Luncheon Lecture Series Satisfies Appetites for Global Topics

Jan 30, 2012

During the spring semester, The University of Scranton Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Luncheon Seminars offer area residents the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics that impacts the United States and the world at large.

“In our increasingly interdependent world, we need to know about ourselves and how others see us,” said Sondra Myers, senior fellow and director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton. “We also need to know about what is happening in distant lands because these occurrences affect us – economically, politically and culturally.” She noted that the series is a convenient lunchtime option, since the campus is close to downtown Scranton.

The lecture series kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with “Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World.” Michael Edwards, writer, activist and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, will challenge the assumption that using business principles to solve global social problems is more effective than traditional approaches.

“In an era of increasing climate change, poverty and union busting and the weakening of the middle class, our economy cannot sustain its current direction,” said Edwards. He warns us not to be misled by the growth of social enterprise, venture philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. “Concentrating power in few hands, even with good intentions, is dangerous because that power is unaccountable,” he added. But the news is not all negative. Edwards will describe current transformative social experiments, which give us hope that our society can provide goods and services, as well as social justice. A book signing will follow the lecture, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus.

On Friday, Feb. 17, Tim Searchinger, research scholar and lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, will present “Can We Feed the Planet Without Destroying It? Our Global Challenge.” Searchinger’s research about the land use implications of biofuels and the proper accounting of greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy generally have been credited with reshaping the world debate on bioenergy.

“The world needs to produce at least 75 percent more food by 2050 to feed nine billion people, but also needs to preserve forests and other natural habitats to protect against global warming,” said Searchinger. His presentation, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus, will focus on the challenges, as well as the opportunities.

A practicing physician and consultant from the African nation of Cameroon will explore “Three Major Pandemics: Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids: An overview from an African Perspective” on Wednesday, March 7. William A. Takang, M.D., Hubert Humphrey Fellowship alumnus and research scholar at New York University School of Medicine, said that a severe economic crisis in several Sub-Saharan countries has greatly weakened the capacity of their governments to respond to these pandemics. He will discuss not only the epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical presentation for each of these debilitating diseases, but also options to manage them.

“We shall look into the various public health interventions now being implemented by individual governments and the international community as a whole, possible avenues for research, and the difficulties met by the various consortia involved with the development of vaccines,” said Dr. Takang. The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus.

The next luncheon series marks the 70th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous speech to Congress with “Back to the Future: FDR’s Four Freedoms Go Global” on Friday, March 30. As America entered World War II, the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear symbolized America’s war aims and gave hope in the following years to a war-wearied people.

“As the world confronted the most perilous crisis of the 20th century, President Roosevelt stemmed its panic by presenting a vision to combat it,” said Allida Black, executive editor of the fdr4freedoms Digital Initiative and research professor of history and international affairs at The George Washington University. “Now, 70 years later, his call to embrace ‘a world founded upon four fundamental freedoms’ is more relevant than ever.” The presentation will take place in Collegiate Hall at Redington Hall on campus.

The spring series concludes on Tuesday, April 10, with “The Greening of Democracy? The Arab Spring and its Outcomes.” Elzbieta Matynia, director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at The New School, will examine not only the diverse outcomes of the Arab Spring in the countries that were involved in North Africa and the Middle East, but also the rash of citizen protests that sprang up in its wake in other parts of the world, such as the Occupy Scranton demonstration in nearby Courthouse Square. The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall on campus.

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, events coordinator, at (570) 941-7816 or For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, senior fellow and director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton, 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 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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