Maas van den Top, Chair
Great Decisions is a discussion program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA). Its purpose is to strengthen citizens’ understanding and knowledge of timely international issues that are vital to U.S. foreign policy. Current Naples Council members, as well as associate members, are eligible to participate in the program.
About 700 Council members and associate members are participating in 26 discussion groups that meet once a week for eight consecutive weeks at eight different locations. The eight topics for discussion are selected by the FPA. Experts on the topics are invited to write articles that are included in a briefing book. The articles provide historical perspective and current information on eight global issues, alternative policy options and questions to stimulate group discussion. In addition, video presentations of discussions about the topics provided by FPA are posted on the NCWA web site (www.ncwa-fl.org) free of charge for registered members of the program. Basic preparation for each session includes reading the information provided in the briefing book and watching the videos. Each group has a leader who facilitates the discussion. All leaders are NCWA members dedicated to providing a nonpartisan forum and endeavor to include each member in the discussion. Membership of each group is limited to 30.
After each discussion session, participants can complete opinion ballots with questions about each topic on FPA's web site. The ballot results are tabulated and published each year in a National Opinion Ballot Report, which is distributed to the White House, the Departments of State and Defense, Members of Congress, and Great Decisions participants.
In 2015 the topics are: 1) Russia and the Near Abroad; 2) Privacy in the Digital Age; 3) Sectarianism in the Middle East; 4) India Changes Course; 5) U.S. Policy toward Africa; 6) Syria's Refugee Crisis; 7) Human Trafficking in the 21st Century; and 8) Brazil's Metamorphosis.