Delaware’s 2017 Great Decisions Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy is particularly timely given the change in the foreign policy leadership of the United States with the election of a new president. A critical question is, will we see more continuity or change in our foreign policy?
As Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has pointed out, we are launched on a foreign policy debate “between a besieged traditional internationalism and an energized new isolationism.”
The question of continuity or change can be raised with each of our eight topics, whether it be “Trade and Politics,” ”Nuclear Security” or “Conflict in the South China Sea.”
The annual series begins on Feb. 17.
The opening talk by economist Goran Skosples will focus on “The Future of Europe.”
Europe faces multiple issues, organizers say, including “Brexit”—the British intention to leave the European Community, low economic growth, Russian assertiveness on Europe’s Eastern borders, the rise of right-wing radicalism in response to immigration, international terrorist attacks, and the inauguration of an American president who has raised issues about the NATO alliance.
He will be followed by Major General Dennis Laich on “Nuclear Security.”
All Great Decisions discussions will begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch, organizers note. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided.
Speakers during the eight-session series are:
• Feb. 17, “The Future of Europe,” featuring Goran Skosples, professor of economics at OWU.
• Feb. 24, “Nuclear Security,” featuring Dennis Laich, Major General (ret’d).
• March 3, “Saudi Arabia in Transition,” featuring Melinda McClimans, assistant director of the Middle East Studies Center at OSU, and Rand Guebert, former consultant with Oilinvest BV.
• March 10 “Latin America’s Political Pendulum,” featuring James Franklin, chair of politics and government at OWU
• March 17 “Conflict in the South China Sea,” featuring Michelle Mood, professor of political science at Kenyon College
• March 24 “Trade and Politics,” featuring Ji Young Choi, professor of politics and government, OWU.
• March 31 “Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” featuring Alam Payind, director of the Middle East Studies Center at OSU.
• April 7 “U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum,” featuring Michael Houlahan, Foreign Service Officer (ret’d), U.S. State Department
Following each discussion, audience participants will have the option of completing a survey—prepared by the Foreign Policy Association—to add their opinions to thousands of others across the nation. The survey results will be made available to federal decision makers.
Local sponsors of the lecture series include the American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, the League of Women Voters, the International Studies Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, William Street United Methodist Church, Willow Brook Christian Communities, Cruise One and private donors.
The Great Decisions Discussion Program, a free community discussion series, is designed to encourage debate and discussion of the role of the United States in world affairs, organizers say. The program provides materials that help people reach informed opinions on issues and encourages them to participate in the foreign-policy process.
Developed by the Foreign Policy Association in 1954, the Great Decisions Discussion Program is the longest-standing and largest grassroots world affairs educational program of its kind.
The group is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world.
Information for this story was provided by Corinne Lyman, professor emerita of politics and government at Ohio Wesleyan University.