Schemel Forum Luncheon Seminars Satisfy Craving for Global Issues

Oct 1, 2013

A tantalizing selection of world affairs topics will be discussed at The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum luncheon series. Distinguished presenters in their fields will update area residents on the shifting political landscape at home and abroad.

“Our World Affairs Luncheon Seminars are bringing outstanding speakers and issues to the region – to people in communities who are eager to know more about the world we live in.,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton. “

The series begins on Friday, Sept. 27, with “Putin’s Soft Power Strategy.” Jill Dougherty, U.S. affairs editor for CNN International, will introduce Russian president Vladimir Putin’s use of culture, language and ideas to improve the country’s relations with other countries and attract international support. “Mr. Putin and many of Russia’s top officials admit the nation has an image problem and they say they are intent on promoting their interests and policies and creating a positive perception through persuasion,” said Dougherty, who will return from Russia shortly before this lecture. “For some Russian officials, soft power equals image management – the ‘branding’ that a nation sells internationally.” According to Myers, Dougherty’s interest in Russia dates back to her high school days in Scranton. The seminar will take place in the McIlhenney Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

On Friday, Oct. 18, David Myers, Ph.D., professor of Jewish History and chair of the History Department at University of California, Los Angeles, Calif., returns to the Schemel Forum luncheon series with “Israel, Palestine and Syria: The Changing Face of the Middle East.” His lecture will explore the current state of affairs in the Israel­Palestine relationship, as well as the broad regional and international ramifications of events in Syria. This year’s seminar will take place in the Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

Stephen Kinzer, author and visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Affairs at Brown University, Providence, R.I., will present “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War” on Monday, Oct. 28. He will talk about the subject of his soon-to-be-published book, “The Brothers,” the story of the immensely powerful siblings and “their unseen war” whose effects are still impacting the world. In the Cold War era, American foreign policy was shaped by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA director Allen Dulles. Decisions they made have shaped the course of history, not always to America’s benefit. Their story is full of lessons for the modern age. The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall, followed by a book signing.

            On Thursday, Nov. 7, Michael Edwards, writer and activist on civil society and social transformation and a distinguished fellow at Demos, a public policy organization in New York, N.Y., will speak about “Transformation.” The lecture will explore possibilities for transformation of American society. “Deep transformations are possible if love and justice reinforce each other to create a permanent shift in direction among human beings and the institutions they create,” said Edwards. “There is a resurgence of interest in the possibilities of transformation that combines the personal and the political.” The lecture will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, John Copper, Ph.D., Stanley J. Buckman Distinguished Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tenn., will present “Taiwan: The Wedge Issue in the U.S.-China Relationship.” Dr. Cooper asserts that Taiwan is the only non­negotiable issue between these two world powers. The Taiwan Strait is often labeled “the world’s No. 1 flashpoint.” The lecture, which will focus on this delicate, potentially dangerous situation and diplomatic approaches to addressing it, will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

The fall series will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 5. William O’Neill, lawyer in humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, and director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum in New York City, will present “Challenges in Modern Peacekeeping – From Haiti to Congo.” The lecture, which will focus on several of the world’s most devastating conflicts and approaches to addressing them strategically, will take place in the Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library

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 series of six luncheons for $110 per person or $160 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 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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