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Peer Learning Collaborative 

Join our Peer Learning Collaborative Group for a dynamic and interactive educational experience. Collaborate with like-minded individuals, share knowledge, and engage in active discussions on topics of mutual interest. Enhance your learning through peer-led activities, diverse perspectives, and a supportive community. Together, we'll foster a rich and collaborative learning environment that empowers all participants to grow, develop, and achieve their goals.


  • Short courses on subjects of substance available Winter, Spring, and Fall

  • Developed and facilitated by peers

  • Any substantive top is open for "discussion"


  • See below for upcoming programs

  • Topics, dates, and times available below

  • Courses will be 3-5 weeks, 60-75 minutes each session


  • Open to LJolla Community Center Members $15, Non-Members $35

  • Sign up below

  • Everyone is invited to propose topics to facilitate

Rhetoric & Persuasion: Plato to the Present

This four-week course will examine rhetorical theory beginning with Plato and the Sophist Gorgias in the 3rd Century BC and ending with contemporary theories of persuasion. What moves us to believe what we believe, or to take a certain action? How do we evaluate the things we read, see, and hear? Along the way, we will consider the Talmudic tradition, early Puritan sermons, Presidential speeches, advertising, and visual rhetoric, through the lens of the options Plato and the Sophists offer. We will end with a consideration of ideology, discourse theory, semiotics, and 20th century discussions of “unconscious” rhetoric. How is meaning made? Why do we tell the stories we tell and what does their form reveal about our culture? Are we more like Plato or Gorgias? Which model serves us better and under what circumstances?

Facilitator: Dr. Deborah Williams
Dr. Deborah Williams holds a PhD in literature and rhetoric and is currently pursuing a master's degree in art history with a focus on visual rhetoric.  Her area of interest is mid- 20th Century American rhetoric. She wrote her PhD dissertation on early Cold War rhetoric’s of gender and patriotism and is currently studying mid-century abstract and figurative expressionist painting against the political and social backdrop of 1950s America.

Summary of topics and reading material CLICK HERE


Session 1 Reading Material:

Gorgias by Plato

Gorgias Encomium of Helen

Gorgias, A Defense of Palamedes

Rhetoric by Aristotle


Session 2 Reading Material:


Susan B Anthony

Transcription Washington's Inaugural Address

George Washington, Farewell Address, 19 September 1796

Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God


Session 3 Reading Material:

Introduction of Ideology, Terry Eagleton

Thursdays, June 6, 13, 20, 27. 3-4pm. Followed by drinks and appetizers.
$15/M, $35/NM for 4-week course.

The Moral and Ethical Dimensions of Vegetarianism

This three-session seminar will consider what it means to have a vegetarian lifestyle in a crowded, complex, interconnected world. The main objective is to give you some food for thought about how your dietary choices align with your values and your hopes for the future.

We will start with an overview of why people choose to be vegetarians, including some historical perspectives, and will briefly look at potential health benefits and pitfalls.

The second session will focus on environmental impacts. What is the difference in resource inputs between a vegetarian diet and an omnivore diet? Can vegetarians meaningfully reduce their carbon footprints?

In the last session, we will consider the implications of our diet decisions on the animals we use for food. What is our responsibility for humane treatment in the animal agriculture industry? Are your eating choices consistent with your values?

Throughout our time together I hope we will have a thoughtful exchange of experiences and perspectives about how what we eat affects ourselves and the world.

Facilitator: Bruce Englebert

Englebert spent 32 years with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. He is a trained mediator and has taught conflict resolution.  He holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.


Thursdays, September 5, 12, 19. 3-4pm. Followed by drinks and appetizers.
$15/M, $35/NM for 3-week course.

Why International Law Matters


For centuries, international law has played an enormous role in shaping the content and form of the international state system. Through elaborate procedures, rule and guidelines, it impacted on the relationships between states at various levels. State sovereignty, diplomacy, peace, war – all the dimensions of global existence are influenced by this.


This peer-to-peer conversation will examine the complex and varied sources, traditions, customs and functions of international law. We will talk about its significance in the international system and for humanity.


Session 1: Historical Aspects of International Law

Session 2: Introduction to the foundations of international law

Session 3: Customary law and treaty law

Session 4: Westphalia, the United Nations, the Nuremberg Judgement, and International Courts

Facilitator: Dr. Bill Kadaras

Dr. Bill Kadaras taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international law for more than a decade. He has a strong interest in comparative socio-historical analysis that spans the fields of history, sociology, international relations, gender studies, international/global studies and international law.


Tuesdays, October 1, 8, 15, 22. 3-4pm. Followed by drinks and appetizers.
$15/M, $35/NM for 4-week course.

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