Friday, April 12, 2024:

The Library will close today from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. so that we may honor our volunteers with a luncheon.

Great Decisions 2024

Register now! The 2024 Great Decisions series at the Wyomissing Public Library will begin on Monday, February 12th, 2024.

There is a $35 fee to participate, which covers the costs of the issue book. Two people from the same household may participate for $45. Participation is limited to 15 people.

Great Decisions is a discussion program produced by the Foreign Policy Association, an independent non-profit organization “dedicated to inspiring learning about the world.” The World Affairs Council of Greater Reading is dedicated to educating and engaging the Berks County community in global affairs.

For more information, or to register for the 2023 series, please email or call 610-374-2385.

Week 1:   Mideast Realignment

Monday, 2/12/2024   |   6:00 p.m.

The United States and Middle East are at a crossroads. In spite of a reduced presence in the Middle East, the U.S. still has significant national interests there and the area is a key arena for global power politics. Can the U.S. continue to defend its interests in the Middle East and globally with a lower level of military and political involvement, or should it recommit to a leading role in the region?  By Marc Lynch.
Facilitator:  Michelle Mart, PhD, Penn State University

Week 2:   Science Across Borders

Monday, 2/19/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Scientific advances benefit from collaboration between researchers, but what happens when material, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is controversial and important to a nation’s national security? Is there a middle ground between sharing information and denying access? How can we regulate cooperation?  By Mila Rosenthal.
Facilitator:  John Spitco, Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Greater Reading

Week 3:   Nato's Future

Monday, 3/04/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has come under increased scrutiny, not because NATO troops are involved in the conflict, but because of its role in relations between Russia and its neighbors. Will expanding membership in NATO protect countries, or will it further provoke Russia?  By Sarwar Kashmeri
Facilitator:  Randall Newnham, PhD, Penn State University

Week 4:   Understanding Indonesia

Monday, 3/11/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Despite its large size, Indonesia remains virtually invisible to most Americans. But as one of the world’s largest democracies, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, and as an economic driver of ASEAN, why does it fly below the radar? What are current issues in U.S.-Indonesian relations, and what role can the country play in Asia?  By Charles Sullivan
Facilitator:  Hartono Tjoe, PhD, Penn State University

Week 5:   Climate Technology and Competition

Monday, 3/18/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Will the United States and China, with other powerful countries following suit, approach current and future climate initiatives with an increased commitment to trade protectionism and nationalism, by various measures including trade restrictions? Or could a growing spirit of international accord develop to confront the “common enemy” of climate change?  By Bud Ward
Facilitator:  Nevin Hollinger, Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Greater Reading

Week 6:   Pandemic Preparedness

Monday, 4/01/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Looking back at the covid-19 pandemic, there are many lessons to take away in terms of domestic and international policies. Although this pandemic seems to have waned, how can we apply these lessons to future pandemics? Will countries cooperate, and will a consensus emerge on how to manage global health challenges?  By Carolyn Reynolds
Facilitator:  Lawrence Cohen, Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Greater Reading

Week 7:   High Seas Treaty

Monday, 4/08/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

Areas of the seas beyond national jurisdiction comprise the high seas, which are facing a degradation of ecosystems due to climate change and the increase in human activities, such as shipping, overfishing, pollution, and deep-sea mining. The recently negotiated High Seas Treaty, also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction treaty, will attempt to address these issues. How difficult will it be to convince nations to participate?  By FPA editors
Facilitator:  Jess Royer, Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Greater Reading

Week 8:   U.S.-China Trade Rivalry

Monday, 4/15/2024   |   4:30 p.m.

China’s economic rise and its current policies of increasing the role of the state in the economy have led some U.S. policymakers to seek to deny China access to U.S. technology and investment. This is seen as a necessary corrective to decades of predatory Chinese economic policies. Is this a wise strategy, and how effective can it be?  By Jonathan Chanis
Facilitator:  Solomon Lausch, EdD, Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Greater Reading