Appetizing World Affairs Lectures Offered at Scranton’s Luncheon Series

Aug 8, 2011
             The University of Scranton offers area residents food for thought during the fall semester through a program offered by the Schemel Forum. Participants of five World Affairs Luncheon Seminars will explore a wide range of global topics.

            According to Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton, the luncheon series is an important resource for the local community.

            “People need an analysis of what is happening in the world,” said Myers. “We bring this to the community through the luncheon speakers, who all are nationally and internationally respected experts in their fields.” She also points out that the series is a convenient lunchtime option, since the campus is close to downtown Scranton.

            The series kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 13, with “The Face of the Middle East: Change or Continuity.” David Myers, Ph.D., professor of history and chair of the History Department at UCLA, will assess the state of affairs in the Middle East through the lens of two important historical events: 9/11 and the revolutionary outburst in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Dr. Myers asks, “Has the post-9/11 world deepened the ‘clash of civilizations’ between Islam and the West? Or have the new democratic stirrings rising up from the Arab Spring brought the Muslim world closer to the West? In addressing these questions, we will keep in mind the perennial flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian relations.” The seminar will take place in Collegiate Hall at Redington Hall on campus.

             On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Trudy Rubin, foreign affairs columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, will assess “America’s Future in the Middle East.” The lecture will focus on the past and present conditions of our relationships in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan –examining the evolution of our military and humanitarian involvement – and consider prospects for the future. The lecture will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom on the fourth floor of the DeNaples Center on campus.

            On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the series shifts its attention to “Global Health Disparities: Past, Present and Future.” Raymond A. Smego Jr., M.D., associate dean for educational development and professor of medicine, infectious diseases and global health at The Commonwealth Medical College, will focus on major achievements in global health over the past century, some present disparities and future challenges to the health of populations around the world.

           “Notable global health disparities exist, but the public health of world populations continues to improve and offers hope and optimism for the 21st century,” said Dr. Smego. The event will take place at The Commonwealth Medical College.

            Next, the luncheon series considers America’s place in the world from the perspective of art. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., visiting professor of art at New York University, will discuss “Leo Castelli: The First Global Gallerist.” A Jewish refugee from Europe, Castelli opened an art gallery in New York City in 1957. He became one of the most influential art dealers of the 20th century and radically transformed the art world – socially, politically, aesthetically and globally. Dr. Cohen-Solal, who wrote a book about Castelli in 2010 that was translated into several languages, answers the questions: What were his strategies, his goals, his models? What was his vision? The presentation will take place in Collegiate Hall at Redington Hall on campus.

           The fall series concludes on Friday, Dec. 9, with “Diplomacy Behind the Scenes in Ireland, South Africa and the Middle East.” Padraig O’Malley, Ph.D., distinguished professor of peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, will focus on some of the greatest diplomatic challenges of our time and the stories behind their successes, or lack thereof. The seminar will take place in the fifth floor Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

           All luncheon seminars run from noon to 1:30 p.m. Participants can register to attend one luncheon for $20 per person or $30 per couple, or for the entire luncheon series for $90 per person or $140 per couple.

          To register, contact Kym Fetsko, Schemel Forum events coordinator, at (570) 941-7816 or For more information about Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers at (570) 941-4089 or

The Schemel Forum is a program of participatory learning experiences aimed at cultivating the intellect and the imagination through study and discussion of classical texts and current policies, from the arts, history and philosophy to technology and theology. Founded in 2006 through generous gifts to the Rev. George Schemel, S.J., Fund, the forum has grown quickly from a handful of informal lectures to a comprehensive enrichment program of study, dialogue, performances and special events. Session fees vary by program.

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