Press Release

Great Decisions 2016

January 18, 2016 – by Corinne Lyman

Free Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy Begins Jan. 29

DELAWARE, OHIO—The 2016 Great Decisions Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy will include three interconnected talks in the course of the eight sessions. The first will focus on the Middle East as a whole, with its often lethal intertwining of ethnicity, minorities, religion, and nationalism. Then on to the Kurdish ethnic group that has become well-known for fielding effective fighters against ISIS but whose main goal is to establish its own country, perhaps including parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Closing out the series, a former Foreign Service Officer will examine the rise of ISIS—the current foreign policy obsession of the United States.

Talks on two topics will be expressly linked to Delaware itself: an overview of Mexican migration to the United States will include a close look at central Ohio. And a panel from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware will examine “what’s next after Paris,” where the global conference on climate was recently convened.

The opening talk will be on “The Koreas” by political scientist Ji Young Choi, very appropriately from South Korea. A Delaware native son, Stephen Tull, will follow. Tull had previous United Nations assignments in Croatia, Rwanda, Geneva, Russia, and Kazakhstan, but has just moved on to become the U.N. Resident Program Coordinator and U.N. Development Resident Representative in the Republic of Chad.                                                                                                                 

All Great Decisions discussions will be held at noon in the Fellowship Hall of William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided. Learn more on the Great Decisions of Delaware Ohio Facebook page.


Distinguished speakers during the eight-session series are as follows:

January 29 – The Koreas

Ji Young Choi, Professor, Politics and Government Department, Ohio Wesleyan University

February 5 – The United Nations

Stephen Tull, U.N. Resident Program Coordinator, Republic of Chad

February 12 – The Middle East

Alam Payind, Director, Middle East Studies Center, The Ohio State University

February 19 – The Kurds

Melinda McClimans, Assistant Director, Middle East Studies Center, The Ohio State University

February 26 – Cuba and the United States

Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Otterbein University

March 4 – Mexican Migration to the United States

Robert Gitter, Joseph A. Meek Professor of Economics, Ohio Wesleyan University

March 11 – The Road to a Stable Climate: What's next After Paris?

Marianne Gabel, Leader, Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware, with CCL panel

March 18 – The Rise of ISIS

Michael Houlahan, Foreign Service Officer (retired), U.S. State Department

View the complete speaker biographies (PDF) for the Great Decisions 2016 series.

Audience Participation

Following each discussion, participants will have the option of completing a quick survey—prepared by the Foreign Policy Association—to add their opinions to thousands of others across the nation. The survey results will be made available to local media and sent to Washington, D.C., so that our voice as a community is heard by federal decision-makers.


Grateful thanks to the following local organizations for their generous and continuing support:   the American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, International Studies Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, William Street United Methodist Church, Willow Brook Christian Communities, Cruise One, and private donors.

About Great Decisions

The Great Decisions Discussion Program, a free community discussion series, is designed to encourage debate and discussion of the role of the United States in world affairs. The program provides materials that help people reach informed opinions on issues and encourages them to participate in the foreign-policy process. Developed by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) in 1954, the Great Decisions Discussion Program is the longest-standing and largest grassroots world affairs educational program of its kind. It is the core of FPA’s civic education outreach efforts, bringing millions of Americans together in communities across the country to discover, discuss, and decide their opinions on foreign policy issues.

About the Foreign Policy Association

The Foreign Policy Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world. Founded in 1918, FPA provides independent publications, programs, and forums to increase public awareness of, and foster popular participation in, matters relating to those policy issues.