Great Decisions, sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, is the largest discussion program addressing world affairs in communities across the United States. It was launched over 50 years ago, and today tens of thousands of participants nationwide take part in discussion groups each year. Our library is proud to be hosting our fourth year of participation in the Great Decisions Program.
Nine 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.
Please register for Great Decision discussions using this Zoom link:
How will changing demographics impact a variety of topics ranging from development to sustainability?
The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political, and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.
How should the United States approach the new crowded outer space?
The launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX. How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?
How will the Biden administration tackle the challenges of climate change?
The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?
How will U.S. foreign policy engage Russia during the Biden administration?
Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?
Is it possible for democracy to prevail in Myanmar?
The situation in Myanmar, including the coup by the military in February 2021 and the ongoing human rights crises, coupled with civil resistance by those opposed to the regime, has led to the chaos in the Southeast Asian country. How are neighboring countries reacting, and what role will ASEAN play?
Will the Quad countries be able to contain China’s power reach?
As part of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the United States has been in dialogue with Japan, Australia, and India in an effort to contain China. Recently, the Quad countries held joint naval exercises in the South Pacific. How effective will the actions of this alliance be?
Have harsh drug control policies caused more harm than good?
The issue of migration to the United States from Latin America has overshadowed the war on drugs, which has been underway for decades with little signs of progress. What are the roots and the bureaucratic logic behind today’s dominant drug policies in Latin America? Is it time to reconsider punitive drug policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?
Will a more involved U.S. government help the economy revive?
The current discussion of industrial policy in the United States is not simply about whether or not to support specific companies or industries, but about trust or mistrust of the government and its ability to manage the economy and deal with a rising China. The upheaval in supply chains during the pandemic exposed weaknesses in the international economy. What policies can the United States implement to deal with trade and the economy?
How will the Biden administration treat foreign policy, among other policies, differently from the last?
The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration?