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Alworth Institute Brown Bag Lecture Series

The International Brown Bag Series

This series aims to raise awareness of international issues in a format that is easy for students and community members to access. The objectives of the 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.
The International Brown Bag series works in cooperation with UMD staff, students and faculty as well as with community groups. If you are interested in proposing a topic for discussion, finding a qualified speaker, or co-financing and co-recruiting of 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.

“This series provides the audience the opportunity to share in the international travel experiences of numerous individuals from the University, local 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.”

Dr. Cindy M. Christian, Alworth Institute Director

Spring 2013 International Brown Bag Series

Wednesday, January 23rd
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
“Higher Education in the UK: Opportunities and Challenges” 
     Presented by Professor Rosalind (Ros) Foskett, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Worcester, United Kingdom
Professor Foskett is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University and a member of the University’s Executive. Her main areas of responsibility are the leadership of the University’s academic development and the strategic growth of the research agenda. She will give an overview of the changing nature of higher education in the UK and perspectives from her own experience in higher education administration.
(Co-sponsored by the UMD International Education Office) 


Thursday, January 31st
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
“Noticing Worcester”
     Presented by Dr. Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Associate Professor, UMD Department of Communication
Living abroad in Worcester, England for fall semester 2012 offered some great opportunities to get to know a community similar to Duluth. Armed with a little digital camera and avid curiosity, Dr. Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Associate Professor in UMD’s Communication Department, explored the community with an eye to learning what Worcester has to offer visitors and residents alike. The students participating in UMD's Study in England Programme live there for nine months, so Petersen-Perlman wanted to understand what is available for them to explore and how it might affect their understanding and appreciation for a new culture. Using photos and additional research, this presentation will demonstrate the prospects for cultural learning and development by way of this educational opportunity.

Tuesday, February 5th
Griggs Center, Kirby Student Center
“Fresh Water for Ethiopia: 9,000 Snow Angels Raise Funds at UMD”
    Presented by UMD students and staff, and members of the Duluth Rotary
“Fresh Water for Ethiopia: 9,000 Snow Angels Raise Funds at UMD” Members of the UMD faculty, staff, and students with African heritage will talk about the ancient Hamar Tribe of Ethiopia, a people that has been affected by drought and disease. Through the Global Team for Local Initiatives, the tribe is gaining the skills they need to secure fresh water and for continued survival. TJ Lind, Minnesota DECA Vice President of Business & Industry, is working with the Duluth Rotary on the Angels for a Cause project that will raise funds for education and to secure clean water for the tribe. He will discuss the effort by Duluth Rotarians and Proctor High School students to try to get 9,000 people to UMD’s Malosky Stadium on Saturday, February 9th to break the Guinness Book World Record for making snow angels.

Thursday, February 7th
 The Rafters, Kirby Student Center
“Levine on China: Back by Popular Demand”  
     Presented by Dr. Gordon Levine, Retired Professor, UMD Geography Department
“Levine on China: Back by Popular Demand” Join, or re-join, retired UMD Geography Professor, Dr. Gordon Levine, as he reviews and expands on his Fall Alworth Institute Brown Bag presentation of his third trip to China in the last nine years. With Mandarin learned fifty years ago and a background in Asian Studies, he captures the immediate, but also provides background and insight. Levine connects with everyday Chinese and their pursuits, focusing on food, transportation, Buddhism, and historic places in the Yangtze (Changjiang) River basin from Shanghai west to Sichuan Province and then northward to Beijing. This photo story will emphasize the last several weeks of his travels this past March and April.
(Co-sponsored by the UMD Confucius Institute)

Thursday, February 14th
 The Rafters, Kirby Student Center
"Rushin’ through Russia: A Riverboat Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow”  
     Presented by Janet Pribyl, Career Counselor, UMD Career Services

“Rushin' through Russia: A Riverboat Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow with my 92 year-old Aunt” Russia was on the bucket list of 92 year-old well-traveled, Bee Murray. When she asked her niece, Janet Pribyl, Career Counselor in UMD Career Services, to accompany her on a trip in September 2012, Pribyl jumped at the chance. The riverboat tour, Waterways of the Tsars, took them from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The 13-day tour included visits to the Hermitage, St. Catherine’s Summer Palace, the Kremlin and Red Square. As they wended down the Neva, Svir and Volga Rivers, they also experienced rural Russia and stopped at Mandrogy, with a vodka museum; Kizhi, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre; Yaroslavl with the Church of Elijah the Prophet; and Uglich, where they visited the home of a Russian family. Pribyl will share her travel experiences and her impressions of a Russia she found, in places, to be very similar to Northern Minnesota. You’ll be left in awe of Russia and Auntie Bee!  

Thursday, February 28th
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
"Combis, Centipedes and Temporary Diaspora: A Semester Abroad in South Africa”
     Presented by Sage Bonomo, UMD Communication Student and 2012 Alworth Institute Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient
“Combis, Centipedes and Temporary Diaspora: A Semester Abroad in South Africa” UMD Communication student and 2012 Alworth Institute Study Abroad Scholarship recipient, Sage Bonomo, wanted an unusual study abroad experience that would take her out of her comfort zone -- and so she picked South Africa! She will discuss her experiences as a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and her overall impressions of life in South Africa. Hear why she believes that South Africa offers a lot of the luxuries that Americans are accustomed to, just in a much different way; and, why living in a place like South Africa taught her many invaluable life lessons. She will also share photos of her travels throughout the country, including those of the sites and wildlife of South Africa.  

Thursday, March 7th
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
“Adventures in Sweden: Summer Sun and Family Fun”
     Presented by Pauline Nuhring, Associate Administrator, UMD Continuing Education
“Adventures in Sweden: Summer Sun and Family Fun” Pauline Nuhring, MA, Associate Administrator in Continuing Education at UMD, traveled with her mother to Sweden last summer, where they visited Stockholm on the east coast and relatives on the west coast. Join us for tales of their travels as tourists exploring beautiful Stockholm, and for the adventures of finding and connecting with relatives in rural and urban Sverige.

Thursday, March 28th
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
“Fulbright India: Encountering a Culture”
      Presented by Dr. Rosemary Stanfield-Johnson, Associate Professor, UMD History Department
“Fulbright India: Encountering a Culture” Dr. Rosemary Stanfield-Johnson, Associate Professor in the UMD Department of History, will share her personal experiences in the south Indian city of Hyderabad, which has a unique Shi'i and imperial early modern history. Her account covers the period from 1999-2000, when she was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Hyderabad, to more recent times when she returned to her Fulbright home city, now famous for its high-tech culture, for conferences and research in 2009 and 2012.  

Thursday, April 11th
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
"Hiking Mont Blanc”
     Presented by Dr. Linda Krug, Co-Director, UMD Master of Advocacy and Leadership Program
“Hiking Mont Blanc” Join Dr. Linda Krug, Co-Director of UMD’s Master of Advocacy & Political Leadership program, and Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Leslie Beiers as they circumnavigate the peaks and valleys of the highest mountain in the Alps. For 11 days last July-August, Krug and Beiers worked their way through France, Italy and Switzerland, climbing and descending Mont Blanc’s 10,000 foot peaks and valleys. “Up-up-up” was the mantra of their seasoned REI-Guides. Revel in pictures of magnificent scenery and in tales of camaraderie, good food and tired-but-happy feet!            

Thursday, April 18th  

Library 4th Floor Rotunda
 “Nazi Concentration Camps: Sadism and Strategies for Cultural Annihilation” 
     Presented by Dr. Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Associate Professor, UMD Department of Communication, and Dr. Cindy Christian, Director of the Alworth Institute (co-sponsored by the UMD Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee)
“Nazi Concentration Camps: Sadism and Strategies for Cultural Annihilation” Over this past winter break, Dr. Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Associate Professor in the UMD Communication Department, and Dr. Cindy Christian, Director of the Alworth Institute, traveled to Nazi concentration camps in Europe. The Jewish ghetto in the city of Terezin, in the Czech Republic, was used by the Nazis as propaganda to convince the world that Hitler had established a city for the Jews to protect them from the war. In Auschwitz, Poland, the best known and most notorious of the death camps, at least 960,000 Jews, as well as other prisoners, were killed. In Germany, Ravensbruck served as the major camp for women. For different reasons, this was a personal trip for both, and they will share their reactions and reflections, as well as provide information about the camps.
(Co-sponsored by the UMD Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee)


Thursday, April 25th
Library 4th Floor Rotunda
"Surveying the Chilean Lake District”
     Presented by Dr. Erik Brown, Professor, UMD Large Lakes Observatory and Geological Sciences
“Surveying the Chilean Lake District” In January of 2013, Dr. Erik Brown, Professor with the UMD Large Lakes Observatory and Department of Geological Sciences, conducted research on the lakes along the western side of the Andes in Chile. As part of Brown’s ongoing study of climate change, this field research examined the recent climate history in the lake sediments of Chilean Patagonia through the effects on the Southern Westerly Winds. He will provide an illustrated discussion of the trip, including the sites of Chile and his research program.

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International Brown Bag Archives