2022 Great Decisions

Foreign Policy Lecture Series
April 1, 8, 22, 29, 2022 

9:30 AM – Noon
Location will be Virtual via Zoom 

To Register: Click Here

Established in 1918, the Foreign Policy Association is a non-profit education organization and sponsor of the Great Decisions program.
Great Decisions is a national civic-education program that encourages participants to:

  • Learn about U.S. foreign policy & global issues
  • Discuss multiple viewpoints in a group
  • Take part in a national opinion survey


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Payment is required at the time of registration; no checks or cash
Ticket Prices:

5CLIR members: $12 per individual discussion or $40 for the full series
Public admission: $15 per individual discussion or $50 for the full series

Spring 2022 Topics:

April 1, 9:30 AM to Noon, Online Event via Zoom – Registration required for Link


Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict and some possible areas of mutual interest. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, the status of Ukraine, the fate of opposition politicians in Russia, all continue to be concerning. How will the new administration in Washington approach these issues? 

Speaker: Constantine Pleshakov, Visiting Professor, Amherst College

Constantine Pleshakov was born in Yalta, Crimea (Ukraine) in 1959. He is a graduate of Moscow State University. Between 1982-1996, he worked as a foreign policy analyst at the Institute of U.S. and Canada Studies in Moscow. He emigrated to America in 1998 and later renounced his Russian citizenship. He taught at Mount Holyoke College (Russian Studies and Critical Social Thought, 1998-2014).  Pleshakov’s books include The Tsar’s Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of TsushimaStalin’s Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II on the Eastern Front, and There Is No Freedom Without Bread! 1989 and the Civil War That Brought Down Communism. His most recent book is The Crimean Nexus: Putin’s War and the Clash of Civilizations. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and is currently a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. He teaches seminars on international relations and political radicalism.


April 8, 9:30 AM to Noon, Online Event via Zoom – Registration required for Link

Changing Demographics

The world experienced remarkable demographic changes in the 20th century that continue today and have resulted in far-reaching social, economic, political, and environmental consequences all over the globe. These consequences are creating mounting challenges to development efforts, security, climate, and the environment, as well as the sustainability of human populations.

Speaker: Gregg White, Professor, Smith College

Gregory White is the Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government at Smith College. He is also a member of the Environmental Science and Policy program. He is currently the Eveillard Faculty Director of Smith’s Lewis Global Studies Center.

He received a doctorate in Political Science and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held Fulbright scholarships to Tunisia and Morocco. In 2009-10 he received a New Directions Grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation and was in residence at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He served as a co-editor of the Journal of North African Studies from 2014 to 2021. During fall 2019 he was in residence at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.  He is the author of Climate Change and Migration: Borders and Security in a Warming World (Oxford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of North African Politics: Change and Continuity (Routledge Press, 2016). His current book project focuses on “climate refugees,” an issue that lies at the intersection of migration, environmental, and security studies.

April 22, 9:30 AM to Noon, Online Event via Zoom – Registration required for Link

Climate Change

The ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions. But extreme weather events at both ends of the thermometer have focused attention on the consequences of inaction. What role will the United States play in future negotiations on climate?

Speaker: Pichamon Yeophantong, Associate Professor, University of New South Wales in Cranberra, Australia

Dr Pichamon Yeophantong is an Australian Research Council Fellow and Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia. She leads the Environmental Justice and Human Rights Project and the Responsible Business Lab. In addition to a multi-year project on how to better regulate the environmental consequences of Chinese investment in the energy and natural resource sectors, Pichamon is working with civil society and other partners on a series of initiatives that seek to support the climate resilience of women and environmental human rights defenders in the Asia-Pacific. Pichamon consults on global environmental and development issues with a range of organizations, including International Rivers, the Australian Water Partnership, and the UN Environment Programme. In recognition of the policy and social impact of her work, was awarded the 2018 Australia ‘Future Leader’ Prize by the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and was named a ‘human rights fighter’ by the 2020 Advance Awards.



April 29, 9:30 AM to Noon, Online Event via Zoom – Registration required for Link

Industrial Policy

The current discussion of industrial policy in the United States is not simply about whether or not to support specific companies or industries, but about trust or mistrust of the government and its ability to manage the economy and deal with a rising China. The upheaval in supply chains during the pandemic exposed weaknesses in the international economy. What policies can the United States implement to deal with trade and the economy?

Speaker: Gunjan Sharma, Visiting Professor, Smith College

Dr. Gunjan Sharma is a Visiting Professor at Smith College.  She completed her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in economics respectively at the University of Delhi, Delhi School of Economics, and the University of Maryland.  Prof. Sharma previously taught at the University of Missouri/Columbia and Sacred Heart University.  She has professional certificates in machine learning and data science from Harvard and Columbia, and worked for the World Bank as a Private Sector Development Specialist (Economist), where her responsibilities involved changing the methodology underlying the Trading Across Borders indicator.  Her research has included articles on Indian manufacturing, trade policy, and violence against women.   Her current research interests include: formal and informal manufacturing; the role of government, infrastructure, and education in industrial policy; and use of machine learning to predict and understand intimate partner violence.