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How you can impact U.S. foreign policy

Great Decisions group provides feedback

Created date

April 7th, 2017
Members of the Fox Run Great Decisions group meeting at a table to discuss world affairs.

The Fox Run Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions group discusses world affairs. Pictured here, from left: John Gardon, Lydia Mayo, Paula Eisenstadt, Eileen Zolad, Beverly Schwartz, Sonia Sklar, Janet Rex, Dorothy Gagnier, and Marilyn Luebeck.

Whether you’re devastated or thrilled about the results of the recent presidential election, it seems everyone in America is engaged in politics these days and attempting to understand complex issues of foreign affairs.

A group of intellectual retirees at Fox Run is taking that task to the next level. 

Rather than forming their opinions just by reading or watching the news, they are taking an in-depth approach to studying world affairs through the Great Decisions program, a discussion group facilitated by the U.S. Foreign Policy Association (FPA) that has chapters around the country.

Weighty topics

Resident Shelda Soble had been a member of Great Decisions groups for many years, so when she moved to Fox Run she was pleased to discover the community had a chapter.

Shelda now helps to organize the Fox Run group of 26 residents. Great Decisions members receive a briefing book from the Foreign Policy Association each year, and then they embark on an intensive eight-week study of some of the most timely and pressing issues facing the international community. 

This year, Great Decisions members around the country are studying and debating weighty topics such as the future of Europe, U.S. foreign policy and petroleum, prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and nuclear security. 

Before each meeting, group members read a chapter from the briefing book, and meetings begin with a short video on that week’s topic. Armed with all the facts, attendees spend the rest of the meeting discussing the issue. 

“We solve the problems of the world every single week,” Shelda says, half-joking. “The discussions are very satisfying because the group has been together for so long, and we enjoy being together.”

Making an impact 

At the end of the program, Great Decisions chapters are encouraged to provide feedback to the Foreign Policy Association about what they think are potential solutions to the issues they analyzed that year. 

According to the FPA website, that information is consolidated and distributed to the White House, members of Congress, and the departments of State and Defense—and it does have an impact on U.S. foreign policy decisions. 

For more information about Great Decisions, visit fpa.org and click on Great Decisions.

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