2012 Great Decisions

Eight-session series begins Feb. 10 to examine key global issues

Eight distinguished speakers will discuss global issues as part of the 2012 Great Decisions series. (Photo illustration by Doug Thompson)

The 2012 Great Decisions series on important global issues of our era will take us from Afghanistan to Mexico, from the energy policy to the new frontier of cybersecurity. The series will examine Indonesia’s prospects for prosperity, Arab upheavals and realignments in the Middle East, how the United States can best promote democracy abroad—and more.

The 2012 kick-off talk has as its background the tsunami that inundated the coast of Japan, unleashing the threat of nuclear devastation and impacting our western coast with flood damage and debris. Dr. Amy Downing, professor of zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University and a specialist in marine biology and conservation biology, will discuss “State of the Oceans: Waves of Change.”

She will be followed by the director of the Middle East Studies Center of The Ohio State University, Dr. Alam Payind. At a time when the U.S. military has just exited Iraq and is endeavoring to bring to a viable conclusion our military activities in Afghanistan, Payind will examine our “Exit from Afghanistan and Iraq: Right Time, Right Pace?”

All Great Decisions discussions will be held at noon in the parlor of William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch.  Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided.

Distinguished speakers during the eight-session series are as follows:

  • February 10 – STATE OF THE OCEANS: Waves of Change, Amy Downing, Alumni Professor of Zoology, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • February 17 – EXIT FROM AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ:  Right Time, Right Pace?, Alam Payind, Director, Middle East Studies Center, The Ohio State University
  • February 24 – PROMOTING DEMOCRACY: Foreign Policy Imperative?, James Franklin, Chair, Politics and Government Department, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • March 2 – MIDDLE EAST REALIGNMENT: The Arab Upheaval, Hassan Aly, Professor of Economics, The Ohio State University, Marion
  • March 9 – ENERGY POLICY: Economic, Environmental, and Political Concerns Intensify, Andrew Meyer, Assistant Professor of Economics, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • March 16 – CYBERSECURITY: The New Frontier, Timothy Howard, Chief Information Officer, City of Delaware
  • March 23 – MEXICO: Transborder Crime and Governance, David Walker, Assistant Professor of Geography, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • March 30 – INDONESIA: Prospects for Prosperity, William Liddle, Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University

The Great Decisions Discussion Program, a free community discussion series, is designed to encourage debate and discussion of the role of the United States in world affairs.  The program provides materials that help people reach informed opinions on issues and encourages them to participate in the foreign-policy process.

Following each discussion, participants will have the option of completing a quick survey to add their opinions to thousands of others across the nation. The surveys will be made available to local media and sent to Washington, D.C., where our voice as a community can be heard by federal decision-makers.

Developed by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) in 1954, the Great Decisions Discussion Program is the longest-standing and largest grassroots world affairs educational program of its kind. It is the core of FPA’s civic education outreach efforts, bringing millions of Americans together in communities across the country to discover, discuss, and decide their opinions on foreign policy issues.

Delaware’s Great Decisions discussion series is sponsored by: American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, International Studies Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, Senior Citizens, William Street United Methodist Church, Willow Brook Christian Communities, and private donors.

Download a copy of the complete 2012 Great Decisions series poster.


The Foreign Policy Association (FPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world.  Founded in 1918, FPA provides independent publications, programs and forums to increase public awareness of, and foster popular participation in, matters relating to those policy issues.

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