The Great Decisions Program is the oldest and largest grassroots world affairs educational program of its kind in the country. Begun in 1954, it is the flagship program of the Foreign Policy Association, a non-partisan, non-governmental organization. The Great Decisions Program's goal is to discuss, debate, and learn about International Affairs, National Security, and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Who Should Attend and Why
The Great Decisions Program is for anyone who desires to gain a deeper understanding of the current challenges the United States faces in the world today, from the threat of global terrorism to environmental issues, globalization, and development. Teachers, educators, students, military personnel (active and retired), business people, service organizations and clubs, political organizations, and international community groups will all benefit by gaining a greater appreciation for the complex international issues we face as a nation today.
Click membership for series prices. Individual lectures are $10 each. Full time students admitted free of charge.
Times and locations
Each GD presentation is given at four separate locations:
Tuesday, 7:30pm, Asheville (UNCA, Manheimer Room of the Reuter Center)
Wednesday, 10:00am, Hendersonville (Blue Ridge Community College, Bo Thomas Auditorium)
TOPIC: "Refugees and Global Migration" Today, no countries have open borders. Every state in today's global system has its own laws and policies about who is permitted to cross its borders, and how they will do so. Who determines whether someone is a refugee or a migrant? How have different countries, including the United States, reacted to migration? How effective are the international laws, policies and organizations that have evolved to assist and protect refugees and migrants?
TOPIC: "Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics" Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage and attacks on infrastructure. Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and China is highly committed to using cyberspace as a tool of national policy. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21stcentury warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats.
TOPIC: "The Rise of Populism in Europe" Mass migration, and the problems associated with it, have directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit, it brought a far-right party to the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s, and propelled Marine Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.
TOPIC: "The Middle East: Regional Disorder?" As the presidency of Donald J. Trump passes the halfway point, the Middle East remains a region in turmoil. The Trump administration has aligned itself with strongmen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which along with Israel have a common goal of frustrating Iranian expansion. What will be the fallout from policy reversals such as withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear accord and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Does the United States see a path forward in troubled states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq? Is the United States headed toward war with Iran?
TOPIC: "Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?" Nuclear weapons have not gone away, and the Trump administration has brought a new urgency, if not a new approach, to dealing with them. The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021, the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un occurred to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump has decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran. To what degree should past nuclear talks guide future U.S. nuclear arms control negotiations? Can the art of the deal apply to stabilizing our nuclear future?
TOPIC: "Decoding U.S.-China Trade: Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade. These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America's true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China's. Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China. What other tools can the United States employ to counter China's unfair trade practices? There are several available, yet they remain mostly unused.