Brown Bag Lecture Series

The International Brown Bag Series has been an integral part of the Alworth Institute's programming since its inception in 1987. In the fall of 2013, it was renamed the Martha B. Alworth International Brown Bag Series. It provides the audience the opportunity to share in the international travel experiences of numerous individuals from the University, local, national and international communities. Many presentations are travelogues; some are reflections of the current issues confronting a country's people; others capture the cultural character of distant societies; but, each allows a unique insight into places many would never have the opportunity to visit.

The objectives of this series are to:

  • help fulfill the overall objectives of the Alworth Institute;
  • introduce students, staff and the wider community to interesting aspects of foreign culture, society and history;
  • raise awareness of political life and conditions in diverse parts of the world;
  • create opportunities for sharing insights developed during professional and leisure interest travel and other programs of study abroad;
  • create opportunities for visiting faculty to share relevant topics with the wider University;
  • involve students, staff and community members in exchanging ideas and reflecting on international and any related domestic policy issues.

To learn more about the renaming of the International Brown Bag Series.

If you are interested in proposing a topic for discussion, finding a qualified speaker, or co-sponsoring a lecture; check the suitability of the topic and the speaker against the objectives above and contact the Alworth Institute at [email protected] or (218) 726-7753.

Spring 2021 Schedule

Thursday, February 18 - 12:00 p.m. (CST) – Nationalism and the Separatist Movement in Catalonia, Spain - Presented by Dr. Jennifer Brady, UMD Associate Professor of Spanish, and Head, Department of World Languages and Cultures - Dr. Brady will explore the 21st-century separatist movement in Catalonia, Spain. This movement, which has roots dating back to the mid-19th century with the birth of Catalan nationalism, culminated with an infamous referendum vote in 2017 in favor of the creation of Catalonia as an autonomous nation-state. Participants will learn more about the vote, the fall out, and the long-term prospects for the separatist movement in Catalonia. - Register at

Thursday, February 25 – 12:00 p.m. (CST)  - Birding in Vietnam - Presented by Dr. John Hatcher, Associate Professor, UMD Communication Department and Heather-Marie Bloom, Naturalist, Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, and founder, Rising Phoenix Community Farm - While visiting Vietnam as a Fulbright scholar, John Hatcher and his partner, Heather-Marie Bloom, were able to explore the countryside in search of unique birds. Learn about their travels and meet a few of the fascinating people and birds they encountered along the way. Register at 

More presentations are scheduled and will be posted soon.