Great Decisions Group

Great Decisions 2023-2024

AAUW’s Great Decisions is a discussion group that uses the topics in the briefing book published annually by the Foreign Policy Association.  In addition, a video on the day’s subject is advertised to members in advance. Meeting eight times per year by Zoom, the group’s discussion is led by a member. Meetings are open to all whether or not they have read the article of watched the video. We are scheduled for the third Saturday of the month, at noon.  At this time, the 2023 topics are scheduled as follows:


November 18 – Climate Migration                              Leader: Sue Nagubadi

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?


February 15 – Mideast Realignment                           Leaders:  MaryAnn Thompson and Lida Williams

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?                                                       

March 21 – Climate Technology and Competition     Leader:  Liz Maynard

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?

April 18 – Science Across Borders                              Leader:  Sue Nagubadi

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?

May 16 – China Trade Rivalry                                       Leaders: Martha Hoeppner and Elly Lovett

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?

August 15 – NATO’s Future                                            Leader:  Kathy Evans

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?

September 19 – Understanding Indonesia                   Leader: Anu Garlapati

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?

October 17 – High Seas Treaty                                      Leader:  Diane Woolever

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?

November 21 – Pandemic Preparedness                      Leaders:  Renee Caprile and Clare Pokorny

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?