Great Decisions Meets Twice in January

Sandy Epstein

After meeting via Zoom in 2021, SaddleBrooke Great Decisions is happy to announce in-person meetings again this year. The 2022 SaddleBrooke Great Decisions program will convene its first meeting on Monday, Jan. 17. The second meeting of the year will be on Jan. 24. Meetings are held twice a month, January through April or May, and begin at 3 p.m. All meetings will be in the East Ballroom at the MountainView Clubhouse.

The topic for the Jan. 17 meeting is changing demographics. The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political, and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, climate, and the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations. The discussion will be introduced by Mel Durschlag, and a video created by the Foreign Policy Association will be shown before the discussion begins.

On Jan. 24, Sandy McNabb will start our discussion with her thoughts on the topic of Biden’s agenda. The new administration in Washington promised to reverse many of the policies of the past administration, especially in foreign policy. How will issues such as climate, the pandemic, and alliances be treated under the Biden administration?

Other topics and their presenter for this year are as follows:

• Outer Space: Lockwood Carlson

• Climate Change: Rhoda Kaplan

• Russia: George Kramer

• Myanmar and ASEAN: Mark Schwartz

• The Quad Alliance: Boyd Bosma

• Industrial Policy: John Somers

• Drug Policy in Latin America: Mary Jo Swartzberg

The third topic of the year, industrial policy, is slated for Feb. 7. Although meeting dates for specific topics have not been finalized, please mark your calendars for these Great Decision meetings dates: Feb. 7 and 28, March 7 and 21, and April 4 and 18. The last meeting has not yet been scheduled.

After greeting all of our new and returning members on Jan. 17, there will be a very short meeting to vote on our new board and hear a budget report. Before the meeting, there will be an opportunity to join or rejoin with a dues payment. Membership entitles you to all Great Decisions announcements via email and discounted cost for the Briefing Book, if ordered through the SaddleBrooke chapter.

The Great Decisions Briefing Book, with readings on 2022 topics, can be purchased. Members will be notified before the first meeting about how to get a book. Individuals can also order them directly from the Foreign Policy Association or purchase an eBook online from Amazon. While not mandatory, we encourage all participants to do the readings.

We need volunteers to lead each discussion group. Discussion leaders will be provided with a brief guideline as to how to lead the discussions. If you are willing to be a discussion leader at one or more meetings, please inform Bob Hoff at [email protected] and indicate the dates that you are available. He will get back to you to confirm and answer any questions you may have.

You may ask, does Great Decisions have an impact on U.S. foreign policy? Yes, each year, some Great Decisions’ Discussion Program participants are polled about their views on the eight topics discussed. The results are compiled in the National Opinion Ballot Report and distributed to the White House, members of Congress, the departments of State and Defense, the national media, and participants in the Great Decisions Discussion Program. The report is a valuable way of sharing the informed opinions of citizens with the people who shape U.S. foreign policy.

If you have any questions, or need further information about SaddleBrooke Great Decisions, contact Sandy Epstein at [email protected], call Sherry Kaplan at 847-528-1968, or go to our website,

Visit us at table 41 during the Activities Fair on Jan. 22 to learn how to become even more informed about U.S. foreign policy and global issues.