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From Jonathan Weiler, instructor of INTS 393:

Great Decisions is an amazing program: it is premised on a student centered, student led model of teaching and learning, while at the same time providing a vital space for debate and discussion on some of today’s key issues to a wider public. Being able to sit week after week to listen to a variety of speakers talking about issues that the students themselves identified and shaped is a great reminder of just how motivated and committed to engaging complex even controversial issues Carolina students are. In addition to leading discussion sections with undergraduates enrolled in the class, the student leaders fan out into the community each week to facilitate conversations about the speakers and their topics with residents of area retirement homes. In this way, Great Decisions is a great educational opportunity for UNC undergraduates, but also for community members.

A message from the 2011-2012 co-chairs of the Great Decisions Lecture Series, Eva Archer and Jakelin Bonilla:

Spring of 2012 saw another year of the Great Decisions foreign policy lecture series. Though enrollment had dropped slightly from previous years, we had a full slate of guest lecturers giving eight lectures on topics assigned by the Foreign Policy Association. Around three hundred students and community members participated in the series. UNC students attended recitations led by members of the coordinating committee after each lecture and there were three additional weekly recitations at the Shared Learning of Chapel Hill, the Cedars, and Carol Woods. The coordinating committee was responsible for bringing the speakers and hosting them during their stay in Chapel Hill.

Speakers included the assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division (Gordon Snow), a major adviser to the Central Command in Afghanistan (Larry Goodson of the Army War College), and UNC’s own John Bruno, who spoke on the state of the oceans. Other topics included Energy Geopolitics, Mexico, and Middle East Realignment. Jessica Butcher, a Rotary Peace Fellow from Australia, spoke on multicultural interfaith dialogue in Indonesia, and Raul Rodriguez discussed the myriad issues facing Mexico and its relations with the United States. A representative from the State Department spoke on the topic of Promoting Democracy.

Great Decisions is sponsored by the Curriculum in Global Studies and the Center for Global Initiative.