Great Decisions is a national program developed by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and offered by libraries, community groups, and civic organizations. Each year, eight new topics are chosen by a panel of experts. The FPA releases a booklet and video series to accompany each session and discussion groups meet to learn and discuss global issues facing America today.
The Great Decisions program focuses on current events that can be both political and controversial.
- Attendees will have differing opinions. You can disagree but do so with empathy and respect.
- Share the discussion – both speak and listen. We value your contributions and want to make sure that there is space for everyone to talk.
- We respect the commonalities and differences of all people. Hurtful or explicit language will not be tolerated.
2022 Topics & Speakers
Descriptions provided by Foreign Policy Association
Changing Demographics in the World by Joseph Chamie
Mar. 1, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom | Register to participate
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, the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.
Outer Space Policy by Eric Berger
Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom | Register to participate
The launch of Sputnik 1 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?
The Renewed Climate Change Agenda by Ronald J. Bee
May 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom | Register to participate
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?
Putin’s Russia by Allen Lynch
Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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 politcians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues?
Myanmar’s Neverending Crisis by Hunter Marston
Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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 the chaos in the Southeast Asian country. How are neighboring countries reacting, and what role will ASEAN play?
Xi’s China Takes on the Quad by Kevin Rudd
Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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?
No End in Sight: A Century of Drug Wars by Monica Serrano
Sep. 6, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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 policies that disrupt supply chains and punish drug possession?
Foreign Policy, Economic Power, and U.S. Industrial Policy by Jonathan Chanis
Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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?
Biden Foreign Policy in the Age of Strategic Competition by G. John Ikenberry
Nov. 1, 2022 at 6:00 p.m., in-person @ Old Town Library
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?
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about Great Decisions that are not addressed below, please call the Answer Center at 970-221-6740.
How do I prepare for each session?
There are lots of ways to participate in the Great Decisions program. We encourage all voices to join the conversation.
Choices for being involved in the program include any of the following:
- speaking about your own experiences and perspectives
- reading a chapter from the booklet
- watching the half-hour learning video
Do I need a Great Decisions booklet to participate?
While reading the current year’s Great Decisions booklet provides valuable background information and context about the current event being discussed, it is not a requirement.
Where do I get the Great Decisions booklet?
Print booklets are available for checkout at all library locations. An eBook is also available for free via Overdrive on the Poudre Libraries’ digital download page. Check the Library catalog for current availability of both print and digital booklets.
How can I learn more?
Additional resources are available on the Foreign Policy Association website.
What is the program schedule?
The Great Decisions group meets on the first Tuesday of the month from March to October. Each session is 1 ½ hours. The group meets via Zoom video or in-person, depending on local public health guidelines. Location information will be provided with registration.
Am I expected to attend all the sessions?
You are welcome to attend a single session or all sessions. Please register for each session you’ll be attending by clicking into the Library’s online events page.
How does Zoom programming work?
Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool that allows users to meet online with or without video. There is no cost to participants to use Zoom for library programs.
- Computer or smart device (tablet, phone, etc.) with webcam/microphone access
- Internet connection
- Email account
- Register for the Great Decisions session on the Library’s online events page.
- A Zoom program invite link will be sent to your email inbox.
- Click on the invite link at the program start time to connect to the program.
- Join the conversation either through your video/audio connection or type your comments into the chat feature.
Watch this short video for an overview of connecting to Zoom.
I didn’t receive my Zoom invite link. What do I do?
Call the library’s Answer Center at 970-221-6740 to have the Zoom link resent to your email.
What should I expect during the program?
A moderator will guide the group discussion through key questions based on the booklet chapter. All participants are encouraged to contribute their perspectives and comments. Participants can speak to the group directly through their video/audio setup or type comments/questions into the chat feature (Zoom programming only.) Participants have the choice to enable/disable their video and microphones at any point during the program.
Can I start the program mid-year?
The Great Decisions program can be joined at any point in the series. You can try one session, multiple sessions, or all sessions.
Why is there a ballot in the booklet?
Some Great Decisions groups complete the ballot at the end of the series and send the ballots to Washington D.C. The Poudre River Public Library District does not participate in the opinion ballot process.
Are the online programs recorded?
No, the online Great Decisions discussion is not recorded or posted.
Co-Speakers: Presenter Opportunity
Are you a citizen of another country, or have academic/work experience in global affairs or international relations?
To deepen and enrich the conversations that happen in Great Decisions, Poudre River Libraries is seeking volunteer co-speakers to bring their lived experiences or work/academic expertise to the conversation. For more information, please contact Poudre Library at 970-221-6740.
About Library Programs
Poudre River Libraries create opportunities for people to belong, where they are able to learn and grow. We celebrate and reflect the diversity of our community. We are dedicated to free and equal access for all.
We value diversity, curiosity, and community at the Poudre River Public Library District and encourage our participants to embody these values as well. Violations of these standards may result in participants being asked to leave the program.