Scranton’s Luncheon Lecture Series Offers View of World Affairs

Aug 15, 2014

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

“This fall, our luncheon seminars will bring interesting and accomplished speakers to our campus – giving the people of our region fresh insights into global topics ranging from war and politics to culture and education,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum.

The series begins on Tuesday, Sept. 30, with “Japanese Internment: A Shameful Ghost that Still Haunts Us.” Morey M. Myers, Of Counsel, Myers, Brier & Kelly, LLP, asks us to consider the following questions: What caused us to intern 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps at the start of World War II? Did racism and war hysteria inform the disastrous decision to impose this punishment on loyal American citizens? Can it happen again? The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, Shibley Telhami, Ph.D., professor of international relations and the Anwar Sadat Professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, will present “The World Through Arab Eyes.” Dr. Telhami will assess the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and how the region is being reshaped, based on a decade of analysis of Arab public opinion on issues including how Arabs define themselves, their attitudes on social and political issues, and how they view the rest of the world. “Decades of perceived humiliations at the hands of the West have left many Arabs with a wounded sense of national pride, but also a desire for political systems with elements of Western democracies,” said Dr. Telhami. “This apparent contradiction is one of many complicating our understanding of the monumental shifts in Arab politics and society.” The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Monday, Oct. 27, Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., cultural historian, writer and professor of American studies at the Université de Caen in Paris, France, will present “Magicians of the Earth, a Legendary Exhibition in Paris and its Global Implications.” In 1989, the exhibition Magicians of the Earth was presented in Paris at three prestigious sites. With its massive size and unusual goal, it sparked considerable debate in France and around the world, but in the end was seen as a landmark exhibition. The seminar will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

Kerry Zukus, co-author of “Inside the Hotel Rwanda,” will present “Inside the Hotel Rwanda: the Surprising True Story and Why It Matters Today” on Thursday, Nov. 6. The film “Hotel Rwanda” is the alleged true story of refugees surviving the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. But was the hotel manager depicted in it, Paul Rusesabagina, who was credited with single-handedly saving the lives of those who sought safety in the hotel, just a Hollywood creation? Mr. Zukus and his Rwandan co-author, Edouard Kayihura, tell a different story. The seminar will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

On Monday, Nov. 10, Daniel Serwer, Ph.D., professor of conflict management and senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, will present “War and Peace: Current Issues.” Dr. Serwer noted that while the world has become more peaceful since the fall of the Berlin wall, the U.S. has had troops deployed in conflict zones every year since. “We face challenges especially in the Middle East, where failed transitions to democracy have opened space for terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt, and in Ukraine, where a defiant Russia is raising questions about European stability,” he said. “But the future may also hold challenges in Asia, where a rising China is raising issues with its neighbors.” The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

The fall series will conclude on Monday, Nov. 24, when Judith Renyi, Ph.D., executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy in Philadelphia, will present “The Great Learning Gap and Why We Must Do Something About It.” In October 2013, an international study of literacy revealed that the U.S. had fallen below average among 23 first-world countries. It found 36 million U.S. adults are functioning too low in reading, writing, mathematics and the ability to solve problems in a technology-rich environment to get or keep jobs. Dr. Renyi will discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s response to the workforce development crisis and the innovations piloted in Philadelphia to re-skill Americans on a large scale. The lecture 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 series of six luncheons for $110 per person or $160 per couple (Schemel Forum members attend free). To register, contact Emily Brees, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 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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