World Affairs Luncheon Seminars Planned for Fall

Schemel Forum to host eclectic World Affairs luncheon seminars throughout fall both in-person and online.
Eight highly-accomplished speakers will be featured at The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars during the fall semester. They will present an array of thought-provoking, timely lectures in both in-person and remote formats.
Eight highly-accomplished speakers will be featured at The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars during the fall semester. They will present an array of thought-provoking, timely lectures in both in-person and remote formats.

This fall’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton promise an array of thought-provoking, timely lectures, presented both in-person and remotely.

The series will feature eight highly accomplished speakers in all, with all luncheons taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. With the exception of the second seminar, all events will take place in Brennan Hall’s Rose Room 509, with Zoom links provided to attendees who would prefer to attend remotely.

Admission is free for University students, faculty and staff and Schemel Forum members. For non-members, the luncheons are $25 in-person and $10 remote only. 

The series kicks off Friday, Sept. 10, with a lecture by Akhil Reed Amar, J.D., titled “The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840.” During the talk, Atty. Amar, the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, will explore the theories found in his book, “The Words That Made Us,” which revives the constitutional history of the United States for a 21st-century nation and confronts the founders’ failures and successes with admirable frankness. Signed copies of Atty. Amar’s book will be sold following the lecture.

Next, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, former acting solicitor of the United States Neal Katyal, J.D., will present “Arguing at the Supreme Court in a Time of Conflict.” During the talk, Atty. Katyal, who has conducted 44 oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court (more than any minority attorney in American history), will explain the Supreme Court’s role in times of conflict. A regular contributor to MSNBC, Atty. Katyal is currently a partner at Hogan Lovells and the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

This luncheon will take place in Edward Leahy Hall’s Kane Forum, with Atty. Katyal presenting his talk remotely.

On Monday, Sept. 20, Philadelphia Inquirer Worldview columnist Trudy Rubin will present “Biden and the World,” in which she’ll assess President Joe Biden’s handling of a number of complex foreign policy issues, including an increasingly aggressive China, a vengeful Russia and the lingering effects of conflicts in the Mideast and Afghanistan that occupied previous administrations.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, local attorneys Dan Brier, J.D., and Donna Walsh, J.D., partners at Myers, Brier & Kelly, LLP, will present “The 2020 Pennsylvania Presidential Election Litigation,” a backstage tour of the court challenges that played out statewide in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

Scranton Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti will present “Jane Jacobs’ First City: What Comes Next?” on Thursday, Oct. 7. During the talk, Cognetti will note Scranton’s reputation as a city during the 1930s as seen through the eyes of city native and iconic urbanist/activist Jane Jacobs, and then address present issues and her visions for the city’s future.

“In May of this year, our city celebrated the life and work of Jane Jacobs, a Scranton native who as a child observed the impact that city planning has on community, culture and life,” Cognetti said. “I’m excited to continue this conversation at the Schemel Forum this fall, sharing what we hope to accomplish in Scranton in the coming years and hearing from attendees about their ideas.”

On Friday, Oct. 15, Fintan O’Toole, columnist for The Irish Times and Leonard L. Milberg Lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University, will present “Democracy in America? An Outsider’s View.” The Irish writer will discuss his unique perspective on the American democratic experiment, the troubles it has faced in recent years and how those difficulties seem to go beyond immediate political events to raise more fundamental questions about systems, values and institutions. O’Toole will explore how deep this crisis goes, and whether the promise that America once held for the rest of the world can be restored.

Finally, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, Carol Rittner, RSM, D.Ed., distinguished professor emerita of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Professor Emerita of Holocaust Studies at Stockton University, will present “The Holocaust and Jewish-Christian Relations,” which will look at how the Christian churches, especially the Roman Catholic Church, have re-evaluated their theology, religious education and prayers when it comes to Jews and Judaism in the decades since the Holocaust.

To register for the seminars, contact Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or To pay by credit card over the phone, contact Kym Fetsko at 570-941-7816, or to pay online, visit:

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

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