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.
Great Decisions is a nationally recognized model for foreign policy discussions sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, coordinated statewide by Global Minnesota, and sponsored locally by District 196 Community Education and Dakota County Library.
All discussions will take place at the Galaxie Library Interim Location - Western Service Center, CR 106.
The Waning of Pax Americana?
Tuesday, April 24, 6:30–8 p.m.
During the first months of Donald Trump's presidency, the U.S. began a historic shift away from Pax Americana, the liberal international order that was established in the wake of World War II. Since 1945, Pax Americana has promised peaceful international relations and an open economy, buttressed by U.S. military power. In championing "America First" isolationism and protectionism, President Trump has shifted the political mood toward selective U.S. engagement, where foreign commitments are limited to areas of vital U.S. interest and economic nationalism is the order of the day. Geopolitical allies and challengers alike are paying close attention.
Speaker Molly Hayes is a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Hayes served as a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State from 2008-2014 where she was the counterterrorism advisor for East Africa, desk officer for Kenya, Morocco, Western Sahara, Libya, and Tunisia, and assistant to the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
She was also a deputy coordinator of the State Department's Egypt Task Force during the 2011 Arab Spring. Hayes holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame in English and Arabic and is a mid-career policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Turkey: Partner in Crisis
Tuesday, April 17, 6:30-8 p.m.
Of all NATO allies, Turkey represents the most daunting challenge for the Trump administration. In the wake of a failed military coup in July 2016, the autocratic trend in Ankara took a turn for the worse. One year in, an overwhelming majority of the population considers the United States to be their country's greatest security threat. In this age of a worsening "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West, even more important than its place on the map is what Turkey symbolically represents as the most institutionally Westernized Muslim country in the world.
Speaker Ross Wilson is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and a visiting lecturer in international affairs at the George Washington University. Over the course of a 30-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, he served as American ambassador to Turkey in 2005-08 and to Azerbaijan in 2000-2003. A native of Minneapolis, Ambassador Wilson received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and master's degrees from Columbia University and the U.S. National War College.
He is a recipient of the president's Meritorious Service Award, as well as numerous Department of State awards and honors. He presently serves as chairman of the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies and is a member of the Eurasia Foundation Advisory Council and of the boards of directors of Global Minnesota and the American Friends of Turkey.