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St. Norbert College announces “Great Decisions” Speaker Lineup

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From St. Norbert College, January 13, 2014
by Stefanie Trinkl,, 920-403-3089

"Great Decisions" is a nationwide program meant to bring together local, regional and national experts in an eight-week lecture series discussing international issues of interest to the community. St. Norbert College is hosting the public event for its 32nd year in northeastern Wisconsin.

Topics for the series are selected by the Foreign Policy Association of America and are intended to provide a local forum for discussion on current political and economic issues of the day. The speakers themselves are selected by participating colleges and universities. St. Norbert College is one of only two schools in Wisconsin that present the entire series. (UW-Milwaukee is the other.)

Following are the topics and speakers for 2014. All lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in the Fort Howard Theater at the F. K. Bemis International Center on the St. Norbert campus.

Feb. 12: "Energy Independence," Michael Kraft, emeritus professor, public and environmental affairs, UW-Green Bay. In a government with fixed resources, should the U.S. encourage more traditional fuel production or invest in the young technology of renewable resources?

Feb. 19: "Islamic Awakening," Robert Kramer, professor of history, St. Norbert College. Kramer will speak about how the aftermath of the Arab Spring has resulted in unforeseen changes in the political landscape in many countries.

Feb. 26: "Is China's Dream a Nightmare for America and the Rest of the World?" Merton Finkler, John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System, Lawrence University. Finkler will speak about the rapid rise of China to superpower and the potential points of conflict with the U.S. and other countries in the region.

March 5: "Turkey's Challenges," Sinan Ciddi, Institute of Turkish Studies, Georgetown University. Ciddi will use his regional expertise to explain why Turkey is a nation at a crossroads, a bridge over an ever-growing chasm between the East and West.

March 12: "Defense Technology," Shawn Brimley, Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Brimley will speak about the new "game-changing" technologies that are moving from science fiction to battlefield reality, all during an age of fiscal austerity.

March 26: "Israel and the U.S.," Fred Kaplan, author of "The Insurgents" and the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Kaplan will speak about the new strains put on the 65-year-old "special relationship" between Israel and the U.S., including the Arab Spring, Iran's nuclear ambitions and failed peace talks.

April 2: "U.S. Trade Policy," Art Cyr, director of A.W. Clausen Center for World Business, Carthage College. Cyr will explore the foreign policy tool of "economic statecraft" and the benefits of democracy and the free market.

April 9: "Food and Climate Change," Eric Rutkow, author of "American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation." Rutkow will discuss how a changing climate can wreak havoc on already insecure and vulnerable populations, and address the role of the U.S. in creating sound policy to ensure the security of the world's resources.

For more information, contact the St. Norbert College Center for International Education at 920-403-4075 or visit

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