Great Decisions

Great Decisions has completed the 8 discussion topics for 2019 but will be re-starting our regular meetings in late January 2020.  Thanks to the organizing skills of Terry Nirider, we are continuing to meet monthly—we just couldn’t solve ALL the issues in 8 weeks.  Special thanks to our hostess at The Overture, who graciously made space for us each week.  Stop by and visit to thank them.

Great Decisions – gives you a voice in world affairs.  Our Fort Bend 2020 series started February 4—See topics below.   We have some extra copies of the discussion book for anyone interested in joining in as we go along.  We meet Tuesday mornings, 10 AM.

 The 2020 Briefing Book or DVD is available from Foreign Policy Assoc. Bookstore

or to buy at Brazos Bookstore in Houston

Join the Foreign Policy Process

Local Great Decisions groups meet to share ideas and opinions.  All program participants are invited to register their views on the Great Decisions opinion ballot, which is presented to U.S. leaders and major media.  Ballots are still available at the 2019 links below.

2020 Topics:

Climate Change and the Global Order by Ronald Bee

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. As much of the world bands together to come up with a plan, the U.S. remains the notable holdout. What is the rest of the world doing to combat climate change? What impact will the effects of climate change have on global geopolitics

India and Pakistan by Barbara Crossette

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode a wave of Hindu nationalism to a historic reelection in 2019. His first order of business was to revoke the special status granted to the Kashmir region, inflaming the rivalry between India and Pakistan. How will the Kashmir situation affect the region, both economically and politically?

Red Sea Security by David Shinn

The Red Sea has remained vital for global trade since the time of ancient Egypt. Once home to the spice trade, the Red Sea now sees millions of barrels of oil a day transported across its waters. With major nations like China, France, Italy, and the U.S. building large ports and bases in the region, what does the future of the region look like? How important is Red Sea security for global security? Can the region be a place of global cooperation?

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking by Ronald Weitzer

Almost every nation has enacted laws criminalizing human trafficking, and international organizations, governments, and NGOs sponsor a large variety of projects to curb trafficking and slavery. Billions of dollars have been allocated to these efforts. What is the international community doing to combat slavery and trafficking? What are the experiences like for those being trafficked?

U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle by Michael Shifter and Bruno Binetti 

Combatting illegal immigration has become a priority of the Trump administration. The Northern Triangle of Central America, made up of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is a special target of the administration, which hold the nations responsible for the large flow of migrants from Latin America to the U.S. With funds from the U.S. cut, how can the Northern Triangle countries curtail migration?

China’s Road into Latin America by Margaret Myers 

As the Trump administration continues to withdraw from the world stage, China is looking to fill the void. How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan? How will the relationship with China affect the region? Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence?”

The Philippines and the U.S. by Julio Amador and Deryk Matthew N. Baladjay 

The Philippines has had a special relationship with the United States since the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States after the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century.  However, since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the country has pivoted more toward China, and away from the U.S. Duterte has also launched a large-scale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S, relations with the Philippines?

Artificial Intelligence and Data by Susan Ariel Aaronson

Policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). Global growth is slowing, and not surprisingly, many policymakers hope that AI will provide a magic solution. The EU, Brazil, and other Western countries have adopted regulations that grant users greater control over their data and require that firms using AI be transparent about how they use it. Will the U.S. follow suit?

2019 Topics:  (see article authors and briefs)

    • Refugees and Global Migration
    • The Middle East: Regional Disorder
    • Nuclear negotiations: Back to the Future?
    • The Rise of Populism in Europe
    • Decoding U.S.-China Trade
    • Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics
    • The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested
    • State of the State Department and Diplomacy

See you in January 2020!

Many thanks to Enid Tovy who organized this interesting group for 30+ years, now facilitated by Bill Johnson and Terri Nirider.  No expertise, only interest (and preparation), is required.  For more information contact:  Bill Johnson.

Early each spring, AAUW offers Great Decisions to:

  • Explore the Issues
    The Great Decisions program highlights each of today’s most significant, far-reaching foreign policy issues. In compelling presentations, Great Decisions provides facts and nonpartisan analysis of the “great decisions” facing the U.S. public and policymakers.
  • Learn about Foreign Policy
    The Great Decisions program is a unique learning experience. You will acquire skills to assess global developments and policymakers’ decisions. You will help build the American democracy’s strong citizen base.

2018 Topics:  (see article authors and briefs)Great Decisions 2018 cover

2017 Topics:



Great Decisions 2016 topics:

Great Decisions 2016 cover

Great Decisions 2016 cover

  • Middle East
  • The Rise of ISIS
  • The Future of Kurdistan
  • Migration
  • The Koreas
  • The United Nations
  • Climate Change
  • Cuba and the U.S.


Great Decisions 2015 topics:GreatDecisions2015book


Great Decisions 2014 topics:GreatDecisions2014