Great Decisions

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What is Great Decisions?

Great Decisions is a national program of the Foreign Policy Association (FPA). In North Carolina, the Office of International Programs at UNC Charlotte is the state coordinator. Great Decisions is the largest non-partisan citizen education effort of its kind and has provided quality information and tools for over fifty years.

Each year, the Foreign Policy Association publishes a Great Decisions Briefing Book. The book highlights eight of the year's most significant foreign policy issues. The book provides facts, charts, and nonpartisan analysis of the "great decisions" facing the U.S. public and policy makers. Maps, online services and other resources are available to complement programs. In addition, a DVD series and Teacher's Guide are available for purchase on the Foreign Policy Association's website.

What are the nine FPA topics for 2022?

  1. Changing Demographics
  2. Outer Space
  3. Climate Change
  4. Russia and the U.S.
  5. Myanmar and ASEAN
  6. The Quad Alliance
  7. Drug Policy in Latin America
  8. Industrial Policy
  9. Biden's Agenda

What is the Charlotte Lecture Series?

The Office of International Programs at UNC Charlotte coordinates a local community lecture series annually. The Charlotte Great Decisions Lecture Series consists of five weekly sessions and is an opportunity for citizens to meet, discuss and learn about some of the issues facing our world.  Each week a local expert from UNC Charlotte or nearby colleges and universities provides additional perspective on the topic of interest and answers questions regarding the information presented in the Briefing Book and through the lecture. A registration form is available below.

Date, Time, and Location

All lectures will be virtual due to the COVID-19 regulations from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. See below for information regarding registration for the virtual event. 

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022, “Drug Policy in Latin America," ​

  • Greg Weeks, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UNC Charlotte 
    (Co-sponsored by the Young Professionals@International House)

    U.S. drug policy in Latin America has not been very successful in stemming the flow of drugs into the United States. It has also generated resentment in Latin America, which sees the problem as one stemming mostly from U.S. demand. No matter what measures are used, supply rises to meet demand. There are no simple answers to this problem, and it's hard to be optimistic, but Latin American countries have pushed back in various ways. 

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2022, “Climate Change," 
    Mark Kelso, Ph.D., Professor, Political Science and Sociology Department, Queens University

    (Co-sponsored by the Young Professionals of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte)

    Climate change has been a political issue in the United States and around the world for decades.  Today, we are at an inflection point, which will determine whether significant action will be taken against this problem.  Political decisions, both in the US and globally, will determine our course.  In this presentation, the key factors that influence the politics of climate change will be identified and discussed, and possible solutions (to climate change, as well as its politics) will be evaluated.

  • Wednesday, February 9th, 2022, “Changing Demographics," 
    Michael Ewers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, UNC Charlotte

    (Co-sponsored by Charlotte Country Day School)

    By 2050, the UN expects approximately 68% of the world's population to live in urban areas. Much of this urban growth will occur in the Global South, where rural-to-urban migration and international migration embody some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, this session will explore how urbanization shapes and is shaped by international migration in the Middle East, with a focus on the role of conflict, climate change, and economic growth. Finally, we will discuss the implication of migration and urban development in the future of cities everywhere.

  • Wednesday, February 16, 2022, “Russia and the U.S.," 
    Steve Sabol, Ph.D., Professor, Department of History, UNC Charlotte

    (Co-sponsored by Charlotte Sister Cities)

    Relations between the United States and Russia are extraordinarily tense in 2022.  Potential threats by Russia to its neighbors, such as Ukraine and the Baltic republics, Syria and the Middle East, and elsewhere create a difficult geopolitical environment for Washington, NATO, and the EU.  President Putin, in power for more than twenty years, maintains a firm grip on Russia’s political and economic system and development, which many regard as totalitarian and dangerous.  This is not a new situation.  This lecture will examine the steadily declining relationships through a historical prism and attempt to explain Russia’s current strategies and posture, and why it seemingly continues to behave in a manner that alarms “the West.”

  • Wednesday, February 23, 2022, “Industrial Policy and the Military/Industrial Complex," 
    Mark Wilson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of History, UNC Charlotte

    (Co-sponsored by the International House)

    As we observe pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, along with the rising economic and military power of China, there is new interest in the subject of industrial policy. Our current discussions may be illuminated by a review of the long-run history of US industrial policy, over the last two centuries. As we undertake that review, it is rewarding to pay special attention to the history of the US defense sector. By thinking more deeply about the record of the military-industrial complex, as well as the broader long-run history of US industrial policy, we can have a better-informed discussion of policy options for the 2020s and beyond.

Cost Information

Lectures are free. Great Decisions Briefing Books will NOT be available onsite. If you are interested in purchasing a book, please do so online at the Foreign Policy Association's website.


Please submit the registration form for the Great Decisions Lecture Series. 

Evaluation and Feedback

The online evaluation form for the 2022 lectures will are now avaliable. 

For further questions or information, please send an email to