The Annual Great Decisions Lecture Series begins Feb. 5 and features three LC professors. The lectures are Thursdays in February from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Lynchburg Public Library Community Room. Light refreshments are served from 2:30 to 3 p.m.
Thursday, February 5: Havana Bound: The New Cuban-US Relations
David Richards, PhD, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Lynchburg
On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced the beginning of a process of normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States. What might this new relationship look like? What are the issues that stand in the way of normalization and how might they be resolved? What are some of the possible benefits and pitfalls that lay ahead in this complex and long overdue process?
Thursday, February 12: The Business of Sex Trafficking
Jennifer Dugan, PhD, Professor of Global Studies, Randolph College
Human trafficking represents a multibillion in international trade per annum, and sex trafficking in particular is a pervasive transnational criminal industry. While most countries including the United States have adopted various treaties and laws to prevent sex trafficking, the industry continues to thrive. To truly combat the issue, countries and their non-governmental partners must disrupt the business model and address the root causes that enable traffickers to exploit millions of victims.
Thursday, February 19: A Bear Hug: Russia and its Tough Neighborhood
Marek Payerhin, PhD, Professor of International Relations, University of Lynchburg
As calls for closer ties with the EU failed to be met, Ukrainians took to the streets in November 2013. While the movement later known as the Euromaidan, or “Euro Square,” pulled western Ukraine closer to its European neighbors, another powerful force threatened to tear away the country’s eastern half: Russia. Putin’s decisive pushback against European expansionism has the West wondering: If Putin’s Russia isn’t afraid to take an aggressive stance against Europeanization in Ukraine, what does that mean for the rest of Russia’s neighbors?
Thursday, February 26: Sectarianism in the Middle East
Sabita Manian, PhD, Professor of International Relations, University of Lynchburg
Many of the current conflicts in the Middle East have been attributed to sectarianism, a politicization of ethnic and religious identity. From the crisis in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shiite groups for dominance is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. But for all the religious discourse permeating the conflict, much of its roots are political, not religious. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it?
If Lynchburg Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather, the Great Decisions lecture for that day will be canceled and rescheduled for the first Thursday in March if possible.
Sponsored by the Lynchburg Branch of the AAUW, the League of Women Voters of Lynchburg, the YWCA, and the Lynchburg Public Library.