Great Decisions 2021 Lecture Series promotional image

For decades, the annual Great Decisions briefing book has framed informed, civil discussions about critical international issues. Groups around the country, including here in the Kansas City metro area, meet in coffee shops, conference rooms, and now virtually to explore these issues together and distill policy recommendations and future outlooks. To support their exploration, and to bring the larger community into the discussion, the International Relations Council is proud to offer a series of conversations with respected experts through 2021 on the year’s eight Great Decisions topics. We warmly welcome diverse perspectives and invite your engagement with these foreign policy issues – from work, from home, or wherever you might be.

All programs will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Central time. Please click on the program of interest below for more information and a link to register.


Sustaining Series Sponsor
Cyprienne Simchowitz and Jerry White

Supporting Series Sponsor
Nancy C. Messer

Gary Sick is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. He served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. Sick is a captain (ret.) in the U.S. Navy, with service in the Persian Gulf, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. Read more and register

Daniel S. Hamilton is the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Global Europe Program at the Wilson Center. He is one of the country’s foremost experts on modern Europe, the transatlantic relationship, and U.S. foreign policy. He testifies regularly before the Senate, the House, and various European parliaments, comments often in U.S. and international media, and is an award-winning author of scores of publications on European and transatlantic security, economic and political affairs, and on U.S. foreign policy issues. A former senior U.S. diplomat, he is also Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins SAIS. Read more and register

Heather A. Conley is senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at CSIS. Prior to joining CSIS as a senior fellow and director for Europe in 2009, Conley served four years as executive director of the Office of the Chairman of the Board at the American National Red Cross. From 2001 to 2005, she was deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for U.S. bilateral relations with the countries of Northern and Central Europe. From 1994 to 2001, she was a senior associate with an international consulting firm led by former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage. Read more and register

Florindo Chivucute is the founder and Executive Director of Friends of Angola (FoA), and Paginas Tech, activist, and blogger. Florindo earned his Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University and has over 6 years of experience working in non-profit organizations, international development, international relations, peacebuilding, and education while being active in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) in the United States. Read more and register.

Chung Min Lee is a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining Carnegie, he taught for twenty years at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) in Yonsei University in Seoul. Chung Min is a council member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). From 2013 to 2016, he served as ambassador for national security affairs for South Korea, and from 2010 to 2011 as ambassador for international security affairs. Read more and register

David Dollar is a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution and host of the Brookings trade podcast, Dollar&Sense. He is a leading expert on China’s economy and U.S.-China economic relations. From 2009 to 2013, Dollar was the U.S. Treasury’s economic and financial emissary to China, based in Beijing, facilitating the macroeconomic and financial policy dialogue between the United States and China. Prior to joining Treasury, Dollar worked 20 years for the World Bank, serving as country director for China and Mongolia, based in Beijing (2004-2009). Read more and register.

Guillermo Malpica Soto currently serves as Undersecretary of Industry and Commerce for the Government of Puebla. He had a long and distinguished career in Mexico’s Ministry of Economy. In October he was designated to represent the Ministry at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. Mr. Malpica served as Mexico’s Director General for International Trade in Services and Investment in Mexico’s Ministry of Economy beginning 2008. Since then, he has been instrumental in formulating Mexico’s position in these areas in multilateral, regional and bilateral fora, including the Doha Round in the World Trade Organization, the OECD, ALADI, APEC, TISA, the Pacific Alliance and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Read more and register.

Samira Asma, from the United States of America, is the Assistant Director-General for the Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact Division. The main responsibilities of this role are to lead the Organization’s efforts to establish an impact framework of accountability to deliver the ‘triple billion’ targets, to track health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through building enhanced country capacity, and to generate reliable data to forecast and inform public health policy. Dr Asma brings more than 25 years of experience in building teams and meaningful partnerships that lead public health programs and policies to catalyze substantial and measurable long-term impact. Read more and register.