Great Decisions Series returns for fourth season at McDonough Center

Interested in discussing Cuba after Castro? Or maybe you want to brainstorm with others about energy and the global economy.

Then the 2009 Great Decisions Series at Marietta College's McDonough Center for Leadership and Business may be something to consider this winter. McDonough is co-sponsoring the fourth annual series with the Marietta chapter of the American Association of University Women. The series is part of a national program organized by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) with headquarters in New York.

This year's Great Decisions Series runs 2-4 p.m. Sundays from Jan. 18 to Feb. 22. Designed to bring understanding of foreign relations issues to the Marietta community, the Series addresses a different topic each week. This year's Series features sessions on U.S. rising powers, Egypt, the Arctic Age, Cuba after Castro, energy and the global economy, and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"The Great Decisions Series offers the possibility for people of our local area to learn more about current world issues and concerns through reading written materials, listening to formal presentations, discussing the material with the aid of a facilitator, and to finally share their opinions by submitting opinion ballots after each small group discussion of the weekly topic," said Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of McDonough.

Each Sunday afternoon, a Marietta faculty member will present the day's topic and agenda. A refreshment break will follow. After the break, McDonough students will facilitate discussions of the issue as part of their leadership training. Participants then receive an opinion ballot to express their thought on the matter at hand. These ballots are sent to the FPA, a national non-profit organization committed to helping America learn more about the world. The FPA then compiles a report to the White House and Congress, relaying pubic opinion to policy makers.

"In this way, the Series is not just a foreign policy class or a debate," Perruci said. "Participants learn in a forum through which citizens can reach their leaders."

The registration deadline for the Great Decisions Series 2009 is Nov. 15. Registration is $25 and covers the cost of course books and refreshments. Enrollment is limited.

The McDonough Center is named in honor of Bernard P. McDonough (1903-85), a self-made industrialist and entrepreneur who ran wide-ranging global business interests from his Marmac Corporation headquarters in Parkersburg, W.Va. From humble beginnings, he built an industrial empire after World War II with diverse holdings, including concrete plants, construction companies, shoe factories, marine barges, lawn and garden tool factories, and sand and gravel operations.

In 1986, through a generous $5.5 million gift from McDonough's wife, Alma McDonough, and the McDonough Foundation, Marietta College established the Bernard P. McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. The Center offered one of the first comprehensive undergraduate leadership programs in the United States.