Great Decisions 2024 Meeting Dates and Topics Announced

Barb Schaepe

Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program focused on world affairs. SaddleBrooke Great Decisions strives to serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues. The 2024 SaddleBrooke Great Decisions programs will be held on eight Mondays, Jan. 15 through April 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the East Ballroom of the MountainView clubhouse. Topics for January meetings are:

Jan. 15: NATO’s Future. Discussion leader: John Sohikian. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 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?

Jan. 29: Mideast Realignment. Discussion leader: Sandy McNabb. The United States and the Middle East are at a crossroads. Despite 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?

Future meeting dates, topics, and discussion leaders are as follows:

Feb. 19: Climate Technology & Competition. Discussion leader: Lockwood Carlson.

Feb. 26: U.S.-China Trade Rivalry/U.S. and China Investment Strategies. Discussion leader: Boyd Bosma.

March 4: Science Across Borders (Cooperation and Regulation). Discussion leader: Darlene Carlson.

March 11: Understanding Indonesia. Discussion leader: George Kramer.

April 1: Pandemic Preparation. Discussion leader: Art Triester.

April 8: High Seas Treaty. Discussion leader: Harry Sloan.

The Great Decisions 2024 Briefing Book with readings on these topics is available for purchase through Tucson Great Decisions at by clicking on the “Materials” tab. The cost is $29 plus $5 shipping.

Prior to meetings, members are encouraged to read the Briefing Book summary for that meeting’s topic. At meetings, members watch a documentary film, listen to a presentation followed by a brief question and answer period, and then split up into small groups to discuss issues related to each meeting’s topic. Finally, each group reports the most pertinent takeaways gleaned from its discussion.

The goal of the small group discussions is to deepen one’s awareness and understanding of the issues as they relate to and shape U.S. foreign policy objectives. Discussion participants are encouraged to listen carefully to others, think critically, speak their minds freely but not monopolize the discussion, engage in friendly disagreement while trying to understand others’ positions, maintain an open mind, and employ humor and a pleasant manner in making a point.

Membership in SaddleBrooke Great Decisions is $5 per person per year payable via check or cash at the first meeting. Further information about SaddleBrooke Great Decisions is available at Questions can be addressed to Sandy Epstein at [email protected] or phone Sherry Kaplan at 847-528-1968.