Think about it, talk about it: Great Discussions series starts April 7

great discussions
Spring 2016
Eight Thursday Evenings
April 7 – May 26
6:30-8 p.m.
Room 1010(M)

Enrollment is limited. Click Here to Register Now! 

What better way to (re)think about the world and America’s role than to share thoughts with friends and neighbors about some of the hottest foreign policy issues confronting the United States today.   This series, utilizing Foreign Policy Association materials, will meet each Thursday evening for eight weeks, starting April 7 through May 26.

Topics we will discuss include:

$35 to register for the series (8 meetings) Register here!

Students can receive credit for participating!! See below.

For more information go to the GAC website, or contact Larry Fuell (, 206-533-6750) or Elouiessa Muana (, 206-546-6996

*Attending individual seminars is possible, if space available; contact Larry Fuell. $5 entrance fee collected at door.

Issue brief summaries:

Middle East (April 7)
From a proxy war in Yemen to an ongoing civil war in Syria, a number of ongoing conflicts have shaken the traditional alliances in the Middle East to their core. As alliances between state and non-state actors in the region are constantly shifting, the U.S. has found itself between a rock and a hard place. In a series of conflicts that are far from being black-and-white, what can the U.S. do to secure its interests in the region without causing further damage and disruption?

The Rise of ISIS (April 14)
Born out of an umbrella organization of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) burst onto the international stage after it seized Falluja in December 2013. Since then, the group has seized control of a number of critical strongholds in the country and declared itself a caliphate, known as the Islamic State. Still, the question remains: What is ISIS, and what danger does it pose to U.S. interests?

Climate change (April 21)** Note: this discussion will take place in 9208, starting at 7 p.m.
In the past few years, the American public has become more aware of the damage wrought by climate change. From droughts in the west to extreme weather in the east, a rapidly changing climate has already made its footprint in the United States. Now, it’s expected that the presidential election in 2016 will be one of the first ever to place an emphasis on these environmental changes. What can the next president do to stymie this environmental crisis? And is it too late for these efforts to be effective?

The Future of Kurdistan (April 28)
Kurdistan, a mountainous region made up of parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria, is home to one of the largest ethnic groups in West Asia: the Kurds. Now, most in the West know them for their small, oil-rich autonomous region in northern Iraq called Iraqi Kurdistan — one of the U.S.’ closer allies in the Middle East and a bulwark against the expansion of the so-called Islamic State. What does the success of Iraqi Kurdistan mean for Kurds in the surrounding region?

Migration (May 5)
As a record number of migrants cross the Mediterranean Sea to find refuge in Europe, the continent is struggling to come up with an adequate response. Although Europe’s refugees are largely fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and parts of Africa, their struggle is hardly unique. Today, with the number of displaced people is at an all-time high, a number of world powers find themselves facing a difficult question: How can they balance border security with humanitarian concerns? More importantly, what can they do to resolve these crises so as to limit the number of displaced persons?

The Koreas (May 12)
At the end of World War II, Korea was divided in two. The northern half of the Korean peninsula was occupied by the Soviet Union, the southern by the United States. Today, North and South Korea couldn’t be further apart. The North is underdeveloped, impoverished and ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian government, while the South advanced rapidly to become one of the most developed countries in the world. With such a wide gap, some are asking if unification is possible, even desirable, anymore?

The United Nations (May 19)
On the eve of the international organization’s 70th birthday, the United Nations stands at a crossroads. This year marks a halfway point in the organization’s global effort to eradicate poverty, hunger and discrimination, as well as ensure justice and dignity for all peoples. But as the UN’s 193 member states look back at the success of the millennium development goals, they also must assess their needs for its sustainable development goals — a new series of benchmarks, which are set to expire in 2030. With the appointment of the ninth secretary-general in the near future as well, the next U.S. president is bound to have quite a lot on his or her plate going into office.

Cuba and the U.S. (May 26)
The U.S. announced in December 2014 that, after decades of isolation, it has begun taking major steps to normalize relations with Cuba, its neighbor to the south. The announcement marks a dramatic shift away from a policy that has its roots in one of the darkest moments of the Cold War — the Cuban missile crisis. Although the U.S. trade embargo is unlikely to end any time soon, American and Cuban leaders today are trying to bring a relationship once defined by a crisis in the 1960s into the 21st century.

Campus events for March 9: Zika workshop, Community Read, and more!

These are the events happening around campus for the week of March 7-11. BREATHE before Finals week events are listed separately here

Zika Virus:  Science and Pregnancy, Nursing Bldg., Room 2308
Wed., March 9: 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
The World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” on February 1 over the Zika virus and the health problems that doctors fear it is causing. Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Of particular concern are reports of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes as a result of contracting the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

• What is Zika virus and what do we know about it?
• Is there a vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika?
• Why is contracting the Zika virus dangerous for pregnant women?
• Will a woman’s future pregnancies be at risk?
• Do we in the Pacific Northwest need to worry about Zika virus?

Join us for a discussion of the Zika virus, and its possible side effects, especially for pregnant women, with:
• Judy Penn, Professor (Microbiology)
• Hermien Watkins, Professor Emeritus (Nursing)

Community Read of Octavia’s Brood, PUB 9208
Wed., March 9: 12:30-1:40 p.m.
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Join us Wed., March 9 at 12:30 p.m. for our final meeting of the Community Read of Octavia’s Brood.

This week we’ll be discussing the stories: Star Ware and the American Imagination, The Only Lasting Truth, Outro.

Don’t know what Community Read is? Read on:
Each year a new book is selected for our Community Book Read. Together we share our impressions and ideas. Weekly analyses of the text are led by a variety of college volunteers, bringing with them their unique backgrounds, expertise and perspectives. This keeps the discussion fresh, lively and relevant.

This year’s book is Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Octavia’s Brood is a collection of social justice-themed science fiction stories that feature things like time travel, shape shifting, dystopian worlds, re-imaginings of “model minorities” and the possibilities of using visionary fiction to develop new ideas of future worlds. The works are inspired by the writings of Octavia Butler, an award-winning science fiction writer (Kindred, Parable of the Sower, and Lilith’s Brood) who lived in Lake Forest Park before her death in 2006.

Intramural Yoga, Athletics Room 3025
Wed., March 9: 12:35-1:25 p.m.
Take time out from studying for finals to rejuvenate and build core strength. Free to students, faculty, and staff.

Baseball vs. Grays Harbor, Away at Bellevue
Wed., March 9: 1-5 p.m.
Wish our Phins Baseball team well as they take on Grays Harbor away. #GoPhins!

Softball vs. Green River, Away at Kent
Wed., March 9: 2-6 p.m.
Wish our Phins Softball team well as they take on Green River away. #GoPhins!

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