Schemel Forum Virtual Seminars Set for Spring Impact Banner

    Schemel Forum Virtual Seminars Set for Spring

    Speakers for The University of Scranton Schemel Forum’s virtual World Affairs Seminars for the spring semester are: (top row) Parag Khanna, Ph.D.; Martha S. Jones, J.D., Ph.D.; Jill Dougherty; Carla McCabe; (second row) Jay Parini; Manisha Sinha, Ph.D.; Michael Fairbanks, Ph.D.; and Harmar Brereton, M.D. Registration is required to participate.
    January 22, 2021

    During the spring semester, the Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Seminars at The University of Scranton will deliver a full spectrum of enlightening presentations on current topics. Eight experts in their fields will bring their insights into the homes of area residents, once again through a Zoom format due to health and safety restrictions caused by the pandemic. Events will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., except the Feb. 3 seminar. Admission is $10 per seminar, and registered attendees will receive an emailed Zoom link prior to each talk.

    The series opens on Wednesday, Feb. 3, with “The Post-Pandemic World: Lessons from Asia,” presented by Parag Khanna, Ph.D., managing partner of FutureMap Pte. Ltd. Likening the coronavirus pandemic to the 14th century Black Death, Dr. Khanna asserts that both have caused a profound worldwide loss of life, significant restructuring of trade patterns, major reordering of geopolitical relations and substantial disruption to our daily lives. Dr. Khanna will map out expectations of the future of global capital flows, infrastructure investments, supply chains, industrial policies, accelerating growth sectors and other major drivers of the new world order. This seminar will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

    On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Martha S. Jones, J.D., Ph.D., Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, and professor of history and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, will present “Vanguard: How Black Women Overcame Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All.” Dr. Jones said, “In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women’s movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.” Dr. Jones will discuss the history of African American women’s political lives in America, from the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond.

    On Tuesday, March 9, “Next Steps with Russia?” will be presented by Jill Dougherty, formerly CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief for almost a decade and a frequent participant in the Schemel Forum seminar series. An expert on Russia, she is currently an adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and a CNN on-air contributor. “The new U.S. administration faces a dangerously degraded relationship with Russia,” said Dougherty, who will analyze Russia’s challenge of redefining its relationship with America, without a “reset.”

    On Tuesday, March 16, Carla McCabe, president and CEO of WVIA, the regional PBS/NPR affiliate, will present “America: The Farther Shore.” McCabe cited, “‘Believe that a farther shore is reachable from here.’ Those words of Nobel Laureate poet Seamus Heaney were my inspiration for coming to America. I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but here I am in Scranton, honored to lead WVIA. My aim is to ensure that we are embedded in the core of the communities we serve, producing programs that reflect who we are, and at the same time, open our hearts and minds to the world we live in.”

    On Wednesday, March 24, “Borges and Me: My Travels in the Highlands of Scotland with a Literary Genius” will be presented by Jay Parini, Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College in Vermont. Parini, a native of Scranton and recipient of the University’s Distinguished Author Award in 2012, is a poet, novelist and biographer. The author of 30 books, Parini’s The Last Station was made into an Academy Award-nominated film. His most recent book, Borges and Me, is a memoir of a young writer’s unexpected, life-changing encounter with literary genius Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentine poet, essayist and short-story writer whose works became classics of 20th-century literature.

    On Friday, April 9, Manisha Sinha, Ph.D., Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, will present “The Abolitionist International.” Dr. Sinha said, “My talk re-imagines abolition as a radical international movement composed of ordinary men and women, whites and blacks. It shows how the fight to end slavery overlapped with contemporary social movements such as feminism, utopian socialism and pacifism, as well as struggles for rights of labor, immigrants and Native Americans.” Adam Pratt, associate professor of history at the University of Scranton, describes Dr. Sinha as a “first-rate scholar, whose work has forced historians to reconsider long-held ideas about how social and political change happened in the 19th century.”

    On Friday, April 16, “A Jesuit Education and Integrative Thinking in Biotechnology (fighting tuberculosis) and Economics (eradicating poverty)” will be presented by Michael Fairbanks, Ph.D., fellow at Harvard University and chairman and founder of Akagera Medicines, a Biotech company based in Boston and San Francisco focused on cures for infectious diseases. “The Scranton tradition of ‘scholarship and service’ is only part of the innovation story,” said Dr. Fairbanks. “Taking the best ideas and tools from one academic domain and applying them to the challenges of another is how real progress occurs.” Dr. Fairbanks has advised two-dozen presidents in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe on private sector development. Since 2001, he has been a senior advisor to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and his company, Akagera Medicines, is a public-private partnership between the people of Rwanda and scientists who are focused on solutions to infectious diseases.

    The series will conclude on a to-be-determined date with “Consciousness: Life Transitions and the Importance of Story – Continued,” presented by Harmar Brereton, M.D. A former Scranton-area physician and one of the founders of the Schemel Forum, Dr. Brereton will follow up his fall semester seminar on life transitions with references to cave paintings, Homer, Sophocles, Jung, Tennyson, Shakespeare and Erik Erikson.

    The World Affairs Seminar series is sponsored by Munley Law.

    To register for the seminars, contact Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or And, for more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or

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