Timely foreign policy talks free for WMU students, employees

contact: Linda Hanes
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University is again partnering with the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids to promote timely talks on international issues that are being staged for the council's Great Decisions Series.

The series brings national experts to West Michigan for thought-provoking discussions on critical issues related to U.S. foreign policy and other international concerns. It is one of the most important sets of lectures on international affairs and American foreign policy concerns that is held in the United States.

This year, eight lectures will be offered between Feb. 2 and March 23. All of the lectures take place from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on consecutive Mondays in the Aquinas Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids. No fee will be charged to WMU students and employees who sign up at the university table located in the center's foyer can attend the lectures at no cost. Free parking is available close to the center.

The series will kick off with Aarti Shahani, technology correspondent for National Public Radio, presenting "Privacy: Is It a Thing of the Past?"

Legislation, both at home and abroad, has not kept pace with technological developments, leaving some wondering if privacy as we know it is long dead. Shahani will discuss the latest developments in regards to digital privacy and the implications of it as the world moves forward in the 21st century.

WMU and the council

The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan spreads awareness about matters of foreign policy and international interest through informative lectures and discussions. A focus of the partnership is its "Great Decisions Series" of lectures held each spring.

Dr. Michelle Metro-Roland, director of faculty and global program development in WMU's Haenicke Institute for Global Education, serves on the council's Educational Partners Advisory Committee. That committee determines each year's lineup of Great Decisions speakers.

Metro-Roland also teaches an upper-level undergraduate, general education course through the Lee Honors College in which she has incorporated the lecture series into the curriculum. The course is titled "Diplomacy, Debate, Conflict and Compromise: Critical Issues in a Global Context," and its students travel with Metro-Roland to Grand Rapids to attend each of the "Great Decisions" lectures.

Great Decision Series 2015

Excluding WMU students and employees, the cost to attend the series is $10 per lecture for World Affairs Council members and $15 for council nonmembers. Package-ticket deals are available for both members and nonmembers of the council.

  • Feb. 2—"Privacy: Is It a Thing of the Past?" by Aarti Shahani, technology correspondent for National Public Radio.
  • Feb. 9—"What Are the Consequences From the Crisis in Ukraine?" by Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  • Feb. 16—"Is It Religion or Politics That Divides the Middle East?" by Dr. Sebastian Maisel, assistant professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Grand Valley State University.
  • Feb. 23—"Human Trafficking: In Everyone's Backyard" by Amanda Colegrove, coalition organizer for the Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation; Michigan Sen. Judy Emmons; and Becky McDonald, president of Women at Risk International.
  • March 2—"Will India's New Prime Minister Modi 'Rebrand' the Country?" by Dr. Leela Fernandes, professor of political science at the University of Michigan.
  • March 9—"Africa Transforms: Wealth, Technology, Democracy" by Ambassador Johnnie Carson, retired assistant secretary of state for Africa.
  • March 16—"Brazil: Always on the Edge of Greatness…But Will It Get There?" by Melvyn Levitsky, a former ambassador to Brazil and now professor of international policy and practice at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a senior fellow of the school's International Policy Center.
  • March 23—"Through the Lens: Lessons From the Syrian Refugee Crisis" by Jared Kohler, freelance photojournalist.

For more information, including descriptions of each lecture, visit worldmichigan.org.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.