Great Decisions Lecture Series

The Great Decisions Lecture Series is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the documentary film series, and meeting in a discussion group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. The Fredricksen Library partners with WACH to host this annual discussion series. 

2023 Great Decisions Lecture Topics

Read below to see the topics for this year’s Great Decisions lecture series. First and last lectures are held Feb. 14 and Apri. 4 at the Fredricksen Library at 5 pm. All others will be Zoom webinars.

  • Energy Geopolitics - Feb. 14 @ 5 pm @ Fredricksen Library

    Access to oil and gas has long held an influence over the politics of individual nations and their relations with others. But as more countries move toward sustainable energy, and supply chain shortages affect the availability of oil and gas, how will this change the way in which the United States interacts with the outside world?

  • War Crimes - Feb. 21 @ 5 pm

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with?

  • China and the U.S. - Feb. 28 @ 5 pm

    For the past ten years, the United States and China have been locked in a competition for who has the greatest global influence. One major point of contention is the status of Taiwanese sovereignty, which has become even more relevant recently with the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may prompt China to take similar action regarding Taiwan. How will the United States engage a China which is increasingly seeking to expand its sphere of influence? By David Lampton

  • Economic Warfare - March 7 @ 5 pm

    Waging economic warfare consists of a variety of measures from implementing sanctions to fomenting labor strikes. Such tools are utilized by states to hinder their enemies, and in the case of the United States have been used as far back as the early 19th century. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, economic warfare has been the main means for the west to challenge Russia. How effective will these sanctions be at convincing Russia to cease its war?

  • Politics in Latin America - March 14 @ 5 pm

    Electoral results in Latin America over the past four years have led many observers of the regional/political scene to discern a left-wing surge in the hemisphere, reminiscent of the so-called “Pink Tide” that swept the area some 20 years ago. But how much do these politicians actually have in common? What implication does their ascendency have for the region?
    Speaker: Dr. Evan Ellis- Research Professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute

  • Global Famine - March 14 @ 5 pm

    Fears of global food shortages have followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted grain shipments from the major grain producer. But what about countries and regions that were suffering before this impending shortage? How is famine defined, and how is it different from simple food shortages? What if any remedies are there?
    Speaker: William Lambers - author, journalist, & historian

  • Climate Migration - March 28 @ 5 pm

    As climate change accelerates and drought and rising sea levels become more common, millions of people in affected regions must uproot themselves and seek safety elsewhere. Who are these affected individuals, and how might the United States aid them, and be affected by the migration?
    Speaker: Donald A. Brown- Scholar In Residence Sustainability Ethics and Law Widener University Commonwealth Law School

  • Iran at A Crossroads - April 4 @ 5 pm @ Fredricksen Library

    By the fall of 2022, Iran was in a state of turmoil due to widespread protests against government-enforced wearing of the hijab, a failing economy, an ineffective new president, and the looming succession of the country’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Abroad, renewal of the Iran nuclear deal seemed doubtful and tensions remain high between Iran, Israel, and Arab states. Many Iranians have lost hope of a better future, and the country seems at a crossroads. How should the United States deal with it? By Lawrence Potter

Missed a Great Decisions Lecture?

Don’t worry, all of last year’s lectures were recorded so you can watch them any time!

Want to purchase the briefing book?

Visit the Foreign Policy website for more information

Join us!

Don't forget to subscribe to our emails, so you don't miss any future events!