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Campus at the cultural Center

The goal of the Campus at the Cultural Center is to support and sustain the life-long love of learning. To that end, we sponsor programs and presentations on topics that engage our members.


Food & Film Series

$75 membership includes all films and programs 

$49++ optional dinner following each film; reservations required, space is limited . 

The Film Society is pleased to present its fourth season at the Campus. In partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Communication Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies, we will study films and film making approaches from around the world.

On six Monday evenings, we will view films that have a link to a food theme. Each will be introduced and followed with a presentation by an educator in the field, a film industry professional, and/or a selected chef.

After the event, a special dinner inspired by the film will be served along with the opportunity to discuss the film and socialize with members. These entertaining evenings will celebrate film, learning, and exquisite meals created by Ocean Reef Club’s exemplary culinary staff.

Mondays at 4:30pm

Nov 28 – East Side Sushi (2014 – Japanese cuisine) 

Jan 9 – Dinner Rush (2000 – Italian cuisine) 

Jan 30 – Julie & Julia (2009 – French cuisine) 

Feb 20 – Finding Gaston (2014 – Peruvian cuisine) 

Mar 13 – The Contender (2013 – Continental cuisine) 

Apr 3 – Like Water for Chocolate (1992 – Mexican cuisine)


Film Seminar Series: Legendary Directors and Filmmakers: Ford, Truffaut, Coppola and Wilder

$100 includes four seminars. Registration limited to 30.

In four interactive sessions, participants advance their knowledge of cinematic trademarks of four iconic directors. After previewing the specific film at their convenience, members meet with professors from the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media at the University of Miami to break down the film and identify the content and cinematography that typifies the creator’s style.

Tuesdays 9:30 – 11:30am                

Tue, Jan 10 - John Ford - The Man That Shot Liberty Valance (1962)                

Tue, Jan 31 - - Francis Coppola - The Conversation  (1974)                

Tue, Feb 21 - Francois Truffaut - Jules and Jim (1962)                       

Tue, Apr 4 - Billy Wilder - Some Like it Hot (1959)

This program does not require any previous experience in filmmaking.  The goal is to deepen their film-going experience and to cultivate the ability to “read” films.  This class is a chance to develop further understanding of filmmaking history in an optimum learning environment.


Founding Fathers: Inventing America

This year's topic will be The American Revolution -- the earliest years of the American nation, covering the turbulent separation from Great Britain and the creation of a unique, but pragmatic government, with an emphasis on the men and the moments that were critical in this first generation.

Six Thursday afternoon lectures will be presented by Professor Ashli White of the University of Miami History Department as well as guest historians Joseph Ellis and Gordon Wood.  

Founding Fathers: Inventing America  Lecture Series  $150 includes 6 lectures.  

Thursdays  4:00 -  5:30PM


Feb 9 - Declaring Independence – Ashli White

This lecture examines how the thirteen North American colonies arrived to the point of an irreconcilable break with Great Britain and why the decision for independence took the form that it did, namely a declaration.  While commonplace now, the very notion of a “declaration of independence” was novel then, and we will explore the men and ideas behind this influential invention.

Feb 16 - Fighting the War- Ashli White

Declaring independence was one thing, but actually becoming independent was an entirely different matter—one that meant war.   We will consider the contours of the revolutionary war—how and why it unfolded as it did and the effects of the long wartime experience on North America and Great Britain.  Washington and his Continental Army are central to this story, but so, too, are the perspectives of British and French leaders. 

Mar 16 - Creating a Government- Ashli White 

Americans may have won their independence from Great Britain in 1783, yet a daunting problem persisted: the lack of an effective and legitimate national government.  We will examine why the first form of government, the Articles of Confederation, failed, and how the founders—Hamilton and Madison, among others—devised a new Constitution and what that process entailed. 

Mar 23 - Establishing the Nation in a Hostile World- Ashli White 

This final lecture takes a look at how the founders tried to put the new Constitution into practice in the 1790’s.  This would have been a feat in the best of times, but the French Revolution and its effects on the wider world presented particular challenges that tested the mettle of and had an enormous impact on the new nation.   


Invited Scholars

In conjunction with the History Series, two lectures featuring invited scholars Joseph Ellis and Gordon Wood will be complimentary and open to the community.


What's the Fuss About the Founders? 

Thu. Jan 26 | 4:00PM –  Joseph Ellis, Speaker

Joseph Ellis is one of America’s leading scholars on American Revolutionary history, and a professor who has taught at Williams, West Point Military Academy, Holyoke and University of Massachusetts. His work focuses on the lives and times of the founders of the United States of America. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson won a National Book Award and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History. 







  The American Enlightenment

Thu. Mar 9 | 4:00PM - Gordon S. Wood, Speaker 

Why did the Founders in the 1790s view The United States as "the most enlightened nation in the world?" 

Gordon Wood is Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, and the recipient of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution. His book The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 won a 1970 Bancroft Prize. In 2010, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal.


The Campus at the Cultural Center is pleased to sponsor guest speakers who will address specific areas of interest to our members, with the goal of providing in-depth understanding of broadly ranging topics. 

Focus Presentations - complimentary 


Thu. Feb. 2 | 4:00PM - 
Dr. Stephen Halsey Professor of History, University of Miami 

Stephen Halsey has spent the last four years in Shanghai, at the crossroads of old and new China. His research and teaching focus on modern China but also engage the fields of environmental history, economic history, comparative colonialism, and global history. Halsey’s first book, Quest for Power: European Imperialism and the Making of Chinese Statecraft , analyzes the origins of China’s rise to great power status in the twentieth century. 

The Religions of Abraham: 6000 Years of Conflict in the Name of God?

Thu. March 30 | 4:00PM - Dr. Sol Gittleman Alice and Nathan Gantcher University Professor, professor of German, Judaic Studies, Biblical Literature and former Provost at Tufts University. 

To understand the modern Middle East, we require a review of the religious and political forces that have driven events in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for all of their recorded history. Dr Gittlemann is a legendary speaker, able to weave disparate threads, often with a unique sense of humor, into a whole that the audience never forgets. 


The Great Decisions Series will again be offered to the Ocean Reef community.  Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs.  The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book watching the DVD and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today.  Registration includes films, readings, discussion and debate. 

The cost for the 8 sessions, including text book - $265 Tuesdays 1:00 – 3:00PM.

February 7 - The European Union

The outcome of the United Kingdom referendum on EU membership sent shockwaves across the globe. The European Union has helped secure peace in Europe for 70 years. Amid a refugee crisis, lingering financial recession and the constant specter of terrorism, unity seems more imperative than ever. What will post-Brexit Europe look like, and how can U.S. foreign policy adapt? 

February 14 - The Truth about Trade, Jobs and Politics

The U.S. political mood toward trade has gone sour. The metrics used to gauge economic strength—Gross Domestic Product and balance of trade—have not kept up with modern manufacturing. Obtaining an accurate picture of U.S. economic stature requires a critique of those numbers. Only then can the U.S. develop appropriate policy solutions for the challenges at hand. 

February 21 - Navies and Sovereignty: China and the United States in the South China Sea

The South China Sea is a locus of competing territorial claims, and China its most vocal claimant. Beijing’s interest has intensified disputes with other countries in the region in recent years. Despite rising international pressure, China staunchly defends its policies in the region. Preventing tensions from boiling over is a matter of careful diplomacy

February 28 - Saudi Arabia in Transition 

As Saudi Arabia adjusts to the decline in oil revenue, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attempts to transform the country and shift power to the younger generation. The U.S. continues to point out the lack of democracy, women’s and human rights in Saudi Arabia, and blame its promotion of Wahhabism, for creating jihadists. The countries are at a crossroads in bilateral relations. 

March 7 - U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum 

For 45 years, the U.S. has alternated between periods of energy security and insecurity. Despite the so-called “energy revolution,” the U.S. is by no means disentangled from foreign dependence. Policymakers must recognize petroleum security circumstances and patterns in the relationship between petroleum and foreign policy. 

March 14 - A New Political Era in Latin America: From Ideology to Pragmatism? 

Latin American politics is swinging rightward again. These forces of change have more to do with socioeconomics than ideology. The result for Latin America may be the emergence of centrist, pragmatic modes of governance, and with them, opportunities for the U.S. to improve relations. The new administration must develop relations fit for the 21st century. 

March 21 - Afghanistan & Pakistan 

Conflict has plagued Afghanistan for decades. The U.S. has conducted military operations in the country nearly continuously since 9/11. Today, war with the Taliban persists, and tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have gradually deteriorated. President Obama has limited further withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Will the incoming administration maintain the status quo, reverse the Obama administration drawdown or withdraw completely? 

March 28 - Nuclear Security 

Nuclear nonproliferation was a priority for Obama’s administration. While the Iran Deal was a diplomatic victory toward this end, major threats persist from both state and non-state actors. North Korea, Russia, and India and Pakistan continue to challenge nonproliferation efforts. In a fractious world, which way forward for U.S. nuclear security policy?