Delaware’s 2016 Great Decisions Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy will include three interconnected talks in the course of the eight sessions.
The annual series begins on Jan. 29.
The first lecture of the three interconnected lectures will focus on the Middle East as a whole, with its often-lethal intertwining of ethnicity, minorities, religion and nationalism, organizers say. Another will focus on the Kurdish ethnic group that has become known for fielding effective fighters against ISIS but whose main goal is to establish its own country, perhaps including parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. Closing out the series, a former Foreign Service officer will examine the rise of ISIS.
Talks on two topics will be expressly linked to Delaware itself. An overview of Mexican migration to the United States will include a close look at central Ohio, and a panel from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware will examine “what’s next after Paris,” where the global conference on climate was recently convened.
The opening talk will be on “The Koreas” by political scientist Ji Young Choi from South Korea. A Delaware native son, Stephen Tull, will follow. Tull had previous United Nations assignments in Croatia, Rwanda, Geneva, Russia and Kazakhstan, but has just moved on to become the U.N. Resident Program coordinator and U.N. development resident representative in the Republic of Chad.
All Great Decisions discussions will begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William. 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:
• Jan. 29, “The Koreas,” featuring Ji Young Choi, professor of politics and government department at Ohio Wesleyan University.
• Feb. 5, “The United Nations,” featuring Stephen Tull, U.N. Resident Program coordinator in the Republic of Chad.
• Feb. 12, “The Middle East,” featuring Alam Payind, director of the Middle East Studies Center at The Ohio State University.
• Feb. 19, “The Kurds,” featuring Melinda McClimans, assistant director of the Middle East Studies Center at OSU.
• Feb. 26, “Cuba and the United States,” featuring Miguel Martinez-Saenz, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Otterbein University.
• March 4, “Mexican Migration to the United States,” featuring Robert Gitter, Joseph A. Meek Professor of Economics at Ohio Wesleyan.
• March 11, “The Road to a Stable Climate: What’s Next After Paris?,” featuring Marianne Gabel, leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware, with a CCL panel.
• March 18, “The Rise of ISIS,” featuring Michael Houlahan, Foreign Service Officer (retired), U.S. State Department.
Following each discussion, audience participants will have the option of completing a quick 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, League of Women Voters, 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 Foreign Policy Association 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.