English / Español

Lifelong Learning Program

Scroll down for courses
The Lifelong Learning Program at the Centro Cultural / Instituto Allende provides San Miguel de Allende residents and visitors with the opportunity of taking courses designed for self-enrichment, intellectual stimulation, and fun. Courses are designed for adult learners by skilled instructors. All program staff and instructors are volunteers in order to keep tuition as low as possible.

There are three terms a year: January–March, July-August, and October-December. There are two to five two-hour classes per course. For schedules and fees, which include social hour snacks after each class, please see course descriptions below. The program is an excellent way to meet interesting new people and to indulge your intellectual curiosity. Now you can finally take those intriguing courses you never had time to take in school, but with no homework, exams, or grades!

Jo Sanders

Director

jo@josanders.com

Barbara Kalis

Associate Director

kalisbarbara@yahoo.com

Josephine Curtis

Student Relations

jocurtis44@hotmail.com

Pat Hall

Publicity

pathall938@gmail.com

Max Neufeld

Coordinator Relations

genneuf@aol.com

Daniel Morgan

Audiovisual Specialist

math.dork@yahoo.com

HOW TO ENROLL

1. With PayPal following each course listed below.

2. In person at the Instituto office, Ancha de San Antonio #22, Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 2:00

3. By telephone to the Instituto office, Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 2:00

(415) 152 09 29 / (415) 152 01 90

Approximate US and Canada exchange rates

1 US dollar = 21 pesos

1 Canadian dollar = 16.5 pesos

NEW! THE LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAM’S
FIRST EVENT IN OUR NEW INVITED LECTURE SERIES!

MEDIA AND MEDIOCRITY:
“WHAT WE’VE GOT HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE”

(Quotation from the Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke)

ARNIE REISMAN

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22,
LECTURE 4:00 – 5:30
WINE RECEPTION TO FOLLOW
$250 PESOS (one glass of wine is included in the price of the ticket)

Does the American media go through cycles or is it heading back to the Stone Age? Have we crossed the line separating news and entertainment once too often for our own good? Has cable television become the Monster from the Black Lagoon? Why has “informed public” become an oxymoron? And how does the recent election inform our ideas about all this? With one foot in news and one in entertainment, Arnie Reisman has seen it all.

Arnie Reisman is a journalist, playwright, filmmaker, poet, and radio performer. His career has encompassed news and entertainment in many media formats: television, radio, film, theater, newspapers, books, periodicals, and Internet podcasts. He is the Poet Laureate of Martha’s Vineyard and a panelist on NPR’s “Says You” since 1996. He co-produced and directed a PBS documentary that is now being turned into a Broadway musical, wrote an Oscar-nominated documentary film, published two books of poetry, wrote several plays, and spent many years in newspaper and magazine journalism.

Limited number of tickets on sale only at the Instituto office, Ancha de San Antonio #22, or here:

Buying with PayPal

1. Please note that PayPal ticket sales will close on February 17. After February 17 tickets will only be available in the Instituto office, Ancha de San Antonio #22.
2. If you use PayPal to pay, it will be necessary for you to pick up your actual ticket at the PayPal Tickets table at the Instituto before the lecture. Please arrive early enough to do this.

2016 – 2017 COURSES

Fall 2016 Courses

Winter 2017 Courses

FALL COURSES

October, November and December 2016

NOVEMBER

For the Love of Coffee and Chocolate

Kirsten West

Thursday, November 17

Class 10:00 – 12:00; served lunch; class 1:00 – 3:00

410 pesos

Taste buds sing from the rooftops with the delicious, complicated and distinctive nuances of these two ancient beverages. There is so much more to these globally beloved drinks than you can ever imagine. Now is the perfect time to delve into their complex and storied past. Is it a coincidence that the world’s most sought after beverages have a history and culture that have been parallel for a millennium?

You will definitely be more grateful for your morning cup of java and hot chocolate after these two eye-opening classes!

Kirsten West is an international chef and cooking instructor. Her 30 years of studying Mexican cuisine included traveling to many regions of the country. Her teachers have been numerous and wonderful Mexican cooks, as well as authorities such as Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless, with whom she collaborated for eight years. Kirsten is now a permanent resident of Mexico and enjoys teaching at her long anticipated SMA cooking school “La Piña Azul”.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

Pre-Hispanic San Miguel in the Context of Ancient Mexico and Mesoamerica

Albert Coffee

Friday, November 18

CLASS 10:00 – 12:00; SERVED LUNCH; CLASS 1:00 – 3:00

410 pesos

Albert will share hands-on, intimate knowledge of the archaeological importance of this region of Mexico known as El Bajío and San Miguel’s environs, as well as an introduction to the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico and the realm known as “Mesoamerica.” He will present the most recent findings at the archaeological zone Cañada de la Virgen and will explain how they are interpreted within the larger context of ancient Mesoamerican history.

Albert Coffee is an archaeologist who studied the archaeology of Mesoamerica at Louisiana State University. He was invited to participate in the excavation of the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site in 2004-05 by the official INAH team, during which he investigated the legends, wisdom and memories of the elders of the rural, indigenous communities located on and around the historic ex-hacienda upon which the site is located.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

DECEMBER

Writers of the Harlem Renaissance: The Roaring 20s in Harlem

Mary Katherine Wainwright

Tuesdays and Thursdays, December 6, 8, 13 and 15

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

The decade of the 1920s is regarded as the decade of experimentation in American literature, art and culture, and nowhere was this experimentation so evident as in Harlem in New York City. While many writers of the 20s became expats in Paris or created a bohemian culture in Greenwich Village, Harlem became the mecca of black art, literature, and music. After a general introduction to the social forces at work that created the Great Migration to Harlem in 1917, the course will focus on the literary greats: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Angelina Grimke, and others. Poetic and literary forms and themes will be emphasized.

Mary Katherine Wainwright has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University. Her dissertation focused on the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. For thirty years she was Professor of Literature at the State College of Florida in Bradenton/Sarasota, and has taught at various other colleges and universities including The College of Staten Island, Eckerd College, and the University of South Florida. Her specialties include women in literature, women’s studies, African-American literature, and American literature and poetry.

WINTER COURSES

January, February and March 2017

JANUARY

Exploring the Gift: How Computing Changes Our Lives

Michael Werner
Thursdays and Mondays, January 5, 9, 12, and 16.
Class 1:00 – 3:00, social hour 3:00 – 4:00.
525 pesos.

It is clear that the advent of computing has profoundly changed our lives, mostly for good but sometimes not. This course examines a number of current issues regarding the role of computing in society. First, the Internet has enabled ordinary people not only to access information, but also tell their own stories. Anyone today can publish his/her own blog or even show their homemade videos on YouTube. It’s not all good: we may be overwhelmed by a deluge of questionable reports obtained via social media and unmoderated forums. Second, we will also examine the Internet of things, in particular driverless cars. But with convenience comes loss of privacy, our third topic. They are watching us. Last, we look at the role that mavericks have played in computing and the threat of hacking and cyber warfare. For this course no computer expertise is needed. We will spend some time on background information and framing the issues. We will watch YouTube videos and TedX talks, and we will have plenty of discussion. There will be an accompanying website with links to the class’ PowerPoint slides, articles and videos for those who want to explore further.

Michael Werner is a retired computer science professor from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from Northeastern University and an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. Mike’s involvement with computers started in 1963. His recent teaching specialties have been in programming languages and 3D graphics on Android phones, and lately his interests have shifted to the philosophical implications of the computer revolution. Currently Mike leads study groups at Tufts University’s adult education (Osher) program.

SMA Then and Now

Wednesday and Friday, January 11 and 13
Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00
410 pesos

This course will focus on San Miguel de Allende as it was twenty or more years ago and as it is today. Some of the topics that will be covered are how tourism, fiestas, communication systems, shopping, the relocated ex-pat’s profile, social lives, cars, walking on Sunday nights in the Jardín, the Instituto, friendliness and sense of community have changed. Or have they changed? Vignettes about incidents and people then and now will also be told. There will be a panel of eight people who have all lived in San Miguel for twenty years or more.

Cesar Arias, Patsy Dubois, Victoria Gold, Georgeann Johnson, Mai Onno Kestenbaum, Louis Marbre-Cargill, Patricia Merrill and Malinda Vertiz will be panel members.

Unconscious Bias: Becoming Aware of What We Really Believe

Jo Sanders

Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 17, 19, 24, and 26

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

With the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the disability rights movement, the gay rights movement, and others, why do stereotyping and discrimination persist even though so many of us are sincerely convinced we are unbiased? This research-based and participatory course, focusing on many equity-related issues, will delve below the surface of our conscious thoughts and attitudes to cast light on what we don’t realize we think and believe. By making the unconscious conscious, we control our attitudes and behaviors; otherwise they control us. Repeated from last year.

Jo Sanders had a career as an educational researcher in gender equity, working with thousands of teachers and education professors nationwide to become more effective for both sexes in the classroom. She has published ten books and dozens of book chapters and research papers, and has given speeches and workshops across the US and internationally. She is the founder and director of the Lifelong Learning Program.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

FEBRUARY

Introduction to Madama Butterfly

Louis Marbre-Cargill

Friday, February 3.
Class 10:00 – 12:00; served lunch; class 1:00 – 3:00.
410 pesos.
Additional Section.

For the third year in a row, Louis Marbre-Cargill, the instructor with the honor of having the highest student rating since the beginning of the Lifelong Learning Program, will offer a one-day course to introduce Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, the beloved opera that Pro Musica will be presenting February 10 and 12 at the Angela Peralta theater. This opera about a young and all-too-faithful Japanese geisha is one of the most popular, accessible, and beautiful of them all. Butterfly is one of the defining roles in opera, and the lyric beauty of Puccini’s score has made it a heartbreaking but timeless masterpiece. A word to the wise: Louis’s courses are always sold out, so don’t delay signing up!

Louis Marbre-Cargill is a New Yorker whose workday life has principally been as a high school teacher of English and literature in Ghana, West Africa, and Sudbury, MA. His enthusiasm for opera began in junior high school and developed over the years into a passion that led to attending performances in New York and as far afield as London, Paris and the USSR. He has created an opera library represented on all forms of recording, 78-rpm discs to DVDs.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

History of Western Architecture from Prehistoric to Modern Times

Raymond Stern

Tuesdays and Thursday, February 7, 9, and 14

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

410 pesos

Shelter is a basic human need and architecture transcends this into a fusion between science and art. It is a reflection of society’s priorities and values. This course – spanning some 200,000 years – is a challenge to cover in 3 days, but this compression has advantages. It will compel us to think about and learn the core meanings underlying architecture through the ages. The last part of the final session will zero in on revelations about the architecture of San Miguel Allende.

Raymond Stern has practiced and taught architecture for over 50 years in Europe, South-East Asia, and the US and Canada, after graduating from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, England. His core interest lies in the meanings underlying architectural design and history.

Introduction to Madama Butterfly

Louis Marbre-Cargill

Wednesday, February 8

Class 10:00 – 12:00; served lunch; class 1:00 – 3:00

410 pesos

For the third year in a row, Louis Marbre-Cargill, the instructor with the honor of having the highest student rating since the beginning of the Lifelong Learning Program, will offer a one-day course to introduce Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, the beloved opera that Pro Musica will be presenting February 10 and 12 at the Angela Peralta theater. This opera about a young and all-too-faithful Japanese geisha is one of the most popular, accessible, and beautiful of them all. Butterfly is one of the defining roles in opera, and the lyric beauty of Puccini’s score has made it a heartbreaking but timeless masterpiece. A word to the wise: Louis’s courses are always sold out, so don’t delay signing up!

Louis Marbre-Cargill is a New Yorker whose workday life has principally been as a high school teacher of English and literature in Ghana, West Africa, and Sudbury, MA. His enthusiasm for opera began in junior high school and developed over the years into a passion that led to attending performances in New York and as far afield as London, Paris and the USSR. He has created an opera library represented on all forms of recording, 78-rpm discs to DVDs.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

Great Trials that Changed the Course of History

Sylvia Solomon

Fridays, Tuesday and Thursday, February 10, 21, 23, and 24

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

For many of us, Socrates, Galileo, Dreyfus, Nuremberg, and Roe v. Wade are familiar names that echo down through time. Why? Because the debates and the decisions that arose from these famous trials changed forever the course of Western civilization. In this course we will explore how the law, while it is the essential underpinning of democracy, can be bent and twisted by the very societies it exists to protect. How and why this happens is the story of humanity’s desire for justice and truth.

Sylvia Solomon is a retired educator with over thirty years in elementary schools, secondary schools, and several universities including the University of Toronto and Queens University. The last fourteen years of her career she worked at the Ontario Ministry of Education developing curriculum policy and resources that changed teaching and learning in Ontario. Her focus has always been social justice in education.

Getting Acquainted with Our Beautiful Universe

Phyllis Pitluga

Mondays, February 13, 20 and 27

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

410 pesos

This course will introduce you to what you see all the time but few know much about — the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe. Did you know that planetary systems orbiting other stars have recently been discovered? Did you know there is a super Black Hole in the center of our galaxy? How did the universe start? Is there life anywhere beyond the earth? If these questions intrigue you, this is the course for you.

Phyllis Pitluga is Astronomer Emerita from Chicago’s Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum where she taught classes, planned and presented planetarium sky shows, led and participated in exhibit teams, guided members on expeditions to see solar eclipses, Halley’s Comet, the transit of Venus, and cultural astronomy around the world during a career that spanned thirty-five years. She is an observational astronomer using some of the world’s largest telescopes.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

MARCH

Two Tragedies by Sophocles: Oedipus the King and Antigone the Rebel

Geoff Hargreaves

Thursdays and Mondays, March 2, 6, 9, and 13

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

After a glance at the life of Sophocles, one of the outstanding tragic playwrights of Classical Athens, we will focus on the personalities of the tragic hero and heroine and the role of the Greek gods, not as models of what life ought to be but of what life, often regrettably, is.

Geoff Hargreaves read Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford, before going on to earn a doctorate in English Literature. Since then he has translated Mexican novels and poetry into English for New York and London publishers. He now lives full-time in San Miguel.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

Physics for Poets: And You Thought Science Was Not Your Thing?

Tony Fainberg

Wednesdays and Fridays, March 8, 10, 15, and 17

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

Our lives are so much richer when we understand the functioning of the natural world. Most concepts can be grasped easily without higher mathematics, especially when placed in the historical contexts in which they arose. Physics was born from philosophy and is the mother science, with chemistry, biology, and their progeny born from physics. Human understanding of how the universe works grew by major steps over the centuries, starting with the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans, partly because their clearer skies enabled them to learn more about the heavens than in cloudy northern Europe. The means of understanding the universe were/are observation, deep thought, and experimentation, codified into the perhaps overly maligned scientific method. We will touch upon ancient cosmology, basic and statistical mechanics (in a non-boring way), and the development of knowledge of electricity and magnetism. Then we will turn to modern physics, which includes special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics and modern cosmology. A non-mathematical, historical, and conceptual introduction to the major achievements of physics should make the course interesting and accessible to non-scientists. At least I hope so.

Tony Fainberg started his career in physics with a doctorate in particle physics from UC Berkeley, and conducted basic research for 15 years at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. He has worked at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment on the impact of science and technology on society, and in the Executive Branch, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has previously taught introductory physics courses to non-scientists.

The Myth of the Returning Hero in Homer’s Odyssey

Terry Fitzpatrick

Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 14, 16, 21, and 23

Class 1:00 – 3:00; social hour 3:00 – 4:00

525 pesos

The story of the returning hero is one of the most powerful and enduring myths in many cultures about human experience. The Odyssey by Homer is one of the oldest versions of this myth (900-800 BC) and is still one of the most exciting adventure stories ever told. It’s about the deep human urge to experience life to its fullest and also a fabulous love story. And then it’s about coming home to those we love and the life we had left behind. But the question is: can we go really home again? IMPORTANT NOTE: You don’t need to read this book (or have read it before) to take and enjoy this course.

Terry Fitzpatrick was born in Montana and earned a BA from University of Washington and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Rutgers University. He was a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, teaching the world’s greatest authors in translation in a “great books” course for more than a decade. He had subsequent careers as a writer, editor, teacher, and public relations director at both for-profit and not-for-profit companies.

REPEAT INSTRUCTOR

The Dining Table: Life’s Centerpiece Through History

Eva Eliscu

Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
Class 10:00 – 12:00; served lunch; class 1:00 – 3:00.
410 pesos.

Throughout history, formal dinners and banquets have been held to strengthen alliances in politics, business, and marriage. Indeed, much history has been written over the course of a meal. As such, these occasions involve far more than table settings, interesting though they are in their own right. We will learn about differences among cultures, eras, political systems, and more as reflected in the tables set for grand dinners and banquets, starting with the Greeks, through the Romans, medieval England, Renaissance Italy, the 18th century French court, Napoleon’s world, the Victorian era, and ending with the Nobel Prize banquet held every year in Stockholm. Students will have a special opportunity to examine original dining tools of great historical significance from the instructor’s personal collection.

Eva Eliscu was born in Stockholm and is a travel writer, restaurateur, world traveler, culinary consultant, and lecturer on the history and customs of the dining table. She is a frequent guest speaker on the history of dining on the Holland American Cruise Line and in other venues, and is the co-producer of the Food in Festival at Bellas Artes in 2017.

REGISTER EARLY! AN ADDITIONAL 200 PESOS CHARGED FOR REGISTRATION ON THE DAY OF THE FIRST CLASS