Great Decisions Lecture Series
Each year, the Great Decisions program (which originated as a pilot program of the Council in 1954) brings citizens together for lectures and small-group discussion to share ideas and opinions on the issues affecting our global future.
The way it works: The Foreign Policy Association picks eight themes, big issues in the arena of US foreign policy and international affairs, and publishes the accompanying Great Decisions briefing book with chapters by experts in the field to be used as a springboard for group conversation with our Great Decisions Discussion Groups.Discussion Groups, like a book group, are self organizing and can meet anywhere you are (in classrooms, community centers, libraries, senior centers, and workplaces) to engage in spirited discussion of world affairs.
Every winter, the Council presents the 8-week Great Decisions Lecture Series in partnership with Portland State University’s International Colloquium that features a wealth of perspective and opinion from diplomats, policy experts, academics, and foreign service professionals addressing the topics in the Great Decisions books. This program is free and open to the community at large.
2013 Great Decisions Lecture Series
Future of the Euro
How did the 2008 global recession contribute to the development of the euro crisis? The health of the euro affects and is affected by the state of the global economy. How can European Union leaders prevent the collapse of the common currency?
Speaker: Birol Yesilada, Portland State University
The popular revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 ushered in the promise of radical change. Two years later, what is the state of Egyptian democracy? How will the military and the civilian government balance power?
Speaker: Thomas Bartlett, former president, American University in Cairo
Suspicion and a troubled history have blighted U.S.-Iranian relations for three decades. How can the United States and Iran move forward? Is the existence of Iran’s nuclear program an insurmountable obstacle?
Speaker: Hussein Banai, Occidental College
China in Africa
What interests govern China’s engagement in Africa? Should China’s growing emphasis on political ties and natural resource extraction inform U.S. relations with African nations?
Speaker: Bruce Gilley, Portland State University
How has NATO’s agenda evolved since its inception during the cold war? With its military commitment in Afghanistan winding down and a recent successful campaign in Libya, what are the Alliance’s present-day security challenges?
Speaker: David Kinsella, Portland State University
Myanmar & Southeast Asia
The West has welcomed unprecedented democratic reforms made by Myanmar’s government. What challenges must Myanmar overcome before it can fully join the international community? What role can it play in Southeast Asia?
Speaker: Edith Mirante, Project Maje
The “responsibility to protect” doctrine has become central to modern humanitarian intervention. When should the international community intervene? Why did the West rush to intervene in Libya but not Syria?
Speaker: Jim White, former VP of Operations for Mercy Corps
How can the United States address the challenges of a weak economy, homegrown terrorism and nuclear proliferation? What threats and opportunities are presented by the ascendancy of China and by regime change in the Middle East?
Speaker: Gregory Treverton, RAND Corporation
This year's Lecture series takes place Fridays, January 18 - March 8, 12 p.m. at Portland State University's Shattuck Hall Annex, 1914 SW Park Avenue, Room 212 (entrance at Broadway and Hall). Free and open to the public, no registration required.