Great Decisions 2020

Next Topic: February 24, India and Pakistan

MUMBAI, INDIA – MAY 23: BJP party workers celebrate their victory in Lok Sabha election 2019 at BJP Head office Nariman point, on May 23, 2019 in Mumbai, India. Riding high on the planks of muscular nationalism and anti-Congressism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday secured a resounding mandate for the second consecutive term as BJP crossed the 300 mark by breaking new grounds in West Bengal and Odisha and retaining its sway in the Hindi heartland in the Lok Sabha elections.(Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

 

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode a wave of Hindu nationalism to a historic reelection in 2019. His first order of business was to revoke the special status granted to the Kashmir region, inflaming the rivalry between India and Pakistan. How will the Kashmir situation affect the region, both economically and politically?

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Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. The name is shared by a national civic-education program, briefing book, teacher’s guide and PBS television series produced by the Foreign Policy Association. The Great Decisions program highlights eight critical foreign policy challenges facing Americans each year. In libraries across the country, Great Decisions discussion group participants discuss and debate each issue and complete a national opinion ballot to communicate their views to Congress and the White House. Supported by the Foreign Policy Association for over 50 years, Great Decisions involves citizens in the foreign policy making process.

The Foreign Policy Association is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to broadening public involvement with the most important foreign policy issues facing the United States. Each year, thousands take part in the Great Decisions discussion groups around the country to increase their awareness and understanding of U.S. foreign policy concern.

The annual series features a DVD on each topic, followed by a moderated discussion among the participants. Participants are asked to review the relevant chapter of the Great Decisions briefing book, a limited number of which are available from the Library. Registration is not required.

GREAT DECISIONS TOPICS 2020

All meetings begin at 7 pm.

January 27: Climate Change and the Global Order

Resources

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. As much of the world bands together to come up with a plan, the U.S. remains the notable holdout. What is the rest of the world doing to combat climate change? What impact will the effects of climate change have on global geopolitics?

February 24: India and Pakistan

Resources

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode a wave of Hindu nationalism to a historic reelection in 2019. His first order of business was to revoke the special status granted to the Kashmir region, inflaming the rivalry between India and Pakistan. How will the Kashmir situation affect the region, both economically and politically?

March 23: Red Sea Security

Resources

The Red Sea has remained vital for global trade since the time of ancient Egypt. Once home to the spice trade, the Red Sea now sees millions of barrels of oil a day transported across its waters. With major nations like China, France, Italy, and the U.S. building large ports and bases in the region, what does the future of the region look like? How important is Red Sea security for global security? Can the region be a place of global cooperation?

April 27: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

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Almost every nation has enacted laws criminalizing human trafficking, and international organizations, governments, and NGOs sponsor a large variety of projects to curb trafficking and slavery. Billions of dollars have been allocated to these efforts. What is the international community doing to combat slavery and trafficking? What are the experiences like for those being trafficked?

Summer Break

September 28: U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle

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Combatting illegal immigration has become a priority of the Trump administration. The Northern Triangle of Central America, made up of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is a special target of the administration, which hold the nations responsible for the large flow of migrants from Latin America to the U.S. With funds from the U.S. cut, how can the Northern Triangle countries curtail migration?

October 26: China’s Road into Latin America

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As the Trump administration continues to withdraw from the world stage, China is looking to fill the void. How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan? How will the relationship with China affect the region? Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence”?

November 23: The Philippines and the U.S.

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The Philippines has had a special relationship with the United States since the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States after the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century.  However, since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the country has pivoted more toward China, and away from the U.S. Duterte has also launched a large scale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S, relations with the Philippines?

December 28: Artificial Intelligence and Data

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Policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). Global growth is slowing, and not surprisingly, many policymakers hope that AI will provide a magic solution. The EU, Brazil, and other Western countries have adopted regulations that grant users greater control over their data and require that firms using AI be transparent about how they use it. Will the U.S. follow suit?