Schemel Forum Luncheon Series Offers the World on a Plate for Area Residents

Aug 21, 2012

The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars will explore a wide span of global topics, ranging from the Arab Spring to the democratization of Eastern and Central Europe in the 1980s and 1990s

Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton, sees the luncheon series as a way to bring experts on international affairs into the region. “We have created a local community of learning, and it is gratifying to see that an increasing number of local people participate in each successive season,” she said.

The series begins Thursday, Sept. 6, with “A Middle East Update.” David Myers, Ph.D., professor of Jewish history and chair of the History Department at UCLA, will explore recent developments in the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. “In particular, I plan to focus on the mounting tensions between the old guard military and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to political power in Egypt, the deteriorating situation in Syria and its implications for the region and the world, and the state of affairs in Israel-Palestine,” said Dr. Myers, who discussed trends in the region at the fall 2011 luncheon series. This year’s seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, Owen D. Gutfreund, Ph.D., associate professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, will explain “How Cities Make the World Better: Past, Present and Future.” Covering three centuries and five continents, Professor Gutfreund will offer a new perspective on our love-hate relationship with cities by presenting a broad consideration of their role in the modern world. He will also discuss the problems and possibilities posed by the rapid growth of mega-cities that is currently underway worldwide. The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

Stephen Kinzer, author and visiting professor at Boston University, will take an introspective look at America’s history of military intervention abroad on Monday, Oct. 22. From the U.S. Navy attack on Tripoli in 1804 to the NATO bombing of Tripoli in 2011, America has carried out dozens of foreign interventions. No other country has intervened so often in places so far from its own shores. Kinzer’s lecture, “Why We’re Like This: The American Impulse to Intervene,” will explore the motives behind these operations and the effects they have had. The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Friday, Nov. 2, Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., former cultural counselor to the French Embassy in the U.S. and Professeur des Universities in France, 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, said, “He radically changed the way the artist is perceived in the U.S. His vision was entirely based on educating the public, empowering American artists and treating artists as a ‘heroes’ – the way Renaissance patrons treated the artists of their time.” The presentation will take place in room 405 of the DeNaples Center.

The fall series concludes on Thursday, Nov. 8 with “Václav Havel: Profile of a Hero,” presented by Martin Palous, Ph.D., former Czech ambassador to the United States and the United Nations and now director of the Václav Havel Presidential Library in Prague. The lecture will focus on Havel’s impact as an artist and intellectual and ultimately as president of the Czech Republic in the democratization of Eastern and Central Europe during the 1980s and 1990s. Part of the Weinberg Memorial Library’s 20th Anniversary celebration, the seminar will take place in the 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, 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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