2023 Great Decisions

2023 is the 12th anniversary of the Great Decisions program. The sessions will start on Tuesday January 31, 2023 and continue every Tuesday through March 28 2023. Each session will start promptly at 6pm and end at 7pm. The venue is The Colloquium Room in the Lenoir Rhyne University Rudisill Library. The library is located at 625 7th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601.

Link here for how to register with great decisions https://www.fpa.org/great_decisions/index.cfm?act=gd_group&group_id=1618540. The full schedule and a synopsis for each topic can be found below. You are requested to attend a minimum of 50% of the sessions.

The books will be at the front desk at the Patrick Beaver memorial library located at 375 3RD ST NE, Hickory, NC 28601 starting on January 16, 2023. The library hours are Monday – Thursday 9am – 8pm, Friday 9am – 5pm, and Saturday 11am – 5pm. The library is closed on Sundays. The cost is $15 per book, and you can pay for it at the library in cash or by check payable to the “Greater Hickory International Council”. The chapter videos will be uploaded to Dropbox and a link will be shared prior to every session. If you are attending a session, please watch the chapter’s 26-minute video prior to the meeting. There have been plenty of instances where the video and chapter contents do not perfectly match, so it is important to read the chapter and watch the video.

Following is an update (through January 26, 2023) for additional quick reading https://www.fpa.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Winter%20Update%202023%20(1).pdf

The topics for 2023 are:


  • Energy GeopoliticsJan 31 Energy Geopolitics.  Access to oil and gas has long held an influence over the politics of individual nations and their relations with others. But as more countries move toward sustainable energy, and supply chain shortages affect the availability of oil and gas, how will this change the way in which the United States interacts with the outside world? By Carolyn Kissane
  • War CrimesFeb 7 War Crimes  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with? By Francine Hirsch
  • China and the U.S.Feb 14 China and the U.S.  For the past ten years, the United States and China have been locked in a competition for who has the greatest global influence. One major point of contention is the status of Taiwanese sovereignty, which has become even more relevant recently with the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may prompt China to take similar action regarding Taiwan. How will the United States engage a China which is increasingly seeking to expand its sphere of influence? By David Lampton
  • Economic WarfareFeb 21 Economic Warfare.  Waging economic warfare consists of a variety of measures from implementing sanctions to fomenting labor strikes. Such tools are utilized by states to hinder their enemies, and in the case of the United States have been used as far back as the early nineteenth century. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, economic warfare has been the main means for the west to challenge Russia. How effective will these sanctions be at convincing Russia to cease its war? By Jonathan Chanis
  • Politics in Latin AmericaFeb 28 Politics in Latin America.  Electoral results in Latin America over the past four years have led many observers of the regional/political scene to discern a left-wing surge in the hemisphere, reminiscent of the so-called “Pink Tide” that swept the area some 20 years ago. But how much do these politicians actually have in common? What implication does their ascendency have for the region? By Jorge Castañeda
  • Global FamineMar 7 Global Famine.  Fears of global food shortages have followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted grain shipments from the major grain producer. But what about countries and regions that were suffering before this impending shortage? How is famine defined, and how is it different from simple food shortages? What if any remedies are there? By Daniel Maxwell
  • Iran at a CrossroadsMar 14 Iran at a Crossroads.  By the fall of 2022, Iran was in a state of turmoil due to widespread protests against government-enforced wearing of the hijab, a failing economy, an ineffective new president, and the looming succession of the country’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Abroad, renewal of the Iran nuclear deal seemed doubtful and tensions remain high between Iran, Israel, and Arab states. Many Iranians have lost hope of a better future, and the country seems at a crossroads. How should the United States deal with it? By Lawrence Potter
  • Climate MigrationMar 21 Climate Migration.  As climate change accelerates and drought and rising sea levels become more common, millions of people in affected regions must uproot themselves and seek safety elsewhere. Who are these affected individuals, and how might the United States aid them, and be affected by the migration? By Karen Jacobsen