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.
Cuba and the U.S.
Tuesday, March 15, 6:30–8 p.m.
The U.S. announced in December 2014 that it has begun taking major steps to normalize relations with Cuba. The announcement marks a dramatic shift away from a policy that has its roots in one of the darkest moments of the Cold War — the Cuban missile crisis. The American and Cuban leaders today are trying to bring a relationship into the 21st century.
Presenter Robert Scarlett is a 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 and south.
The Rise of ISIS
Tuesday, March 29, 6:30–8 p.m.
Born out of an umbrella organization of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) burst onto the international stage after it seized Fallujah in December 2013. Since then, the group has seized control of a number of critical strongholds in the country and declared itself a caliphate, known as the Islamic State. What is ISIS, and what danger does it pose to U.S. interests?
Presenter Gary Prevost is professor of political science and international relations at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota. Prevost is the author of numerous books and articles on revolutionary parties and social movements.
Tuesday, April 12, 6:30–8 p.m.
At the end of World War II, Korea was divided in two. The northern half of the Korean peninsula was occupied by the Soviet Union, the southern by the United States. The North is underdeveloped, impoverished and ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian government, while the South advanced rapidly to become one of the most developed countries in the world. Is unification is possible, even desirable, anymore?
Presenter Dr. Hangtae Cho is the Director of Korean Department of Asian Languages and Literature, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As a language assessment expert, he has been awarded several language assessment and curriculum development projects funded by National Foreign Language Center.
Tuesday, April 26, 6:30–8 p.m.
In the past few years, the American public has become more aware of the damage wrought by climate change. From droughts in the west to extreme weather in the east, a rapidly changing climate has already made its footprint in the United States. What can our next president do to stymie this environmental crisis? And is it too late for these efforts to be effective?
The program will be presented by Dr. Underhill, an associate professor in the Political Science Department, Environmental Studies and International Relations Programs at Augsburg College. From 2010-12 he served as Batalden Faculty Scholar in Applied Ethics, Director of the International Relations Program, and a founding member of the college’s Environmental Stewardship Committee and Environmental Studies Program.
Great Decisions is sponsored locally by District 196 Community Education and Dakota County Library and coordinated statewide by the Minnesota International Center in Minneapolis. It is a nationally recognized model for foreign policy discussions sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association.