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ECU to host Great Decisions Program

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Dec. 4, 2008)   —   East Carolina University will host the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions Program for the fifth year Jan. 17, 2009 through March 7, 2009. Sponsored by the World Affairs Council (WAC) of Eastern North Carolina and ECU, the program will run for eight consecutive Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Rivers West Building auditorium on campus.

The eight-week lecture series will feature a range of topics and discussions hosted by academic and professional experts. The schedule is as follows:

Jan. 17 U.S. and Rising Powers hosted by Alethia Cook, ECU’s Department of Political Science -- Since the end of the cold war, the U.S. has emerged as the world's predominant power. However, in the 21st century some rapidly developing countries have become increasingly influential. Who are these “rising powers?” Will their emergence change the global balance of power?

Jan. 24 Energy and the Global Economy hosted by Amy Blizzard, ECU’s Department of Political Science -- Rising energy prices, driven by instability in key producing regions such as the Middle East and increasing demand from developing countries, are affecting the global economy. What are the potential consequences of huge wealth transfers to oil-exporting states? Are there any realistic alternative energy scenarios on the horizon?

Jan. 31 Global Food Supply hosted by Holly Hapke, ECU’s Department of Geography -- Global prices for food staples have risen dramatically, resulting in protests and unrest around the world. What factors are driving prices up, and can they be tamed? What will the political fallout be for governments that fail to act, and what role can global institutions play?

Feb. 7 The Arctic hosted by Lisa Clough, ECU’s Department of Biology, and Jeff Johnson, ECU’s Department of Sociology -- Rising global temperatures have created new opportunities in the Arctic for resource extraction and inter-continental transport. How will sovereignty disputes among the five countries that border the Arctic affect its potential development? What impact will this have on an environment already in serious flux?

Feb. 14 Egypt in the 21st Century hosted by Eihab Abousena, University of Akron’s Department of Modern Languages -- Egypt has long played an important role in the Arab world while maintaining a strategic relationship with the U.S. With elections scheduled for 2009, how will Egypt deal with serious domestic issues, ranging from Islamic radicalism to food shortages?

Feb. 21 Cuba After Castro hosted by Denis Rey, University of Tampa’s Department of Political Scientist and Luci Fernandes, ECU’s Department of Anthropology -- Since Fidel Castro handed over the presidency of Cuba to his brother, Raúl in early 2008, signs of greater economic openness have led to much speculation. Will Raúl seek to reopen ties with the U.S.?

Feb. 28 Afghanistan/Pakistan hosted by David Champagne, DCO for Research, Analysis and Civilian Affairs 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) Fort Bragg and research associate for the University of Nebraska Center for Afghanistan Studies -- New found hopes for stability in Iraq have shifted the U.S. military focus back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one of the most volatile border regions in the world. What impact will this renewed interest have on the two states as well as on U.S. defense strategy?

March 7 Universal Human Rights hosted by Rodney Roberts, ECU’s Department of Philosophy -- As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 60th anniversary, events in the Balkans, Sudan and Myanmar continue to challenge its


Contact: Sylvie Debevec Henning | 252-328-5520