Great Decisions 2020

Great Decisions 2020 Speakers and Topics

February 11
Kashmir: Flashpoint between India and PakistanRaza Ahmad Rumi, Director, Department of Journalism, Ithaca College
Raza Ahmad Rumi, director, department of journalism, Ithaca College

 How do we de-escalate conflict between these two nuclear powers?

India and Pakistan have a long history of conflict. How has escalation within the Kashmir region changed the stakes for the U.S. and the world?

Drawing on his deep background as a journalist and policy analyst, Raza Ahmad Rumi will contextualize the factors that play into India and Pakistan’s actions and the U.S. response to these countries. After a failed assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2014 which killed his driver, Rumi resides in the United States and currently serves as the director of the department of journalism at Ithaca College.

February 18
Mirror to the World: The Philippines under DuterteJulie McCarthy, International Correspondent, Manila Burear, NPR
Julie McCarthy, international correspondent, Manila Bureau, NPR

What does Duterte’s rise signal to the rest of the world?

Since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines has distanced itself from its longtime alliance with the U.S. and pivoted toward China. Equally troubling has been Duterte’s largescale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S. relations with the Philippines?

With a career spanning 25 years as a foreign correspondent, Julie McCarthy offers an on-the-ground assessment of the changes taking place in the Philippines. A highly decorated journalist, she’s covered Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, winning multiple awards, including several Peabodys for her coverage of the world.

February 25
Regional Security in the Red SeaSteve Dalzell, Senior Defense Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
Steve Dalzell, senior defense policy researcher, RAND Corporation

Vital to global trade since the time of ancient Egypt, how do we ensure security in the Red Sea?

Protecting the Red Sea is vitally important to all trading nations who export and import through the region, but conflict in Yemen as well as piracy and terrorism on the Arabian Peninsula and African continent threaten that security.

A retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, Steve Dalzell now serves as a senior defense policy researcher at RAND. Specializing in U.S. foreign policy, peace and conflict resolution, African security, and veteran issues, Dr. Dalzell will outline the threats that affect this region of the world, and how global cooperation can be possible.

March 3
“Green Peacebuilding”: Justice in the Face of Climate ChangeMarisa O. Ensor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Marisa O. Ensor, Justice and Peace Studies Program & Institute for the Study of International Migration, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

What can young activists teach us about peace and climate change?

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. Dr. Ensor will profile the people, especially youth, on the front lines of climate change, working to transform their communities to be more resilient and just, event as environmental degradation creates opportunity for conflict.

With a deep background in forced displacement, environmental peacebuilding, humanitarian intervention, and post-conflict justice, Ensor maps the relationship between climate change, conflict and fragile states and the lessons we can learn from those fighting for human rights and peace within their communities.

March 10
Human Trafficking: Global and Local PerspectivesHBc4YNsA
Panel moderated by Rachel VerWys, co-creator, Solutions to End Exploitation (SEE)

Human trafficking is a global phenomenon—what’s happening in our own backyard?

Moderated by Rachel VerWys, the co-creator of a local non-profit working to combat human trafficking in West Michigan, this panel will discuss the issue from multiple perspectives, including law enforcement and survivor advocacy. While there are no easy answers to solving this problem, the panel will discuss how our community can respond to the issue with empathy and practicality.

The Future is Now: Artificial Intelligence and National SecurityLindsey Sheppard, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
Lindsey Sheppard, fellow, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

Dispelling the myths – can Artificial Intelligence live up to our expectations?

Policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). There is virtually no industry that doesn’t hold some promise of advancement through AI. But what are the realities of AI?

Lindsey Sheppard will focus on emerging technologies and security applications in her research at CSIS. In her presentation, she’ll discuss how the United States is developing artificial intelligence to shape our national security. What implications will this technology have for the American public?

China’s Road into Latin AmericaMargaret Myers, Director, Asia & Latin America, Inter-American Dialogue
Margaret Myers, director, Asia & Latin America, Inter-American Dialogue

Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence”?

Current U.S. policy suggests a withdrawal from the world stage—China is looking to fill the void. How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan?

An expert in China’s growing influence in Latin America, Margaret Myers will offer perspective on the new dynamics emerging.

Central American Immigration and U.S. Foreign PolicySonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey
Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer-winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey

Is there a humane solution to immigration at the Southern border?

Stopping migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America has become a priority of the Trump administration, yet the country is divided on the appropriate response to immigration.

Sonia Nazario is a Pulitzer -winning journalist best known for Enrique’s Journey, her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Recently, her dispatches from Honduras have been harrowing and compelling. Nazario will discuss how immigration policy affects the lived experience of migrants. What works and what doesn’t to stem the flow of migration in the context of what’s happening in the Northern Triangle and U.S. foreign policy?