Brown Bag Lecture Series

Alworth Institute

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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. Alwoth 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 click here.

Fall 2018 Schedule 

Friday, September 14  – 12:00 p.m. – Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Armenian Genocide and its Implications- Presented by Vahe Gabrielyan, PhD, Director of the Diplomatic School of Armenia and Former Armenian Ambassador to the United Kingdom  - Dr. Gabielyan will describe how and why the Armenian Genocide happened and the reaction of the international community.  He will also discuss the current status of its recognition, why Armenians pursue the recognition process and the ramifications of a genocide in general. - (Co-sponsored by the UMD Genocide, Holocaust and Human Rights Center) 

Thursday, September 20 - 12:00 p.m. - Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Political Polarization and Reshuffling in Contemporary Spain – Presented Dr. Jennifer Brady, Associate Professor, UMD World Languages and Cultures - Dr. Brady will examine the current political situation in Spain, including the recent ousting of Spain's Prime Minister, Catalonia's independence roller-coaster ride, and noteworthy municipality sociocultural movements.

Thursday, September 27 - 12:00 p.m. – Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - ‘We do not commemorate perpetrators': The Politics of Commemoration and the May 4th Dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) in the Netherlands - Presented by Jazmine Contreras, Graduate Teaching Fellow at UMD and PhD candidate, History Department, University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Every year on May 4th, the Dutch commemorate the fallen of the Second World War, the victims of the Holocaust, and those who lost their lives during peace-keeping operations. The May 4th Remembrance Day ceremony first began in 1945 and since then questions over its character have resulted in debates over victimhood and Dutch collaboration. In this presentation, Contreras will focus on  two separate controversies in order to discuss how the Dutch have yet to come to terms with their wartime past and the tensions that arise when multiple collective memories exist in a single national setting. Her talk  will also examine the impact the commemoration has on conceptions of Dutch identity and feelings of European belonging. -  (Co-sponsored by the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee) 

Thursday, October 11 –12:00 p.m. – Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda -“The Hole in the Wall”: Literature Meets Architecture in Ernest Hemingway's Paris - Presented by Presented by Dr. John Schwetman, Associate Professor of English, UMD Department of English, Linguistics and Writing Studies - Dr. John Schwetman, Associate Professor of English, UMD Department of English, Linguistics and Writing Studies, traveled to Paris, France in July of 2018 to present his research on the architecture of Paris in Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises."  While in Paris he visited the cafés that frame the opening scene from the novel—they are still mostly in business and have retained much of their original designs, partly because of the notoriety of Hemingway's fiction. Such elements, no doubt, also strongly influenced the experiences of the American expatriate writers and journalists like Hemingway who lived there in the 1920s. His presentation will also focus on architectural forms in Hemingway's Paris as a city, drawing on such theorists of space and place Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, and David Harvey.  

Thursday, October 18 - 12:00 p.m. - Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Immigration: Humane Solutions for Inhumane Policies– Presented by Shawn Wentz and Lyn Clark Pegg, members of the April 2018 Witness for Peace delegation to Mexico

Thursday, November 15 – 12:00 p.m. – Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda – Why is Everyone Going to Portugal? – Presented by Janet Pribyl, Assistant Director/Career Counselor, UMD Career and Internship Services Assistant Director/Career Counselor and Karin Robbins, retired UMD International Student Advisor

 Thursday, November 29 - 12:00 p.m. - Kirby Student Center Rafters – Traveling in Taiwan and China: Celebrate Learning Chinese with Astonishing Markets, Temples, Transportation and Great Geography - Presented by Dr. Gordon Levine, retired Assistant Professor, UMD Department of Geography

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 or (218) 726-7493.