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Great Decisions 2022: Experts to lead discussions on global politics at Cumming Library
Great Decisions

Interest in global politics has steadily increased over the past few years due to the pandemic and related global supply chain crisis. To help us make sense of it all, experts in a number of geopolitical topics will gather weekly from Jan. 26- March 23 at the Cumming Library to lead Great Decisions, an annual series developed by the Foreign Policy Association and presented locally by Forsyth County Public Library and the University of North Georgia.

“Great Decisions is a national program developed by the FPA to help local communities better understand global politics, government, and foreign issues that affect the United States and its citizens,” said programming manager Cleo Joyce.

“We are fortunate to have experts on these issues at the University of North Georgia who are willing to provide information and direct our patrons to further resources so they can educate themselves about these important topics,” she said. “We always learn something new through discussion between our patrons and the speakers at Great Decisions events.” 

Beginning Jan. 26, the series meets at 7 p.m. for nine consecutive Wednesdays at the Cumming Library, 585 Dahlonega Street. Admission to each discussion is free and open to the public. Advance registration is not required. 

• The first discussion in this year’s series is “Changing Demographics,” presented by Dr. Rana Gautam, on Wednesday, Jan. 26. The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political, and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, climate, and the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.

• On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Dr. Jon Miner will present “Outer Space.” The launch of Sputnik I in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX. How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?


• Dr. Jamie Mitchem presents “Climate Change” on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?

• On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Dr. John Romero will present “Russia.” The United States and Russia have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?

• The topic for Wednesday, Feb. 23 is “Myanmar and ASEAN” with Dr. Richard Byers. The situation in Myanmar, including the coup by the military in February 2021 and the ongoing human rights crises, coupled with civil resistance by those opposed to the regime, has led to chaos in the Southeast Asian country. How are neighboring countries reacting, and what role will ASEAN play?

• On Wednesday, March 2 the topic is “The Quad Alliance” with Dr. Christopher Jespersen. As part of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the United States has been in dialogue with Japan, Australia, and India in an effort to contain China. Recently, the Quad countries held joint naval exercises in the South Pacific. How effective will the actions of this alliance be?

• On Wednesday, March 16, Dr. Cristian Harris will present “Drug Policy in Latin America.” The issue of migration to the United States from Latin America has overshadowed the war on drugs, which has been underway for decades with little signs of progress. What are the roots and the bureaucratic logic behind today’s dominant drug policies in Latin America? Is it time to reconsider punitive drug control policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?

• The final topic in the series is “Biden’s Agenda” with Dr. Nathan Price on Wednesday, March 23. The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration? 

For more information, visit www.forsythpl.org.