2016 Winter Series begins Wednesday, February 3, 2016 through Wednesday, March 23, 2016.  Please note:  The lecture will now be held from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm



The Great Decisions Lecture Series promotes citizen awareness about timely foreign policy issues.  The purpose of the series, which is sponsored by the YWCA of Bethlehem, is to educate members about important issues relating to American foreign policy and to enable the community to participate in the foreign policy process.  We partner with the private, non-partisan Foreign Policy Association (FPA) in New York City, the oldest and largest grassroots educational program on world affairs reaching 880 cities and 350,000 members.  The FPA selects eight topics each year and chooses experts to write for the 100-page Great Decisions Briefing Book.  This book is included with registration.

The Bethlehem Great Decisions group is the only Great Decision group in the Lehigh Valley.  Lectures run for eight Wednesdays in winter, at 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Kirkland Village in Bethlehem, PA and feature local experts.  Following each lecture is a Q&A session.


February 3 — Middle East - Brian Mello, Ph.D., Muhlenberg College

Ongoing conflicts have shaken the traditional alliances in the Middle East and now they’re constantly shifting. What can the U.S. do to secure its interests without causing further damage?

February 10 — The Rise of ISIS - Abdulwahab Alkebsi, C.I.P.E., Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East

Born out of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized control of a number of critical strongholds. What is ISIS, and what danger does it pose to U.S. interests?

February 17 — Climate Change - Dork Sahagian, Ph.D., Professor, Lehigh University

From droughts in the west to extreme weather in the east, a rapidly changing climate has already made its footprint in the United States. What can the next president do to stymie this environmental crisis? And is it too late?

February 24 — Migration - Katalin Fabian, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Lafayette College

As Europe struggles with how to respond to the record number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, how can the world powers balance border security with humanitarian concerns?  Can the conflicts be resolved to limit the number of displaced persons?

March 2 — The Koreas - Seo-Hyun Park, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Lafayette College

North Korea is underdeveloped, impoverished and ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian government. South Korea has become one of the most developed countries in the world. Is unification possible, even desirable, anymore?

March 9 — The United Nations - William Hunter, Ed.D., Lehigh University

2016 marks a halfway point in the U.N.’s effort to eradicate poverty, hunger and discrimination, and ensure justice and dignity for all 193 member states. How well has the almost 70-year-old organization met its goals? With a new secretary general in place, the new U.S. President will have a lot on her/his plate.

March 16 — The Future of Kurdistan – Doug Heath, Ph.D., Retired Professor

Home to the Kurds, the largest ethnic group in Western Asia, Kurdistan is an oil-rich autonomous region and a close ally of the U.S. What does the success of Iraqi Kurdistan mean for nearby Kurds?

March 23 — Cuba and the U.S. - John Zemko – C.I.P.E., Regional Director for Latin America

American and Cuban leaders are taking major steps to normalize relations with Cuba.  They’re bringing into the 21st century a relationship once defined by the 1960s Cuban missile crisis.


Fees for the Great Decisions Lecture Series are:

YWCA Members:
$60 with one book
$85 for Couple, with one book

Non-YWCA Members:
$85 with one book
$110 for Couple, with one book

Walk-in Single Lecture – $10, no book

Students – No charge with valid I.D.

For more information on the series please contact the YWCA of Bethlehem at   (610) 867-4669, ext. 101 or e-mail adminassist@ywcabethlehem.org.

Visit the Foreign Policy Association website for more information.