be Reason and Power. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • James Madison, on the political separation of powers.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.

 

We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and             examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We’ve arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room (available until September 1st, then market rate). Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. But if you register by August 25th, you can pay $425.

Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

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. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

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

Regards,

Marsha Familaro Enright

President

 

The Great Connections Seminar is Filling Up Fast

THE GREAT CONNECTIONS SEMINAR

Saturday, July 25-August 1, 2015

Chicago

Michelangelo's Priogione detto AtlanteFree yourself:

Unleash your mind 

Strengthen your autonomy

Expand your knowledge

Experience your power to affect others

 

Mastering the Tools that Transform Higher Education

into Lifetime Success

A Seminar for Young Adults 16 and older

“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.”

Our theme this year is “Reason and Power.”

To students…

Are you looking for more than memorizing information and reciting it on tests? Do you want to be challenged to think for yourself?

Do you want to gain powerful knowledge and skills that will equip you for college, for success, for life?

Can you connect the abstract ideas propounded in your classrooms with life decisions and world events?

Can you confidently argue for – and act on – your point of view?

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.

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.

 

OUR ENROLLMENT IS FILLING UP

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE ALMOST GONE

PLEASE APPLY SOON.

If you’re not a student…

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

No matter where someone goes to school, this unusual experience will serve them well. The knowledge and skills acquired here could prove to be their most valuable asset in college, graduate school – and life. For details, please read on…

Janessa Colomer

Janessa Colomer, freshman, University of California, San Diego

 

“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.” 

Chicago by the river

Chicago by the river

 Preview what you’ll experience…

Through this seminar, 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.
  • Become an “ideological detective” by training your mind to find the assumptions behind any set of ideas and judge their objective truth.
  • Develop the ability to present facts, ideas, and arguments to others with clarity and confidence while learning important ideas about philosophy, politics, economics, history, science and more.
  • Confront riveting questions about such issues as the source of authentic happiness, how to withstand social pressure, and what is the relation of reason and emotion.
  • Learn the principles and practices of introspection and use them to increase your self-understanding and autonomy.
    •  Examine art’s power to change the culture. Explore the application of the concept of objectivity to architecture, sculpture, and painting, and decide whether something can be judged a work of art – or not.
  • objectivity to architecture, sculpture, and painting, and decide whether something can be judged a work of art – or not.

    Liz Parker and Rachel Milner, Great Connections 2009

    Liz Parker (on the left), Graduate, George Mason University, Arlington, V

“It’s easy to rely on others as authorities. This seminar was a great reminder of my power as an individual when I have reason on my side – and a great source of confidence.” 

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 Plato, The Port Royal Logic, Nicolo Machiavelli, Montesquieu, James Madison, Ayn Rand, and other great thinkers, will help you discover the often-hidden connections between classic principles and contemporary controversies.

Sable Levy talking with other students.

Sable Levy, Drew University, Madison, NJ (second from right)

“It’s four months later and, basically, I haven’t stopped thinking about the seminar. At the risk of sounding trite or hyperbolic, I know it has changed my life forever.”   

On architecture tour of Chicago.

Architecture and history tour of Chicago

 

For example:

  • Discover how the question of “what is knowledge” examined by Socrates in Plato’s Meno dialogue affects everything you think.
  • Consider the issues of terrorism and national security through Montesquieu’s examination of the separation of powers.
  • Learn how to increase your own personal power and self-control through introspection skills.
Brendan Moore makes a point.

Brendan Moore, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA (at  left)

 

“What I found incredibly valuable was that we were not only able to obtain theoretical knowledge but also practical knowledge.”  

Benefit from individual attention…

Great Connections 2013 students studying together at breakfast.

Students have chosen to  organize themselves in a study group.

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

Each discussion group in the seminar has a maximum of 15 students.

Eric Rhodes, The Great Connections 2009

Eric Rhodes

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.  Instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions both in and out of class.

“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

You will experience 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

Ian Mihura, senior, Clarin High School,  Buenos Aires

We made our own society, where my ideas, my presence and effectiveness counted. Now I know I can make a difference.” 

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

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, human development to neuropsychology.

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

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor, The Great Connections

Andrew Humphries

Andrew Humphries, Co-Instructor
B.A. Liberal Arts, M.Ed. Montessori Integrative Learning,

A graduate of the rigorous Great Books classics program at St. John’s College, Sante Fe, Mr. Humphries is a master leader of Socratic Seminars. 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.

Enjoy special presentations and meet exciting professionals…

Karen Brienzo, Jack Denst Designs

Karen Brienzo

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:

Karen Brienzo, CEO and President Jack Denst Designs and Mail Managers, Chicago, IL
Ms. Brienzo started her career as an entrepreneur at the age of seven, selling decorated hangers. She founded the direct-mail handling business, Mail Managers, over 25 years ago. Today, she’s reviving the brand of mid-century modern designer Jack Denst, who is featured in the Smithsonian.

Ms. Brienzo is a founding board member of Council Oak Montessori School.

Dan Curran

Dan Curran

Dan Curran, CPA, JD, Real Return Group, Chicago Stock Exchange, Chicago, IL

Starting his career with Goldman Sachs in 1959 and with a life plan to at least the age of 90, Mr. Curran has a long and  colorful career as a market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Stock Exchange among many other roles.

He was a board member of the Free Market Society of Chicago, and is a founding board member of The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute.

James Kandrac

Jim Kandrac

 

James Kandrac, President, United Computer Group, Independence, OH

In June 1987, at 26 years old and married with a six-month old, Jim Kandrac founded United Computer Group, Inc. (UCG). UCG is an IBM Advanced Business Partner

specializing in mid-market and enterprise clients. UCG has been rated in the top 1% of IBM Business Partners nationwide. UCG’s VAULT400 BaaS is a premier managed risk mitigation and business continuity planning service for secure online backup and disaster recovery.

 Mr. Kandrac has mentored Brecksville, OH high school students through the School of Entrepreurial Engagement of Northeast Ohio program for many years.


Think hard, work hard, play hard…

Students Jake Ilson and Eric Rhodes swimming in Lake Michigan

Swimming at Olive Park Beach, Chicago

 

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, architectural,

Chicago lakefront

Chicago Lakefront

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:

  • Grant Park, Chicago,
  • Lake Michigan Oak Street Beach,
  • Chicago Stock Exchange

Experience the excitement of one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in North America, Chicago. You’ll attend classes in the fully equipped conference center and apartments, Thomas Beckham Hall, one of the residences of the University of Illinois at Chicago. You’ll be just steps 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.

Marina Coll and Carolina Ciblis, Great Connections 2011

Marina Coll and Carolina Ciblis

Due to the individual attention each student will receive, enrollment is limited to  15 per seminar discussion group. Don’t risk being left out –  enroll today and benefit from the steep Early Bird Discount!  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 DetailsThe basics: The “Great Connections” seminar will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 25th and end at midnight on Saturday August 1st. You will check out of your dorm on Sunday morning, August 2nd and have the rest of the day to enjoy the city.Location: Thomas Beckham Hall, The University of Illinois at Chicago1250 S. Halsted, Chicago, ILCapsule 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. The full schedule will be published in the near future.

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 will also provide advance copies of the reading via email, and 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, Thomas Beckham Hall, 1250 S. Halsted. You will have one bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen. You can sign up to use the University of Illinois at Chicago recreational facility. 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.

Transportation: Downtown Chicago is easily reached from O’Hare and Midway airports via CTA train or airport shuttle, as well as by bus, train, and car. Links to maps, information about what to bring, and details about Chicago will be sent to you after you register.

Fee: 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:

Until March 31st, tuition is $300; Room and Board $400,

April 1st, tuition is $500; Room and Board $400,

May 1st,  tuition is $700; Room and Board $600,

June 1st, tuition is $800 and Room and Board $900,

After June 1st, tuition is $1,200 and Room and Board $800.

Scholarships are available; see details on the Application Form here and contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418 with any questions.

For more details about the program, go here.

Here’s 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.

2. To apply by postal mail, 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 or pay online at our website.

See the full schedule here.

The Great Connections program fosters active minds:Empowering each individual with the knowledge, reasoning skills, and independence to understand the world and build a life of adventure and creative achievement.The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute9400 S. Damen AvenueChicago, IL 60643

773-677-6418

www.rifinst.org