Scranton’s Luncheon Series Offers Tempting Menu of Foreign Affairs

Jan 21, 2013

The University of Scranton serves area residents food for thought during the spring semester through a program offered by the Schemel Forum. Participants of six World Affairs Luncheon Seminars will explore a wide range of global topics under the umbrella of “War and Peace.”

“Modeled after programs in large cities, the Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Luncheon series prides itself on bringing to Scranton authors, analysts and public officials who experience the world first hand – and give us a glimpse of the 21st century realities of interconnectedness and interdependence,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton.

The series begins Wednesday, Feb. 13, with “Democracy as a Political Project: Reflections from Palermo and Colombia.” Aldo Civico, Ph.D., co-founder and director of the International Institute for Peace and professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, Newark, N.J., will examine the relationship between politics and violence and the influence of organized crime on the cultural, social, economic and political life of a society. The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Fredrik Logevall, Ph.D., John S. Knight Professor of International Studies, professor of history and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., will take the podium. Author of the highly acclaimed “Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam,” Dr. Logevall will consider the following contentious questions as he explores the factors that put the U.S. on its collision course with history: why did Vietnam become the setting for one of the longest and bloodiest struggles of the post-1945 era, and why did two Western powers, first France and then the U.S., lose their way there? The presentation will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall, with a book signing to follow.

Daniel Serwer, Ph.D., scholar, Middle East Institute, and professor of advanced international studies at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., will focus on “War and Peace: Current Issues” on Tuesday, March 5. Dr. Serwer, a frequent contributor to NPR, will focus on conflicts in the Middle East and Asia. He notes that war, especially of the interstate variety, is declining worldwide in both intensity and frequency, and that American troops have been active in war zones every year since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“My presentation will be up to the minute,” said Dr. Serwer, “as well as being a ‘tour d’horizon,’ looking at potential areas of conflict.” In addition to a real threat of war posed by Iran, he believes that China’s rise, which has created friction with its neighbors, could, in turn, impact the U.S. “That would be catastrophic,” he said. Dr. Serwer’s blog,, which is dedicated to building peace worldwide, offers his unique perspective on current international hot spots. Designated as a Weinberg Library 20th Anniversary Lecture, this event will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

On Thursday, March 21, Gregory K. Hunt, FAIA, founding dean of the School of Architecture at Marywood University, will discuss “Mid-Century Modern: Designs for Living.” The former dean of the School of Architecture at Catholic University, Washington, D.C., will examine a period of design experimentation and production that took place between the 1930s and the 1960s. “Mid-Century Modern” relates to a design aesthetic that characterized a remarkably inventive array of buildings, product designs and furnishings produced for contemporary living.

“Wartime factory production techniques, for example, inspired furniture designers to experiment with new materials and fabrication methods, and the Mid-Century artifacts that resulted from their efforts reflected the optimism of modern life and the spirit of the new and the innovative,” said Dean Hunt. “Similarly, architects were attracted to the potential of prefabrication, modular construction, and the use of wood and steel as flexible structural components to serve a building industry that was called upon to provide thousands of new residences to accommodate the post-war residential building boom.” He will examine the major forces behind this period, the role of important individual designers, and the collective significance of the designs in shaping residential living environments. The seminar will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

Next, the luncheon series examines “The Rise and Fall of Women in Democratic Revolution,” on Friday, April 12. Jill Dougherty, foreign affairs correspondent for CNN, considers the role women play in inspiring and inciting change for the good ­– and what happens to them in the aftermath.

“For example, women who were active in civil demonstrations during the Arab Spring expected to play a role in the fledgling democratic governments, especially as advocates of women’s rights. Across the region, they were basically told ‘thanks for helping, but we don’t need you now,’” said Dougherty, who covers the State Department and traveled with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “One of Secretary Clinton’s legacies will certainly be her focus on the issues of women and families worldwide,” she said. “There’s no question that in a society that creates opportunities for women and values their contributions, everyone benefits.” The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

The spring series concludes on Monday, April 22, with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSd): The Emotional Toll of Violence in Military and Civilian Populations,” presented by Laszlo Gyulai, Ph.D., emeritus associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia. “From the Trojan War to recent U.S.-led wars, countless soldiers have been emotionally scarred,” said Dr. Gyulai. “Similar effects are in evidence in civilians who have experienced extraordinary violence.” The lecture will focus on the manifest changes in people who suffer from the disorder, the factors that make some people more vulnerable to it than others, and the role of resilience in overcoming the condition. The presentation will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

All six world Affairs Luncheon Seminars meet from noon to 1:30 p.m. Participants can register to attend one luncheon for $20 per person or $30 per couple, or all six for $100 per person or $150 per couple. To register, contact Kym Fetsko, events coordinator, at 941-7816 or For more information about programs and memberships, contact Myers at 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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