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Great Decisions Foreign Policy Lecture Series

The lecture series is presented each winter by YWCA Bethlehem. Local experts including professors, ambassadors and business leaders deliver thought-provoking lectures on timely issues selected by the Foreign Policy Association.

The FPA selects the most critical issues facing America each year and its experts write for the 100 page Great Decisions Briefing Book.  Eight topics will be presented in 2020, beginning Wednesday, February 5, 2020. The Great Decisions Briefing Book is included in your registration and will be mailed to series registrants in mid-January.

Missed our October 16th Preview Lecture “Climate Change: Lehigh Valley Strategies for Today & Tomorrow” – view the presentation by clicking the link below:  


Climate Change: Lehigh Valley Strategies for Today & Tomorrow” – presented on October 16, 2019


 Click here to register for the 2020 series


February 5, 2020—Climate Change and the Global Order    Dork Sahagian, Ph.D., Lehigh University                                                                    Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. As much of the world bands together to come up with a plan, the U.S. remains the notable holdout. What is the rest of the world doing to combat climate change? What impact will the effects of climate change have on global geopolitics?

February 12, 2020—U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle  –  Brian Mello, Ph.D., Muhlenberg College                                                      Combating illegal immigration has become a priority of the Trump administration. The Northern Triangle of Central America, made up of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is a special target of the administration, which hold the nations responsible for the large flow of migrants from Latin America to the U.S. With funds from the U.S. cut, how can the Northern Triangle countries curtail migration?

February 19, 2020—Artificial Intelligence and Data  –  Daniel Lopresti, Ph.D., Lehigh University                                                                      Policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). Global growth is slowing, and not surprisingly, many policymakers hope that AI will provide a magic solution. The EU, Brazil, and other Western countries have adopted regulations that grant users greater control over their data and require that firms using AI be transparent about how they use it. Will the U.S. follow suit?

February 26, 2020—Red Sea Security  –  David Shinn, Ambassador, Washington, DC                                                                                                              The Red Sea has remained vital for global trade since the time of ancient Egypt. Once home to the spice trade, the Red Sea now sees millions of barrels of oil a day transported across its waters. With major nations like China, France, Italy, and the U.S. building large ports and bases in the region, what does the future of the region look like? How important is Red Sea security for global security? Can the region be a place of global cooperation?

March 4, 2020—Human Trafficking  –  Nani Cuadrado, VAST (Valley Against Sex Trafficking) Board Member                                                         Almost every nation has enacted laws criminalizing human trafficking, and international organizations, governments, and NGOs sponsor a large variety of projects to curb trafficking and slavery. Billions of dollars have been allocated to these efforts. What is the international community doing to combat slavery and trafficking? What are the experiences like for those being trafficked?

March 11, 2020—China’s Road into Latin America  –  Brandon Van Dyke, Ph.D., Lafayette College                                                                                      As the Trump administration continues to withdraw from the world stage, China is looking to fill the void. How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan? How will the relationship with China affect the region? Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence”?

March 18, 2020—The Philippines and the U.S.  –  Boyce Jubillan, Ph.D., De Sales University                                                                                              The Philippines has had a special relationship with the United States since the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States after the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century.  However, since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the country has pivoted more toward China, and away from the U.S. Duterte has also launched a large-scale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S. relations with the Philippines?

March 25, 2020—India and Pakistan  –  Sundar JM Brown, Private Intelligence Contractor                                                                                            India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode a wave of Hindu nationalism to a historic reelection in 2019. His first order of business was to revoke the special status granted to the Kashmir region, inflaming the rivalry between India and Pakistan. How will the Kashmir situation affect the region, both economically and politically?