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Great Decisions 2007 citizens' forum to be held at Wake Forest University

March 7, 2007

The Center for International Studies at Wake Forest University will host Winston-Salem’s Great Decisions 2007, a six-week citizens’ forum dealing with current foreign policy issues, from March 22 through April 26.  Each forum will be held at 7 p.m. in Wake Forest’s Scales Fine Arts Center, Room A102.

The lecture series, which features a different discussion topic led by a Wake Forest expert each week, is free and open to the public.

The first lecture will be held March 22.  The topic will be “Climate Change and Global Warming” and will be led by Robert Browne, professor of biology and director of Wake Forest’s Environmental Studies Program.  Browne’s discussion will focus on how human practices have contributed to changes to the environment and what responses the international community should consider to lessen the impact of dramatic climate change.

On March 29, Thomas Brister, visiting assistant professor of political science, will lead a discussion on “Central Asia:  Three Power Resource Rivalry.”  Rich in energy supplies and strategically located, the five countries of Central Asia attract attention from the Middle East, China, Russia and the United States.  Brister will discuss U.S. interests in the region and how international competition for energy supplies affects each country.

"Mexico:  Neighbor in Turmoil” is the topic for the April 5 lecture.  Luis Roniger, Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies in the political science department, will lead a discussion of the recent presidential elections in Mexico and how the close vote will impact the new Mexican administration’s policies.  He will address the question of whether Felipe Calderon can successfully reform Mexico’s policies on energy, trade and border security and strengthen relations with the United States.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Michaelle Browers will introduce the fourth Great Decisions Series topic, “The U.S. in the Middle East,” April 12.  Although the U.S. will remain closely engaged in Iraq during the next year, other factors have emerged to challenge stability in the region.  Iran’s nuclear program, the outcome of the conflict in Lebanon and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will all play a key role.  Browers will offer analysis of how these issues will shape the Middle East.

The fifth lecture, scheduled for April 19, will feature George Walker, professor of law, who will discuss “War Crimes.”  In the forum, Walker will discuss how the creation of the International Criminal Court has established a new venue for investigating and prosecuting war crimes, despite a lack of U.S. participation.  He will address whether the non-participation of the United States weakens the power of the ICC, and the challenges faced by the ICC in punishing war criminals.

The final lecture of the Great Decisions Series, “International Migration in a Globalizing Economy,” will be presented by Sarah Lischer, assistant professor of political science, on April 26.  The movement of people across international borders can be initiated by conflict, economic reasons or the chance to achieve political freedoms. 

Migration issues have taken center-stage in the U.S. and the European Union, as citizens increasingly worry about job security and terrorism.  Lischer will discuss the advantages and disadvantages for countries affected by migration.

The Great Decisions Series is a national foreign policy education program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association.  Founded in 1918, the FPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental educational organization that strives to educate Americans about the significant international issues that influence their lives.

For more information about the Great Decisions Series, contact Yomi Durotoye, the series coordinator, at (336) 758-1910 or visit

Press Contacts:

Jacob McConnico
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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