Great Decisions

Great Decisions is a nationwide, non-partisan program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association intended to broaden public involvement in foreign affairs. It was launched over 50 years ago, and today tens of thousands of participants take part in discussion groups each year. Our library is proud to be hosting our sixth year of participation in the Great Decisions Program.

Eight topics have been selected this year for discussion. The Foreign Policy Association provides a Great Decisions Briefing Book if participants choose to read articles in advance, and each program begins with a video presentation outlining the issues of the evening’s topic. After the short video, a facilitator provides insight and leads a discussion.

This free, in-person program will take place in Lake Travis Community Library meeting room. No registration is required.

2024 Topics

Mideast Realignment
Thursday, March 7 at 7pm
Facilitated by Ryan Bohl

The United States and Middle East are at a crossroads. In spite of a reduced presence in the Middle East, the U.S. still has significant national interests there and the area is a key arena for global power politics. Can the U.S. continue to defend its interests in the Middle East and globally with a lower level of military and political involvement, or should it recommit to a leading role in the region?

Climate Technology & Competition
Thursday, March 21 at 7pm

Facilitated by Dr. Dev Niyogi and Allysa Dallmann

Will the United States and China, with other powerful countries following suit, approach current and future climate initiatives with an increased commitment to trade protectionism and nationalism, by various measures including trade restrictions? Or could a growing spirit of international accord develop to confront the “common enemy” of climate change?

Science Across Borders
Thursday, April 4 at 7pm

Facilitated by Dr. Junfeng Jiao

Scientific advances benefit from collaboration between researchers, but what happens when material, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is controversial and important to a nation’s national security? Is there a middle ground between sharing information and denying access? How can we regulate cooperation?

U.S.-China Trade Rivalry
Thursday, April 18 at 7pm
Facilitated by Zhizhen Lu

China’s economic rise and its current policies of increasing the role of the state in the economy have led some U.S. policymakers to seek to deny China access to U.S. technology and investment. This is seen as a necessary corrective to decades of predatory Chinese economic policies. Is this a wise strategy, and how effective can it be?

NATO’s Future
Thursday, May 2 at 7pm

Facilitated by Michael Mosser

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has come under increased scrutiny, not because NATO troops are involved in the conflict, but because of its role in relations between Russia and its neighbors. Will expanding membership in NATO protect countries, or will it further provoke Russia?

Understanding Indonesia
Thursday, May 16 at 7pm

Despite its large size, Indonesia remains virtually invisible to most Americans. But as one of the world’s largest democracies, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, and as an economic driver of ASEAN, why does it fly below the radar? What are current issues in U.S.-Indonesian relations, and what role can the country play in Asia?

High Seas Treaty ​
Thursday, May 30 at 7pm
Facilitated by Rachel Wellhausen

Areas of the seas beyond national jurisdiction comprise the high seas, which are facing a degradation of ecosystems due to climate change and the increase in human activities, such as shipping, overfishing, pollution, and deep-sea mining. The recently negotiated High Seas Treaty, also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction treaty, will attempt to address these issues. How difficult will it be to convince nations to participate?

Pandemic Preparedness
Thursday, June 13 at 7pm

Looking back at the covid-19 pandemic, there are many lessons to take away in terms of domestic and international policies. Although this pandemic seems to have waned, how can we apply these lessons to future pandemics? Will countries cooperate, and will a consensus emerge on how to manage global health challenges?

    Upcoming Events

Mar
05
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Power for Parkinson's

In-Person
Mar
06
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Silent Book Club at Hops & Thyme

In-Person
Mar
07
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Lakeway Garden Club Member Mixer

In-Person
Mar
07
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Great Decisions—Mideast Realignment

In-Person