Great Decisions Discussions Start on January 16
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News from Great Decisions Discussions in Tyler



Great Decisions Discussions Start on January 16


Great Decisions, a popular foreign policy discussion series, begins January 16. Each of the eight programs meets on Wednesday at noon from January 16 through March 6 in the Taylor Auditorium of the Tyler Public Library. These discussions take participants beyond the headlines as experts provide in-depth insights into eight of the most significant and far-reaching challenges facing the United States and the world today. 


A project of the national Foreign Policy Association (FPA), Great Decisions was launched in 1954 to broaden public understanding of and participation in global affairs.  It is one of the longest-running and largest non-partisan grassroots educational programs on foreign policy in the United States.  In Tyler, Great Decisions is sponsored by the Tyler Branch of AAUW, the League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County, and the Tyler Public Library.


The sponsors invite everyone to join these discussions. Participants do not have to be knowledgeable about foreign policy to enjoy the dialogues. Everyone who wants to learn more about international issues will enjoy these free meetings. 


The 2013 schedule of topics and speakers includes the following:


•       January 16 - NATO - Dr. Madeleine Ross, Tyler Junior College - How has NATO’s agenda evolved since its inception during the cold war? With its military commitment in Afghanistan winding down and a recent successful campaign in Libya, what are the Alliance’s present-day security challenges?

•       January 23 - Intervention - Dr. Stephen Stine, Tyler Junior College - The “responsibility to protect” doctrine has become central to modern humanitarian intervention. When should the international community intervene? Why did the West rush to intervene in Libya but not Syria?      

•       January 30 - Iran - Jamal Moharer - Suspicion and a troubled history have blighted U.S.-Iranian relations for three decades. How can the United States and Iran move forward? Is the existence of Iran’s nuclear program an insurmountable obstacle?

•       February 6 - Egypt - Mohammad Elibiary - The popular revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 ushered in the promise of radical change. Two years later, what is the state of Egyptian democracy? How will the military and the civilian government balance power?

•       February 13 - Threat assessment - General Furlow - U.S. Army - How can the United States address the challenges of a weak economy, homegrown terrorism and nuclear proliferation? What threats and opportunities are presented by the ascendancy of China and by regime change in the Middle East

•       February 20 - Myanmar and Southeast Asia - Dr. Robert Sterken - UT Tyler -

The West has welcomed unprecedented democratic reforms made by Myanmar’s government. What challenges must Myanmar overcome before it can fully join the international community? What role can it play in Southeast Asia?

•       February 27 - Future of the Euro - Dr. Marcus Stadelmann, UT Tyler - How did the 2008 global recession contribute to the development of the euro crisis? The health of the euro affects and is affected by the state of the global economy. How can European Union leaders prevent the collapse of the common currency?

•       March 6  - China in Africa - Dr. Amentahru Wahlrab, UT Tyler, Professor of Political Science, UT Tyler -  China in Africa - What interests govern China’s engagement in Africa? Should China’s growing emphasis on political ties and natural resource extraction inform U.S. relations with African nations?


A local Steering Committee selects the experts to lead each discussion.


To enrich the local discussions, FPA publishes a Great Decisions Briefing Book to provide essential information on current U.S. policy and explanations of alternative policy options. Each chapter also includes relevant discussion questions. The Great Decisions Briefing Books will be on sale in the Tyler Public Library in early January 2013 for $20.00. Books will also be available for check-out and for in-library use at the Reference desk in the Library.


FPA asks all participants to submit opinion ballots for each topic. The ballots are included in each briefing book and can also be found on the FPA website -  An FPA polling expert will analyze all of the ballots reported from groups across the county and write the National Opinion Ballot Report for the Association to send to the President of the United States and the

U. S. Congress at the end of the discussion season.


For more information about Great Decisions in Tyler, contact the Tyler Public Library at (903) 593-7323 or email


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