Great Decisions, a non-partisan discussion forum, provides education on important American policy issues. Each program features a presenter with expertise in the topic, who will set the stage for the discussion of diverse viewpoints.
Participants are encouraged, but not required, to checkout or read the desk copy of the Great Decisions briefing book—available at the Galaxie Library—prior to the program.
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Brazil has now risen to new global prominence — it’s drawing in more investment, working on global issues ranging from climate change to peacekeeping, and even hosting the 2016 Olympics. But some of Brazil’s trickiest problems — income inequality, weak civic institutions and poor regional leadership — have held it back. Presented by Robert Scarlett, Senior Advisor at Clearwater Layline, LLC utilizing his 40 years of experience in Latin America to assist individuals and companies seeking access to markets in North & South.
Privacy in the Digital Age
Tuesday, Oct. 20
The idea of “privacy” has undergone significant changes in the digital age. Concerns about what some see as a U.S. “dragnet” and unwarranted privacy intrusions have compelled other countries to revamp their own privacy protections. Legislation, both at home and abroad, hasn’t kept pace with technology, leaving some wondering if privacy as we know it is long dead. Presented by George Welles, President of Imaging Futures, Inc., CEO of Allargeo Ltd. and currently serves as a national security subject matter expert for senior federal executives and as an advisor in future technologies and trends for organizations.
U.S. Policy Toward Africa
Tuesday, Nov. 3
Africa is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation. The continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it’s become a draw for foreign investors from across the globe. Still, the U.S. has promised to promote “strong institutions, not strong men,” and to favor good governance and healthy economies over profit. How can U.S. policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region? Presented by Tom Gitaa, President and Publisher of Mshale, a leading newspaper in the Midwest United States dedicated to covering the African immigrant community with a focus primarily in the state of Minnesota. He also serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium.
India Changes Course
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Fed up with corruption, dynastic policies and ineffective public services, Indian voters catapulted Narenda Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the country's 2014 elections. For voters, Modi embodied real change and an India that wasn't stumbling, but running, to greatness. But for the U.S., change in India brings its own set of unknowns, heralding an age ruled by a prime minister new to national office and other policymakers who have been out of the public eye for a decade. Now, the U.S. has to determine how to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage.
Tom Hanson is a foreign policy consultant and a former career U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Currently, he serves as program secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, advisor to MIC's Great Decisions program, and Diplomat in Residence at the University of Minnesota -Duluth.