Series on foreign policy to begin March 1


The Great Decisions program is a series of free, public lectures from central Ohio foreign policy experts who explore pressing international topics of the day. Sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, Great Decisions provides a series of eight published essays around which our local presenters base their discussions each week. The presentations include audience question-and-answer periods to engage in thoughtful discussion.

This year, the Great Decisions community discussion series covers eight particular topics: The future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the future of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, U.S.-China trade rivalry, global climate change technology and competition, global pandemic preparedness, the future of the High Seas Treaty on ocean biodiversity, and a closer look at the regional role of Indonesia in Indo-Pacific relations.

The Friday, March 1, Great Decisions lecture kicks off at noon at the William Street United Methodist Church with a discussion of the recently approved United Nations Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, more commonly called the High Seas Treaty. Western Governors University Associate Professor of Geography Erinn Nicley will present and guide the discussion. The High Seas Treaty approved on Sept. 20, 2023 is a groundbreaking agreement to protect the highly endangered plant and animal life on the two-thirds of the global ocean that sits outside of national jurisdiction.

For decades, biodiversity on the oceans has been threatened by overfishing, pollution, shipping, deep seabed mining, and – increasingly – climate change effects on Earth’s oceans. The High Seas Treaty once ratified will create international guidelines for the protection, conservation, and equitable sharing of ocean resources. The talk will discuss the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the new High Seas Treaty, while exploring U.S. policy towards the treaty and the likelihood of its success.

Distinguished speakers during the eight-session Great Decisions series are as follows (all dates are Fridays from noon to 1 p.m.):

• March 1: The High Seas Treaty with presenter Erinn Nicley, Ph.D. Senior Instructor of geography, Western Governors University; Foreign Service Officer (emeritus), U.S. Department of State.

• March 8: Climate Technology and Competition with presenter David Carpenter, MA, Citizens Climate Lobby, American Solar Energy Society and Green Energy Ohio.

• March 15: The Future of NATO (presenter to be announced)

• March 22: Science Across Borders (The International Politics of Science Cooperation) with presenter David Staley, Ph.D., Associate professor of history, OSU.

• April 5: Mideast Realignment with presenter Hassan Aly, Ph.D., founding dean, School of Public Administration and Development Economics and Professor, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies; professor (emeritus), Middle East Studies Center and John Glenn Institute for Public Service, OSU.

• April 12 Pandemic Preparedness with presenter Gillian Ice, Ph.D., MPH; professor of social medicine and director of global health, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine; interim associate provost of global affairs, Ohio University.

• April 26 Understanding Indonesia with presenter Vanessa Hildebrandt, Ph.D, associate professor of sociology-anthropology, OWU.

• May 3: US-China trade rivalry with presenter Ji Young Choi, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and government, OWU.

Guests are welcome to purchase the eight-essay Briefing Books at the event and can read a reserve copy at the Delaware Main and Orange branches of the Delaware Country Public Library. Guests are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch. Coffee and cookies also will be provided.

The William Street United Methodist Church is located at 28 W. William St., Delaware. Presentations also will be broadcast over Zoom at http://tinyurl/com/bu8ec3uv.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit

Submitted by Erinn Nicley.

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