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Great Decisions Speaker Series
Great Decisions is a program developed by the Foreign Policy Association that provides the local community with a unique opportunity to learn about issues of global importance in an engaging and interactive format. Lectures are delivered by well respected experts in the foreign policy field. Great Decisions begins in January and runs for eight consecutive Saturday mornings.

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Great Decisions 2018 Topics and Speakers
Speakers may emphasize their own research and experiences in these areas for a deeper understanding of the issues
 

  1. JAN 13
    U.S. Defense Budget
    U.S. Defense Budget
    Professor Aaron Karp, Senior Lecturer and Director of Model United Nations, Old Dominion University The United States is at a turning point when it comes to global engagement and the role of its military. Some argue for an "America First" paradigm, with a large military to match. Others envision a more traditional assertion of the U.S. multilateral leadership. Still others favor greater restraint and cautious cooperation with emerging powers. What is the role of the U.S. military force, arms sales and security assistance in the shifting international system? How does the balance of capabilities in the U.S. foreign policy toolkit impact strategic engagement?
  2. JAN 20
    Russia
    Russia
    Dr. Allen Lynch, Professor, Department of Government, University of Virginia Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is projecting an autocratic model of governance abroad and working to destabilize liberal democracies. Russia caused an international uproar in 2016. when it interfered in the U.S. presidential contest. But Putin's foreign policy toolkit included other instruments, from alliances with autocrats to proxy wars with the U.S. in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. How does Putin conceive of national interests, and why do Russian citizens support him? How should the United States respond to Putin's attempts to spread right-wing authoritarianism?
  3. JAN 27
     China: Economic Power and Geopolitics
    China: Economic Power and Geopolitics
    Dr. Cathy Wu, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science & Geography and Graduate Program in International Studies (GPIS), Old Dominion University Over the past several years, China has implemented an expansive strategy of economic diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. where the United States has taken a step back from multilateral trade agreements and discarded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China has made inroads through initiatives like One Belt, One Road and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). What are China's geopolitical objectives? What do its actions mean for international balance of power, and how should the United States respond?
  4. FEB 3
    Global Health
    Global Health
    Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, Professor and Director of the Center of Global Health, College of Health Sciences, Old Dominion University Global health has been an indisputable success story over the past 30 years. Action by countries, communities and organizations has literally saved millions of lives. Yet the international community is in no position to rest its laurels. Global measures of health status have improved, but terrible inequalities persist and the world faces a mix of old and new challenges. This means the next several decades will be just as important- if not more so- than the last in determining well-being across nation.
  5. FEB 10
    South Africa
    South Africa
    Ambassador (Ret.) Bismarck Myrick, Ambassador in Residence, Department of Political Science & Geography, Old Dominion University The African National Congress (ANC) party has governed South Africa since the end of the apartheid in 1994. But the party today suffers from popular frustration with President Jacob Zuma, and it faces growing threats from both left and right opposition parties, even as intraparty divisions surface. Given America's history of opportunistic engagement with Africa, there are few prospects for a closer relationship between the two countries. Meanwhile, a weaker ANC could lead to political fragmentation and a disturbing shift for this relatively new democracy.
  6. FEB 17
    The Waning of PAX Americana
    The Waning of PAX Americana
    Dr. Simon Serfaty, Eminent Scholar and Professor in International Studies in GPIS, Old Dominion University During the first months of Donald trump's presidency, the U.S. began a historic shift away from PAX Americana, the liberal international order that was established in the wake of World War II. Since 1945, PAX Americana has promised peaceful international relations and an open economy, buttressed by U.S. military power. In championing "America First" isolationism, President Trump has shifted the political mood towards selective U.S. engagement, where foreign commitments are limited to areas of vital U.S. interest. Geopolitical allies and challengers alike are paying close attention.
  7. FEB 24
    Media and Foreign Policy
    Media and Foreign Policy
    Panel: Dr. Mary Manjikian, Associate Dean and Associate Professor in the Robertson School of Government, Regent University and Dr. Burton St. John, Professor and Chair, Department of Communications and Theater Arts, Old Dominion University State and non-state actors today must maneuver a complex and rapidly evolving media landscape. Conventional journalism now competes with user-generated content Official channels of communication can be circumvented through social media. foreign policy is tweeted from the White House and "fake news" has entered the zeitgeist. Cyber-warfare, hacking and misinformation pose complex security threats. How are actors using media to pursue and defend their interests in the international arena? What are the implications for U.S. policy?
  8. MAR 3
    Turkey: A Partner in Crisis
    Turkey: A Partner in Crisis
    Dr. Aaron Stein, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Of all NATO allies, Turkey represents the most daunting challenge for the Trump administration. In the wake of a failed military coup in July 2016, the autocratic trend in Ankara took a turn for the worse. One year on, an overwhelming majority of the population considers the United States to be their country's greatest security threat. In the context of a worsening "clash of civilization," even more important than Turkey's geostrategic position is what it represents as the most institutionally westernized Muslim country in the World.
We would like to thank Norfolk  Commission on the Arts & Humanities  for a grant in support of this event as well as Norfolk Academy for their support.

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Great Decisions  2018
January 13 - March 3
10am - 12pm 

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1585 Wesleyan Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502

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