Great Decisions

Wednesdays from 3:30PM – 5:30PM | February 15th, 2023 – April 5th, 2023

There is no cost to participate in Great Decisions, but you do need to be a member of Summit Seniors.  So, if you’re no longer an active member, please sign up or renew your membership online using the preceding link.  If you need help,  call the Senior Center front desk at 970-668-2940.

Eight Summit Seniors volunteer to take a topic and present the subject, show the DVD, and lead a question and answer session over a 2 hour period at the Senior center. The session can also be viewed via zoom (see link below). The format of the program is intended to promote thoughtful discourse and opinions, and learn from others. It is noteworthy that rarely, if ever, we hear disrespectful discourse at the Summit Great Decision meetings.

Learn About Great Decisions 2023

2023 Great Decisions

Former Yale University President Kingman Brewster Jr observed “A nation, like a person, needs to believe that it has a mission larger than itself.” FDR observed just before WWII “ This generation has a rendezvous with destiny.” Michel Mazant, political scientist at the Rand Corporation, writes “ In the struggle for advantage among world powers, it is not military or economic might that makes the critical differences, but the fundamental qualities of a society, the characteristics of a nation that generates economic productivity, technological innovation, social cohesion, and national will.” Mazant notes that most competitive societies “place strong social emphasis on learning and adaptation.”


The Summit Senior members that participate in Great Decisions place a high value on learning and constructive discourse. The Foreign Policy Association believes “America must address frontally the growing domestic polarization that undermines our democracy and contributes to a corrosive lack of mutual respect and discourse”.

If you would like more information on Great Decisions, please contact Bob Cardwell at

Learn About Buying the Great Decisions Book

For close to 20 years, the Summit Senior Center has hosted the Great Decisions program.  The non-political Foreign Policy Association choses EIGHT (8) topics that are important to the US foreign policy and publishes a book (now available at the Senior Center front desk for $35.00) and produces a professionally made DVD. These materials help participants reach informed opinions on the issues. 

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View the Great Decisions 2023 Weekly Topics

The session topics are as follows:

  1. Iran at a Crossroads - presented by Ty Drake 2/15/23 3:30 - 5:30pm
    By the fall of 2022, Iran was in a state of turmoil due to widespread protests against government-enforced wearing of the hijab, a failing economy, an ineffective new president, and the looming succession of the country’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Abroad, renewal of the Iran nuclear deal seemed doubtful and tensions remain high between Iran, Israel, and Arab states. Many Iranians have lost hope of a better future, and the country seems at a crossroads. How should the United States deal with it? By Lawrence Potter
  2. War Crimes - presented by Ray Smith 2/22/23 3:30 - 5:30pm
    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with? By Francine Hirsch
  3. China and the U.S. - presented by Brian Hanly 3/1/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    For the past ten years, the United States and China have been locked in a competition for who has the greatest global influence. One major point of contention is the status of Taiwanese sovereignty, which has become even more relevant recently with the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may prompt China to take similar action regarding Taiwan. How will the United States engage a China which is increasingly seeking to expand its sphere of influence? By David Lampton
  4. Economic Warfare - presented by Lynda Birkelbach 3/8/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    Waging economic warfare consists of a variety of measures from implementing sanctions to fomenting labor strikes. Such tools are utilized by states to hinder their enemies, and in the case of the United States have been used as far back as the early 19th century. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, economic warfare has been the main means for the west to challenge Russia. How effective will these sanctions be at convincing Russia to cease its war? By Jonathan Chanis
  5. Politics in Latin America - presented by Nina Holmquist 3/15/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    Electoral results in Latin America over the past four years have led many observers of the regional/political scene to discern a left-wing surge in the hemisphere, reminiscent of the so-called “Pink Tide” that swept the area some 20 years ago. But how much do these politicians actually have in common? What implication does their ascendency have for the region? By Jorge Castañeda
  6. Global Famine - presented by Carlton Thornbury 3/22/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    Fears of global food shortages have followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted grain shipments from the major grain producer. But what about countries and regions that were suffering before this impending shortage? How is famine defined, and how is it different from simple food shortages? What if any remedies are there? By Daniel Maxwell
  7. Energy Geopolitics - presented by Harold Herring & Lee Stephens 3/29/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    Access to oil and gas has long held an influence over the politics of individual nations and their relations with others. But as more countries move toward sustainable energy, and supply chain shortages affect the availability of oil and gas, how will this change the way in which the United States interacts with the outside world? By Carolyn Kissane
  8. Climate Migration - presented by Herb Sutherland 4/5/23 3:30 – 5:30pm
    As climate change accelerates and drought and rising sea levels become more common, millions of people in affected regions must uproot themselves and seek safety elsewhere. Who are these affected individuals, and how might the United States aid them, and be affected by the migration? By Karen Jacobsen