Great Decisions returns January 14—all virtual—and runs for eight consecutive weeks on Fridays at noon. This year's series is a partnership with the Global Leadership and Management specialization in the Masters of Public Administration program at Portland State University.
One of WorldOregon's favorite events of the year is the annual Great Decisions series —the oldest, largest grassroots, people-powered, foreign policy series in the country, which had its start here in Portland in 1953. The series features eight hard-hitting topics selected by the Foreign Policy Association and across the region people organize discussion groups and attend our 8-week conversation series.
As in previous years, this year's series features some very critical issues that are "ripped from the headlines," as they say, topics that are front-and-center for how the U.S. is and will continue to be engaging on the world stage.
Also note: due to programs being all virtual, we will not be selling Great Decisions books but they may be purchased from the Foreign Policy Association here.
Tickets for individual events ($5 members; $10 general) will be available January 5, 2022.
Great Decisions 2022
January 28: 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?
Speaker: Angélica Durán-Martínez, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts—Lowell
February 4: Myanmar and ASEAN
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, have led to chaos in the Southeast Asian country. How are neighboring countries reacting, and what role will ASEAN play?
Speaker: Daniel P. Sullivan, Senior Advocate for Human Rights, Refugees International
February 11: Russia and the U.S.
Russia and the United States 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?
Speaker: Sarah Henderson, Associate Professor of Political Science, Oregon State University
February 18: Industrial Policy
The current discussion of industrial policy in the United States is not simply about whether or not to support specific companies or industries, but about trust or mistrust of the government and its ability to manage the economy and deal with a rising China. The upheaval in supply chains during the pandemic exposed weaknesses in the international economy. What policies can the United States implement to deal with trade and the economy?
February 25: Climate Change
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?
Speaker: Brook M. Thompson, Native Scholar & Environmental Activist
March 4: The Quad Alliance
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?
Speaker: Rudabeh Shahid, Atlantic Center’s South Asia Center, Nonresident Senior Fellow
PREVIOUS EVENTS IN THE SERIES:
January 14: 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?
Speaker: Eric Berger, Senior Space Editor, Ars Technica
January 21: Changing Demographics
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.
Speaker: Ethan Sharygin, Director of the Population Research Center, Portland State University
Extra Credit Topic Reading
U.S. Administration and Foreign Policy
The newer 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? How and where should the U.S. reassert itself as a global leader?
Note: this topic —featured in the Great Decisions Briefing Book as "Biden's Agenda"—will be the subject of a bonus online group discussion on February 10, 12 PM. Read the chapter in your Great Decisions briefing book and join the conversation.
New this year: Great Decisions Bonus Discussions
Join us for bonus discussion sessions, facilitated by WorldOregon and graduate students in the Global Leadership and Management specialization in the Masters of Public Administration program at Portland State University and participate in a deeper dive into the some of the key topics from this year’s series. These discussions are conducted online, registration required.
- Thursday, January 27, 12 pm PST: Changing Demographics in a post-COVID World REGISTER
- Thursday, February 10, 12 pm PST: The U.S. Administration and Foreign Policy: Priorities & Pitfalls REGISTER
- Thursday, March 3, 12 pm PST: Climate Change: from Awareness to Action REGISTER