“Stories from Around the World" at the Bettendorf Public Library -- February 27.

Tuesday, February 27, 7 p.m.

Bettendorf Public Library, 2950 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf IA

Offered as a special program by the World Affairs Council of the Quad Cities, the Bettendorf Public Library's February 27 lecture Stories from Around the World will boasts a fascinating trio of presentations by three noted professors at Davenport's St. Ambrose University and Rock Island's Augustana College: Ethan Gannaway, Matthew JM Coomber, and Peter T. Xiao.

St. Ambrose's Dr. Ethan Gannaway teaches and researches interdisciplinary topics centered on the ancient world, using text and image to understand the past with emphasis on ancient Rome, particularly late antique Rome, and the transition from traditional Roman culture to Medieval Christian culture. He is also co-director for the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan, and his February 27 presentation will focus on his experiences while traveling through Italy. Gannaway received his PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia in art history and archaeology; MA degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia (classical languages) and University of Minnesota (ancient and Medieval art and archaeology); and his BA from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, majoring in humanities (classical focus) and Greek.

Another St. Ambrose educator, Matthew JM Coomber's teaching focuses on the intersections that develop between the Bible and culture, shaping societal aspects ranging from politics to artistic expression, and will, on February 27, discuss trips with students through Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic . His primary research and publication focus is on Bible and economics, through which he explores how biblical texts challenging systemic poverty and imperialism might provide tools for confronting these challenges in our time. Coomber has studied and taught in England, Canada, Japan, and India, and enjoys sharing his love of travel with students through an overseas course entitled "Genocide, Resistance, and God in Nazi Europe," which explores the theological questions raised by anti-fascist resistance groups and their selfless acts of service to their persecuted neighbors during the Second World War. He is also an Episcopal priest, has a graduate-level background in Buddhist Studies and Sanskrit, and bridges his academic life and human-rights concerns by serving as a co-director at the Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice.

A professor of Art and Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts at Augustana, Peter Tong Xiao grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution. The year Chairman Mao died, Xiao was farming on a People’s Commune outside the capital and narrowly escaped injury when the stone wall tumbled onto his mud-baked bed during the Tangshan earthquake. A year later, he passed a national exam to enter the Beijing Normal University to study English. In his junior year, following his father’s participation in University of Iowa’s International Writers’ Program as the first Chinese writer, Xiao transferred to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, and after completing a BA in fine arts and English, Xiao went on to Temple University for his MFA in painting, was employed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, taught art part-time, and exhibited in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago’s Art Expo., and Davenport's Figge Art Museum. In his World Affairs Council of the Quad Cities presentation, Xiao will share his stories and experiences on an Amsterdam trip from January of 2023.

Stories from Around the World will be presented at the Bettendorf Public Library on February 27 participation in the 7 p.m. event is free, and more information is available by contacting the library at (563)344-4175 and BettendorfLibrary.com and the World Affairs Council of the Quad Cities at WACQC.org.

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