Martha B. Alworth International Lunch Talks

International Lunch Talks (formerly the International Brown Bag Series) have been an integral part of the Alworth Institute's programming since its inception in 1987. In the fall of 2013, it was renamed to honor Martha B. Alworth, the spouse of Royal D. Alworth, Jr. 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 these talks 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.

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 2023 Schedule

Wednesday, January 25 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - War & Drought: Norway’s Role in the 2022 European Energy Crisis - Presented by Dr. Afton Clarke-Sather,  Associate Professor of Geography at UMD - Dr. Clarke-Sather specializes in water, energy, and environmental politics. This talk is based on his work as a participant in a 2022 Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad in Norway.  


Thursday, February 2 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Stories about the Beauty and Diversity of Morocco - Presented by UMD Faculty and Staff - You can experience a beautiful country rich in history, colors and sun, captured through the eyes of several people visiting very different places full of contrasts and magic. Besides the narrative and impressions of the presenters, you will have the rare opportunity to witness the beauty through traditional 2D images and videos and also through much more realistic 360 degree still and video images available through your mobile devices and Virtual Reality (VR) goggles.


Thursday, February 9 - 12:00 pm - Virtual only via Zoom - Tutoring Without Borders – Helping to Educate Kids in Time of War – Presented by Dr. Michael Waxman, Professor, Natural Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin Superior and co-founder of Tutoring Without Borders-  Register or sign in at - Dr. Waxman will discuss the history of developing this online platform. He will describe its evolution and its achievements in reaching various groups of Ukrainian youth and tutors. In particular, he will talk about his most recent work with gifted Ukrainian pupils, winners of various international, national, and regional math and science Olympiads. 


Thursday, March 2 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Twenty-Ninth Day: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra – Presented by Alex Messenger, Communication Specialist, UMD Marketing & Public Relations, and author of book by the same title


Monday, April 3 - 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Battle for Thermopylae between Modern Historians and the International Far Right - Presented by Dr. Jeffrey Rop, Associate Professor of History, UMD - The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most famous engagements of antiquity and an inspirational story of self-sacrifice. Dr. Rop will discuss scholarly responses to and complicity in its appropriation by far right hate groups in the United States and Europe.  


Thursday, April 13 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Irish Origins of North American Catholic Education – Presented by Dr. Elizabethada Wright, Professor, Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies - The Englishwoman Mary Ward was the founder of a religious order that followed the tenets of the Jesuits; however, the Catholic hierarchy was not happy with a group of women carrying on this tradition.This presentation discusses how Ward's "forbidden" curriculum developed in Ireland and crossed the ocean to the United States.