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Conference Room in Concord House


Suggestions for Study
Circles are always welcome.

Donna at worldculture dot org

Newcomers are welcome to join at any time.






Welcome to the 2023 Study Circle
The IWC Study Circle meets in person and via Zoom on Tuesday evenings from 7:30–9:00 pm.
In person: Concord Hall Seminar Room, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA.
To receive a link to attend via Zoom please email
Our discussions cover a wide array of topics and themes over the year focusing on the
Institute's Theme for the Year and its Declaration of Interdependence

Participants will received a short article or essay a few days before each meeting. These resources will also be posted on this webpage (below) before each meeting. The focus on our discussions is always how to apply what we learn in our lives for the benefit of the whole. It would benefit the discussion if everyone could look at the material beforehand. There will be a brief introduction to the topic at the beginning of each meeting and the rest of the time will be open for discussion. Our emphasis in the Study Circle is on learning how best to apply what we learn in our daily lives in a way that uplifts the whole.



The Study Circle will round off the study of "patterns of learning" on March 7th and then, in the interest of understanding the controversial and conflicted, we will take a look at Iran and Jerusalem through the eyes of author Pico Iyer. His newly published book, The Half Known Life – In Search of Paradise, provides the reader with a unique, and in some ways intimate, view of these places of which we hear so often in the news. If you can purchase the book that would be helpful. If you are not able to do that, the chapters we will be discussion will be emailed to you prior to each week's meeting, or can be found below:

March 7th
Historical and Contemporary Education in India

We will finish off our theme of Pathways to Learning–A Global Perspective. Shrinivas Chari will present a panoramic view of historial and contemporary education in India to provide us with a basis for discussion.

March 14th
The Walled Garden
Pico Iyer's The Half Known Life – In Search of Paradise, will be the basis for the discussion of Iran.
Reading: Chapter 1: The Walled Garden

March 21st
The Holy City
Pico Iyer's The Half Known Life – In Search of Paradise, will be the basis for the discussion of Jerusalem.
Reading: (to be posted)

March 28th
to be determined


February 7th
Confucian / Taoist Patterns of Learning
A presentation of ideas on Confucian and Taoist ideas on learning.
"At home, a young man should be a good son, when outside he should treat others like his brothers, his behaviour should be one of trustworthy and proper, and should love the multitude at large and keep himself close to people of benevolence and morality. If after all these activities, he has any energy to spare, he should read widely to stay cultivated." - Confucius

Reading: Balancing Yin and Yang from Taoism, Teaching, and Learning: A Nature-Based Approcah to Education by John P. Mille
If you wish a copy of the reading, email

February 14
Montessori Methods Around the World
"Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence." – Maria Montessori
Reading: Montessori: The World's Most Influential School?
Reading: Elementary Montessori

February 21
Alterative Patterns of Learning

We will discuss one of the oldest alternative schools in English, Summerhill and view a TED talk given by Sir Kenneth Robinson on the value of creativity in learning.
Reading: Summerhill School
Readig: Liberating Education

February 28
Historial and Contemporary Education in Pakistan
Pakistani educator Ghazala Rahman Rafiq will joint us from Karachi to offer a glimpse into Pakistan's education landscape from a historical perspective and speak about some policies that are obstacles in the way of what she finds to be an enlightened approach in national education planning and delivery.
Link: How to Boost School Leadership in 4 Steps
Reading: Education in Pakistan (Word version) (PDF version)

"For Epictetus, a happy life and a virtuous life are synonymous. Happiness and personal fulfillment are the natural consequences of doing the right thing . . . Part of his genius is his emphasis on moral progress over seeking moral perfection." – Sharon Lebell

Our focus will be on the work of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, the teacher of the better-known philosopher Marcus Aurelius. We will be using Sharon Lebell's rendering of the work of Epictetus "The Art of Living: the Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness" (formerly published as "A Manual for Living"). Lebell is able to translate the thought of Epictetus into very accessible language while maintaining the original meaning. In today's world, Epictetus offers us the soothing influence of a philosophy applicable to every person no matter what their station in life or the era in which they live.
Click here for a printer-friendly schedule of topics

JANUARY 3, 2023
In the meeting, we will watch a video: "Living the Best Possible Life" with Sharon Lebel
Reading: The Art of Living, Prologue vii - xiii and pp. 2 and 3
Click here for reading

JANUARY 10, 2023
Reading: The Art of Living, "Harmonize Your Own Actions With the Way Life Is", pp. 4 - 31
Click here for reading

JANUARY 17, 2023
Reading: The Art of Living, "Self-Mastery is Our True Aim", pp. 32 - 57
Click here for reading

JANUARY 24, 2023
Reading: The Art of Living, "Conduct Yourself with Dignity", pp. 58 - 79
Click here for reading

JANUARY 31, 2023
Reading: Education and the Heart of Social Change by Robert W. Roeser
Click here for reading