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.
Russia and the Near Abroad
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30–8 p.m.
As calls for closer ties with the EU failed to be met, Ukrainians took to the streets in November 2013. As the movement later known as the Euromaidan, or “Euro Square,” pulled western Ukraine closer to its European neighbors, another powerful force threatened to tear away the country’s eastern half: Russia. Putin’s pushback against European expansionism has the West wondering: If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Europeanization in Ukraine, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?
Human Trafficking in the 21st Century
Tuesday, March 24, 6:30–8 p.m.
The international trade in human trafficking is a multibillion dollar a year industry and one of the fastest-growing criminal industries. While undeniably a global phenomenon, the U.S., as one of the world’s leading human trafficking importers, bears a special responsibility to combat this practice. The U.S. and the international community have adopted various treaties and laws to prevent trafficking, but to truly understand and combat the issue, they must find the root causes enabling traffickers to exploit millions of victims.
Sectarianism in the Middle East
Tuesday, April 14, 6:30–8 p.m.
Many of the current conflicts in the Middle East have been attributed to sectarianism, a politicization of ethnic and religious identity. From the crisis in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘i groups for dominance is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East?
Syria's Refugee Crisis
Tuesday, April 28, 6:30–8 p.m.
Syrians have for a century welcomed more than a million refugees from Armenia, Palestine, Iraq and other countries around the region. Now, thanks to a multiyear civil war, they are on track to become the source of the world’s largest refugee population in a matter of months. As Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other neighbors strive to accommodate the millions of Syrians, the risk of allowing Syrians to become dependent on emergency aid and forming a “lost generation” remains. Ultimately, though, the safety of displaced Syrians rests with the whole international community.