2024 Great Decisions

2024 is the 14th anniversary of the Great Decisions program. The sessions will start on Tuesday January 30, 2024 and continue every Tuesday through March 19, 2024. Each session will start promptly at 6pm and end at 7pm. The venue is The Hickory Room in the Lenoir Rhyne University Student Center.

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 15, 2024. 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 25-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.


Mideast Realignment
By Marc Lynch

The United States and Middle East are at a crossroads. In spite of a reduced presence in the Middle East, the U.S. still has significant national interests there and the area is a key arena for global power politics. Can the U.S. continue to defend its interests in the Middle East and globally with a lower level of military and political involvement, or should it recommit to a leading role in the region?

Climate technology and competition

By Bud Ward


Will the United States and China, with other powerful countries following suit, approach current and future climate initiatives with an increased commitment to trade protectionism and nationalism, by various measures including trade restrictions? Or could a growing spirit of international accord develop to confront the “common enemy” of climate change?

Science across borders

By Mila Rosenthal

Scientific advances benefit from collaboration between researchers, but what happens when material, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is controversial and important to a nation’s national security? Is there a middle ground between sharing information and denying access? How can we regulate cooperation?

U.S. – China trade rivalry

By Jonathan Chanis

China’s economic rise and its current policies of increasing the role of the state in the economy have led some U.S. policymakers to seek to deny China access to U.S. technology and investment. This is seen as a necessary corrective to decades of predatory Chinese economic policies. Is this a wise strategy, and how

effective can it be?

NATO’s future

By Sarwar Kashmeri

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has come under increased scrutiny, not because NATO troops are involved in the conflict, but because of its role in relations between Russia and its neighbors. Will expanding membership in NATO protect countries, or will it further provoke Russia?

Understanding Indonesia

By Charles Sullivan

Despite its large size, Indonesia remains virtually invisible to most Americans. But as one of the world’s largest democracies, the world’s largest Muslim-majority

nation, and as an economic driver of ASEAN, why does it fly below the radar? What are current issues in U.S.-Indonesian relations, and what role can the country play in Asia?

High Seas Treaty

By FPA editors

Areas of the seas beyond national jurisdiction comprise the high seas, which are facing a degradation of ecosystems due to climate change and the increase in human activities, such as shipping, overfishing, pollution, and deep-sea mining. The recently negotiated High Seas Treaty, also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, will attempt to address these issues. How difficult will it be to convince nations to participate?

Pandemic preparedness

By Carolyn Reynolds

Looking back at the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many lessons to take away in terms of domestic and international policies. Although this pandemic seems to have waned, how can we apply these lessons to future pandemics? Will countries cooperate, and will a consensus emerge on how to manage global health challenges?