Six World Affairs Luncheon Seminars Set for Fall

Sep 13, 2017

During the fall semester, the Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton offer local residents insights into a wide range of timely topics. Experts in their fields will explore jazz as a socio-political barometer, recent secession and nullification movements, university-community partnerships, new ideas for Africa’s economic development, President Trump’s foreign policy, and the challenges of teaching history in times of conflict.

The series begins on Monday, Sept. 25, with “Jazz & Democracy in 2017: Does it Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got that Swing?” Wayne Winborne, executive director of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, asserts that, contrary to public perception, “Jazz is not dead.” Winborne will provide a brief history of jazz and its parallels with the socio-political landscape of the 20th century, today and into the future. He will address issues including the role of academia, the status of African-Americans, and the competition between art and commerce in our society.

“The connections between jazz and democracy are too evident to ignore,” said Winborne. “Individual players have the freedom to assert themselves and take liberties with form, and beautiful music is created when their collaboration is harmonious. Today’s jazz reflects the unpredictability of our society; grappling with individual expression in these complicated times, young musicians are leaning toward more instruments and orchestration. Great artists and movements reflect their times, and I have faith that they will continue to be an important voice in our communities and society at large.” The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Friday, Oct. 6, Morey Myers, Of Counsel, Myers, Brier and Kelly, will present “Secession & Nullification: Are They Dead or about to Erupt?” Secession and nullification didn’t begin or end with the Civil War. Today we find several U.S. states considering secession, and there is the United Kingdom and Brexit. Nullification occurs when states or municipalities defy national laws. States permitting the sale of marijuana and sanctuary cities are two cases in point. The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

Ira Harkavy, associate president and director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, will present “Universities & Communities, Partners for Change: A Global Movement” on Friday, Oct. 20. Since the 1990s, higher education institutions and communities in the U.S. have been forming partnerships to promote social change. In recent years, these partnerships have been developing in other countries as well — leading to the creation of international organizations dedicated to advancing the model. This talk will bring to light the value of these partnerships as catalysts for social justice, equity and democracy across the globe. The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Friday, Nov. 10, Michael C. Fairbanks, chairman of the board of Silver Creek Medicines in San Francisco and fellow at the Weatherhead Institute for International Affairs at Harvard University, will present “Scholarship, Service & Integrative Thinking: My Work in Biotechnology and Africa’s Economic Development.” Fairbanks and his multidisciplinary team have been exploring the power of integrative thinking; that is, solving problems by applying the insights and tools of one domain onto another.

“By integrating principles of business, human biology, law and political science, we are stimulating economic development where it is needed most,” said Fairbanks. “For example, global pharmaceuticals have been using 75-year-old strategies to fight tuberculosis. Positive results using nontraditional approaches, including math, sociology and computer modeling, have led Rwanda to invest in its own biotech sector. Fairbanks has advised several world leaders, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who also has welcomed and endorsed the work of Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum. A Scranton native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University in 1979 and an honorary doctorate in 2007. The seminar will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, Trudy Rubin, “Worldview” columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, will present “Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump.” Rubin will address how foreign policy is being made by the Trump administration and its impact on our relationships with the rest of the world. Presented in collaboration with the Scranton Times-Tribune, the seminar will take place in the Kane Forum of Leahy Hall.

The fall series will conclude on Monday, Nov. 20, when Sami Adwan, Ph.D., will present “History Matters: The Road to Cross-Cultural Understanding & Reconciliation.” Dr. Adwan, professor of education at Hebron University in the West Bank, will focus on the dual historical narrative approach to teaching history in times of conflict. He will present the Israeli and Palestinian case and discuss the inititative of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) – a non-governmental, nonprofit organization established by Palestinian and Israeli researchers with the help of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. PRIME’s purpose is to pursue mutual coexistence and peace building through joint research and outreach activities. The lecture will take place in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

The World Affairs Luncheon Seminar series is sponsored by Munley Law.

All 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 Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or by email at

For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or

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