Great Decisions

“Democracy, Trade, and Migration” the Theme for 2020 Great Decisions Series

Annual lecture series will consist of five events from Feb. 25-April 14

February 13, 2020   /  

WOOSTER, Ohio – Five presentations—four lectures and a film screening—centered around “Democracy, Trade, and Migration” will make up the 2020 Great Decisions lecture series, an annual joint venture between The College of Wooster and local business and community leaders. Each event of this year’s series, which takes place over an eight-week period from Tuesday, Feb. 25, to Tuesday, April 14, is free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“Until recently, the global movement of people and goods was generally thought to be a positive force, but over the last few years a reaction against such flows has developed in many nations, which have erected impediments to such movement,” stated Tom Tierney, professor of sociology and anthropology at Wooster and executive director of Great Decisions. “This year’s Great Decision series features experts with first-hand knowledge of these global flows, who will provide valuable perspectives that will help us better understand the complexities of major decisions that face political systems throughout the world regarding trade and migration.”

The 2020 Great Decisions series starts Feb. 25 with a visit from Arturo Sarukhán, who will discuss “Rising Tides Lift All Boats: The Strategic Relationship Between the U.S. and Mexico,” at Gault Recital Hall inside Scheide Music Center (525 E. University St.). Sarukhán’s 22-year career as a diplomat in the Mexican Foreign Service included serving as Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2007-13, and he was coordinator of President-elect Felipe Calderón’s foreign policy transition team in 2006. He is currently a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, the president of a strategic consulting firm, Sarukhán + Associates, and a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Southern California, and he writes a biweekly column for Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper.

From March 2-6, Alan Bersin will be on campus as part of the esteemed Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, and he’ll present a public lecture, “Border Lines and Global Flows: The Future of Border Management and Security Is Not What It Used to Be,” on Tuesday, March 3, at Gault Recital Hall. Bersin has held several senior level positions within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including assistant secretary for international affairs and chief diplomatic officer (2012-17), and prior to that, was affectionately known as President Obama’s “border czar,” serving as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (2010-11). The former California Secretary of Education (2005-06) is a senior fellow in the Homeland Security Project at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

The series picks up again in April with three presentations in 14 days. On Wednesday, April 1, Lifeboat, an award-winning documentary on refugees who risk their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in rubber rafts and the volunteers from a German non-profit who try to help them, will be screened in Gault Recital Hall, followed by a director-led discussion by Skye Fitzgerald. Lifeboat was one of five nominated for a 2018 Academy Award in the “Documentary (short subject)” category, and it won a series of “Best Documentary” awards at film festivals. Fitzgerald, inducted as an honorary member of the Syrian American Medical Society, is currently directing the third in his trilogy of films about the global refugee crisis.

On Thursday, April 9, Ka Zeng, professor of political science and director of Asian studies at the University of Arkansas, will examine “How is China Coping With the Trade War?” at Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.). She is a senior research fellow at the Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations, and she’s also authored and edited a number of publications, including the Handbook on the International Political Economy of China (2019), China and Global Trade Governance: China’s First Decade in the World Trade Organization (2013), and Greening China: The Benefits of Trade and Foreign Direct Investment (2011).

Great Decisions wraps up this year with guest speaker Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, who will present “Trade With Your Neighbour: A Canadian Farmer’s Perspective on the USMCA (or new NAFTA)” on Tuesday, April 14, in Lean Lecture Room. Jolly-Nagel, who operates a large grain farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, with her husband and family, is an agriculture policy advocate, specializing in the areas of transportation, trade, and building public trust. She was the first female elected president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers’ Association, serving for six years and represented the group’s views on international trade at the 2005 World Trade Organization’s Ministerial conference in Hong Kong. Jolly-Nagel also is an author, contributing to the Global Farmer Network with articles on the necessity of trade agreements for farmers around the world and the importance of technology in food safety.

Since 1981, the Great Decisions of Wayne County lecture series has been bringing experts to the region to discuss various issues pertaining to foreign policy and international affairs in an effort to contribute to the ongoing education of Wooster students and area residents alike.