Plan for great global discussions


PRESCRIPTION FOR LATIN AMERICA — Jason Beaubien will be the speaker for first talk in the Great Decisions Discussion Series. (WUNC)

The Great Decisions Global Discussion Series highlights the most critical global topics facing Americans for the year as chosen by the Foreign Policy Association in New York City. The council brings experts to West Michigan to discuss the topics, with presentations at Hope College in the afternoon.

The series will feature eight events, leading off with Jason Beaubien, a Global Health and Development Correspondent for NPR spent four years in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. He’s driven the length of the U.S./Mexico border from the Pacific to the Gulf, chronicaling along the way the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier. He filed stories on Mexico’s Brutal drug war, politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, elections in El Salvador and Carlos Slim and on of the world’s richest men.

Now in his role as Global Health and Development Correspondent, Beaubien reports on health issues acorss the world. He’s part of a team at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. Join Mr. Beaubien as he diagnoses global health issues, including those in Latin America.

This semester, Hope College is pleased to be hosting the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan’s Great Decisions Global Discussion Series. This series features outstanding speakers on international topics of great importance. The campus community is welcomed. Mark your calenders for additional lectures in the series. Starting Feb. 1, all events will be held Mondays at 1 p.m. in Graves Hall, Winants Auditorium.

Upcoming events include: “New Rules of the Game: The World’s Water, Food, and Energy Choke Points” on Feb. 13 with Kieth Schnieder from Circle of Blue, and Jennifer Turner from the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. will lead an engaging conversation about how access to fresh water has emerged as a signal threat to stability and a pivot point for human opportunity.
“Nuclear Insecurity: Next Steps?” will be on Feb. 20 with Jack Segal.

With thousands of nuclear warheads deployed and in storage around the world, it seems inevitable that nuclear bombs may fall into the wrong hands. Yet in the 75 years of the nuclear era, this hasn’t happened. Why? Join Jack Segal, the former National Security Council director for nonproliferation, as he leads a discussion on the future of nuclear security.

“South China Sea: Clash of Strategies” will be on Feb. 27 with John Adams, retired Brigadier General for the United States Army. He shares his expertise and take on current U.S.-China relations. He will also analyze Chinese actions in the South China Sea and elsewhere, exploring how they can be a roadmap for the United States response to this growing world power.

“Afghanistan: to Fight or Run” on March 13 with Ronald Neumann, former U.S Ambassador to Afghanistan. He joins us to explain the complexity of Afghanistan and our country’s role there. In his tenure as ambassador, he met with senior leaders, journalists, soldiers and business insiders, and possesses a depth of experience that can lead to a better understanding of this delicate situation.

“Is it all Politics? Trade and U.S. Jobs” will be on March 20. One needs to look no further than the past presidential election to understand the popular narrative: trade means that China wins at America’s expense. But do the numbers support that conclusion? Jeremy Haft, Georgetown University professor and CEO of SafeSource Trading, assesses the rhetoric and the reality of global trade and U.S. jobs.

“The EU: An Uncertain Future” on March 27 with Dr. John McCormick, Purdue University Professor of European Union Politics.

“Shigts in the Sand: U.S. – Saudi Relations” will be on April 3, with Simon Henderson, Washington institute for Near East Policy. He will explore the future of the European Union as it faces Brexit, the Eurozone crisis and Syrian migration. McCormick will share his analysis in the context of rising populism around the world as well as growing criticism of immigration and globalization.

Students are welcomed to join a visiting speaker for lunch. Please contact johnston@hope.edu with any questions. Lunches will precede the presentation, 11:45 a.m. to 12:40 p.m in the President’s Room in Graves Hall.

Faculty requiring student attendance at the Great Decisions presentations have requested a recording of the presentations for those unable to attend. These recordings will be made available on Hope YouTube by noon each Tuesday following the Monday presentation.

There is an excellent Great Decisions 2017 Teacher’s Guide, including key terms, two class lessons and handouts for each topic. This is available on reserve in VanWylen Library.

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