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, the series was renamed to honor Martha B. Alworth, the spouse of Royal D. Alworth, Jr. The talks provide 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.

Fall 2023 Schedule

Thursday, September 21 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda – From Duluth to the Arctic Circle: Weaving Relationships through Sámi Libraries – Presented by Chelsey Miller, Communications Associate and Bibliographer for the Sámi Collection, and Matt Rosendahl, Director, both at the UMD Kathryn A. Martin Library – In the summer of 2023, Rosendahl and Miller, embarked on a journey to the Arctic Circle to spend time in Sápmi. They will discuss their amazing journey in the land of the midnight sun, share how and why they took this trip, and what their hopes are for the future of the area and the Library's work. (Co-sponsored by the UMD Kathryn A. Martin Library.)

Friday, September 22 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda – Gripped by Guyana: A Memoir of Purpose and Adventure – Presented by Dr. Merle Kindred, author of the memoir by the same name and development expert with Cuso International, a Canadian international development organization - Kindred will share her experiences doing development work from 2017 to 2018 in the South American country of Guyana. Her assignments grew from doing strategic planning for an urban NGO to sparking ecological and economic development deep in Indigenous territories. Her presentation explores not only the reality of this post-colonial country but also the experience of Indigenous peoples in Guyana who are working to create positive momentum in their lives.

Thursday, September 28 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda – Torii Gates and Hot Springs in Japan – Presented by Mia O’Brien, MA, Executive Office and Administrative Assistant, UMD Department of History, Political Science, & International Studies - O’Brien and her two children traveled to Japan in May 2023 visiting Tokyo, Hakone, Isumi (a Duluth Sister City), and surrounding areas. See what can happen when your son becomes your travel planner to share his love for Japan. A delightful experience of traditions, modern culture, serene spaces, and food! 

Thursday, October 5 – 12:00 pm – KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda – Lessons from Cuba: Exploring Art, Healthcare, Sustainability, and Education – Presented by Dr. Carol Wallace, Assistant Professor of Spanish Studies, UMD Department of World Languages and Cultures - Wallace led a Witness for Peace/Solidarity Collective delegation to Cuba in the summer of 2023. She will discuss the reality of life in Cuba, focusing on the country's rich art and culture, and its successes in health care, education and sustainability. She will also discuss the economic and social effects of US policy towards the island country as well as the possibility of future changes to US-Cuba relations. (Co-sponsored by the UMD Department of World Languages and Cultures.)  

CANCELLED - Thursday, October 12 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Queen of the Danube: The Wonder that is Budapest - Presented by Cindy Christian, Director of the Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies -  Christian and her spouse visited the city of Budapest in July of this year. Despite not liking classic Hungarian dishes, she loved the city. Divided by the Danube River, Buda and Pest offer amazing architectural sites (both old and modern), thermal baths, museums, churches, synagogues, and a Great Market. Christian will share images of the places she visited and discuss what she learned about the complexity of Hungarian history. Additionally, she will end with stories of visiting family in Kufstein in the Tyrolian region of Austria. 

Thursday, October 19 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Malaysian Makan Time: The Delights of a Multiethnic Cuisine – Presented by Geraldine Hughes, Executive Office & Administrative Specialist, UMD Mathematics & Statistics – Hughes took her first trip since before the COVID epidemic to her native home in Malaysia. She will highlight the food of Malaysia which offers incredible variety and flavors. The cuisine reflects the multi-ethnic make-up of the country: Malay, Chinese and Indian. She will share images and discuss Malaysian dishes, including her favorites.    

Thursday, November 2 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The Troubles in Northern Ireland: The Complexities of Rebuilding Societies after Conflict – Presented by Dr. Khalil (Haji) Dokhanchi, Professor, Department of Social Inquiry, University of Wisconsin Superior (UWS) and UWS students – Dokhanchi and UWS students spent 4 weeks in Northern Ireland studying the process of peace and reconciliation between unionists and nationalists. Visits to the former frontlines of the Troubles, the period of the late 1960s to the late 1990s that was characterized in violent conflict between the antagonists, helped the program’s participants to better understand the causes of the hostilities. The groups met with politicians and community organizers from the two factions as well as non-religious/nationalist organizations. They also talked to representatives from different ethnic, bureaucratic, and educational groups to illustrate the complexity of human relations, such as those between Sein Fein and the Orange Order. Dokhanchi and his students will provide their reflections on these experiences and discuss what they learned regarding the development of significant and long-lasting reconciliation. 
Wednesday, November 8 - 12:00 PM - Venue TBD - Vietnam: History, Grandeur, and Tragedy – Presented by Dr. Elizabethada Wright, Graduate Professor, UMD Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies, and Cheryl Retain, UMD staff member - Join Wright and Reitan as they recount their 2023 journey to memorials and museums in Hanoi and beyond. Hear about Vietnam's rich history and culture, as seen at the Temple of Literature (1070 AD), the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, and more. Wright and Reitan will also share insights from their trip to the site of the 1968 massacre at My Lai in the Quang Ngai Province of South Vietnam.
Thursday, November 16 - 12:00 pm - KAM Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Exploring my Slovenian Heritage - Presented by Deborah V. Good, retired UMD Study Abroad Advisor - In the summer of 2023, Good traveled with her mother and others to Slovenia. While there, they visited sights, places, and people that helped them better connect with Slovenian history and culture. What they experienced enriched their understanding of their Slovene identity.