Great Decisions meetings

Ellen Citron

The SaddleBrooke Great Decisions program began on Monday, January 12 at 3:00 p.m. and will meet every other Monday through May 4. All meetings will be in the ballroom at MountainView Clubhouse. The topics for the 2015 meetings are as follows:

1. Russia and the Near Abroad

If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Europeanization in Ukraine, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?

2. Privacy in the Digital Age

Legislation, both at home and abroad, hasn’t kept pace with technological developments. Does this mean that privacy as we know it is long dead?

3. Sectarianism in the Middle East

Many of the current conflicts in the Middle East have been attributed to sectarianism, a politicization of ethnic and religious identity. But are the roots permeating the conflict political and not religious? How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East?

4. India Changes Course

Fed up with corruption, dynastic policies and ineffective public services, Indian voters elected Narenda Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the 2014 elections. What is the best way for the U.S. to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage?

5. U.S. Policy Toward Africa

Africa is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation. The continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world and it’s become a draw for foreign investors from across the globe. The U.S. has promised to promote “strong institutions, not strong men” and to favor good governance and healthy economies over profit. How can its policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region?

6. Syria’s Refuge Crisis

Thanks to a multiyear civil war, Syria is on track to become the source of the world’s largest refugee population. The risk of allowing Syrians to become dependent on emergency aid and the safety of displaced Syrians rests with the whole international community. What’s to be done?

7. Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries and while undeniably a global phenomenon, the U.S. is one of the world’s leading human trafficking importers. Does it bear a special responsibility to combat this practice as well as to find the root causes enabling traffickers to exploit millions of victims?

8. Brazil’s Metamorphosis

After economic troubles in the 1990s Brazil has risen to new global prominence. Are some of its trickiest problems — deep divisions over how to tackle serious income inequality, weak civic institutions and poor regional leadership — holding it back?

Further information can be found on the FPA website The Southern Arizona regional Great Decisions group also provides links on its website Books with the readings can be purchased at the introductory meeting for $20. While not mandatory, we encourage all participants to do the readings.

If you have any questions or need any further information about Great Decisions, please contact Mel Durchslag ([email protected]), chair of the Executive Committee.