Great Decisions


Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs.

The Foreign Policy Association, Great Decisions Program explores policy options for the eight (8) most critical issues facing America each year, these issues serve as the focal text for discussion groups across the country.


The Savannah Council on World Affairs is pleased to sponsor Great Decisions under the voluntary leadership of SCWA Board Member, Mohamed H. Mukhtar, Ph.D.

The traditional Great Decisions program model provides background information and involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the DVD and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today.

Great Decisions master classes are currently live-only events, recordings are not available at this time.
Course materials:

Great Decisions Briefing Book

2021 Great Decision Topics

The 2021 Great Decision 8 topics will each have a corresponding episode of GDTV that will broadcast on PBS and be available on DVD or streaming with Vimeo.

Topic 1:  Global supply chains and national security: by Jonathan Chanis 

The shutdown of global supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore an issue with the high level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the main source for an item, say face masks, and then can no longer supply the item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How would this affect national security?

Topic 2:   Persian Gulf security issues: by Lawrence G. Potter

The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?

Topic 3:  Brexit and the European Union: by Harris LaTeef 

With the “Brexit transition period” coming to an end this year, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union at the start of 2021. With negotiations between the two entities continuing to stall, what does the future of Europe and the UK look like? Will the UK survive a possible Scottish vote to leave? Who will step up and take command of Europe now that Angela Merkel is out of the spotlight? 

Topic 4:  Struggles over the melting Arctic: by Stephanie Pezard 

U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. While any potential deal seems highly unlikely, the event shows the changing opinion within the U.S. government toward engagement with the Arctic region. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, can the U.S. catch up?

Topic 5:  China’s role in Africa : by Cobus van Staden 

The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on what was growing a positive economic and political relationship between China and the continent of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African government’s growing debt to China, has seen pushback. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and Africa?

Topic 6:  The Korean Peninsula: by Scott Snyder

The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Attempts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump to repair the rift between North and South have lost any momentum as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program. As the rift between the U.S. and China grows further, South Korea may end up in the middle of the two superpowers. What does the future hold for the U.S. relationship with the ROK?

Topic 7:  Roles of international organizations in a global pandemic: by Mara Pillinger 

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some of the Trump administration’s criticism of the organization is unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises?

Topic 8:  The end of globalization?: by Anne O. Krueger 

As the United States enters another election season, the merits and drawbacks of globalization are again being debated by the presidential candidates. With the passing of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s America First doctrine, protectionist policies have become more prevalent, challenging globalization. What is globalization and how will it be affected by protectionist trade policies? How will the United States and the world be affected by such policies? Is globalization really at an end, or in need of a refresh? 

newGD21Cover (1)The Great Decisions 2021 Digital Edition is available from the following eBook retailers! 

Amazon (Kindle)

Vivlio (EU)


Apple Books 

Barnes and Noble (Nook) 

Rakuten kobo

Also available to libraries via Overdrive, bibliotheca and Baker and Taylor services. 


Foreign Policy Association STREAMS 2020 Great Decisions Videos

In a democracy, it takes an informed public to inform policy. During this time of public health crisis, the Foreign Policy Association has decided to release the 2020 Great Decisions series to the public via YouTube.
Watch and share the Great Decisions videos and learn more through the 2020 Great Decision Topic Links below to inspire debate, discussion, and decision.