About Us

Where CuriosiTy Never RetireS

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University is an association of, by, and for people in the Washington DC area who wish to continue to study and learn. OLLI is dedicated to the proposition that learning is a lifelong process and that curiosity never retires. Drawing on the talent and experience of seasoned learners in the Washington, DC area, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University (OLLI) offers a unique opportunity to continue learning at the university level. OLLI operates very much like a small liberal arts college.

Learning Community

What makes us unique is that the basic concept is that of peer learning and teaching. Members come from varied backgrounds, and what they have in common is genuine interest in continuing their learning experiences and intellectual stimulation in an organization of like-minded people. Members participate fully in study groups, either by leading them or attending them. There are no tests and no grades; members participate purely for the joy of learning. The goal is a high quality learning experience accessible to all.

We have fall and spring semesters that run from 8-10 weeks each. For a membership fee, participants may take up to 3 study groups that run during the day for 90  minutes a week. In addition to study groups, OLLI has a Friday Lecture Series during each semester, and extended lecture series in January and June.


Membership in OLLI provides an opportunity for social interaction, new friendships, and collegiality.  Activities are planned and operated by members. As a democratic membership organization, OLLI depends on the volunteer services of its members. Volunteering brings involvement in the Institute in meaningful, satisfying ways. Members are strongly encouraged to participate in one or more of the following ways:

The Board and its various committees develop and implement policies, procedures, and activities designed to enhance the overall program.

Study Group Leaders are members with special expertise or interests who wish to share these with other members by designing and leading study groups.

Study Group Representatives provide liaison between their study group and the OLLI administration. They facilitate member participation, make announcements, and assist Study Group Leaders.


OLLI is an independent, nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) incorporated in Washington, DC, located at American University (AU), and is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute National Network, which now includes 119 Institutes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. OLLI leases space from AU for its administrative offices. Members are eligible to use the university library, computers, parking, Metro shuttle service, campus store, dining facilities, and to join the Jacobs Fitness Center at a reduced rate.

Most OLLI study groups and educational activities take place at 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW. A few classes are held at:

  • Anderson Computer Lab (AC) on the A.U. campus and
  • Gandhi Memorial Center.

See map of locations.


Membership fees -- $300 per semester or $550 for the fall and spring semesters -- support the program. OLLI is further supported by an endowment from the Osher Foundation given to and managed by American University. OLLI receives a percentage of the interest from the endowment annually.

The OLLI Future Fund, established by the Board of Directors, is for future space needs. We welcome donations to OLLI at any time. OLLI is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.