Photo of Great Decisions at the Library!

Great Decisions at the Library is an ever-popular program about foreign policy! It is sponsored by the Bainbridge Public Library with funding support from the Bainbridge Island Friends of the Library and a generous donation in memory of Louise Brody Weissman.

Great Decisions at the Library
Saturdays, January 25 to March 7, 2020
9:30 - 11 a.m.
Bethany Lutheran Church
7969 Finch Road NE, Bainbridge Island
Free - Donations appreciated!

January 25: The Philippines and the U.S.
Moderator: Vincent Rafael, Professor of History, Jackson School of Int'l Studies

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?

February 1: Red Sea Security
Moderator: David Fenner, Jackson School of International Studies

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?

February 8: Climate Change and the Global Order
Moderator: Derik Broekhoff, Senior Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute

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 15: Human Trafficking
Moderator: Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman, WA Anti-Trafficking Response Network, Int'l Rescue Committee

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?

February 22: U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle
Moderator: Seattle International Foundation - Central America

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 29: China's Road into Latin America
Moderator: Jonathan Warren, Professor, Jackson School of International Studies

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 7: India and Pakistan
Moderator: Sunila S. Kale, Associate Professor, Jackson School of Int'l Studies

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?


A limited number of copies of the 2020 Briefing Book ($20 each, cash or check only), can be reserved for pickup after the first of the year. The Briefing Book can also be purchased through the Foreign Policy Association, and a copy will be available for reading in the library. Email to be added to the mailing list for suggested background readings on the topics and other information about Great Decisions at the Library.

Now in its fifteenth year, Great Decisions at the Library is part of a nation-wide, non-partisan program of the Foreign Policy Association intended to broaden public involvement in foreign affairs. While enjoying coffee and pastries, Great Decisions at the Library participants first view a 30-minute Foreign Policy Association DVD on the topic under consideration and then engage in a discussion lead by an informed moderator.

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About the Author

The Bainbridge Public Library is a welcoming community center with activities, programs, and resources for all ages on Bainbridge Island. They produce programs such as Field's End Writers Roundtables and Speakers Forums. The Bainbridge Public Library is a branch of the Kitsap Regional Library.

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