Great Decisions Foreign Policy Discussion Group

The USSB Great Decisions Program Announces its Program for the Spring of 2020

Welcome to our popular foreign policy discussion series that begins its fifth year on Wednesday, February 5 and continues twice a month through May 20. Our schedule coincides with the beginning of the presidential primary elections where foreign policy issues will be important, so our programs have special relevance.

The following presents a summary of our subjects, dates, and speakers, most of whom are UCSB faculty members. UCSB Professor John Park has played a major role in our success in recruiting faculty speakers. Please note all programs begin at 6:30 p.m. Seventy copies of the book published by the Foreign Policy Association will be available for sale for $35 between the services on January 12, 19, and 26. For those who wish to order directly, the book can be ordered online at for $37.25.

  1. Climate Change and the Global Order: February 5

Leah Stokes PhD, from MIT, Professor of Political Science investigates the politics of  energy and environmental policy. She regularly writes about energy policy for newspapers and social media.

  1. India, Pakistan and Hindu Nationalism: February 19

Amit Ahuja PhD, Professor of Political Science originally from India, received his PhD from the Univ. of Michigan. He studies the voting dynamics of multiethnic societies, political military organizations and intercaste marriage in South Asia.

  1. Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: March 4

Alison Brysk PhD, from Stanford and Fulbright Scholar, Professor of Political Science, has authored multiple books, and specializes in international relations and human rights.

  1. The Middle East: What To Expect: March 18

Salim Yaqub PhD, from Yale, Professor of History and specializes in the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. While the Chapter in our book focuses upon the geo-political and economics of the Red Sea, Professor Yaqub will focus on the dramatic changes in U.S. relationships with Iran and Iraq.

  1. U.S. Relations with Central America: April 1

Bridget Coggins PhD, from Ohio State, Professor of Political Science teaches International Relations with a focus upon failed and failing states. She recently has concentrated on North Korea, which by April might present urgent challenges.

  1. China: Challenges to U.S. Commerce: April 15

Eric Ryan, MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management, lived many years in China, speaks Mandarin, and has multiple hi-tech business interests there. Eric has been our featured speaker on China in prior years and shares his well informed perspective of culture, technology, politics, and Chinese attitudes toward the U.S.

  1. The Philippines and the United States: May 6

Adam Shive, extraordinary A.P. teacher at Dos Pueblos, will share his knowledge of the South China Sea and the challenges raised by recent Chinese military and economic expansion in the area. Adam will also discuss the recent developments in the political and human rights abuses that beset the country and its leadership.

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Data: May 15

Steve Zipperstein, former U.S. Justice Dept. official, General Counsel for Verizon Digital Corp., and current lecturer at UCLA on technology and the law. Steve will discuss how Artificial Intelligence has become extremely sophisticated and what strategies would best serve the long term interests of the U.S.

To meet our goals of offering speaker honorariums audience members are asked to contribute $10 to support the program.  For questions and comments please contract me at

John Warnock, Program Coordinator

*Note to friends of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara members of the community interested in attending. The USSB Great Decisions Program is supported by the Society primarily for the benefit of its members and friends. Members of the community have often expressed interest in attending and in the past we have been happy to welcome their participation. However, as our space is limited, it would be appreciated if anyone interested would contact the program coordinator, John Warnock at his email: to discuss space availability and our requested financial support.

Check our Upcoming Events page for Great Decisions and other meetings taking place at USSB.

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