Great Decisions helps FICers become informed citizens
Members of the Illinois Chapter discuss African
affairs with Professor Prexy Nesbitt
As you remember from our last issue of NewsNotes, the FIC Mission statement points out the need to respect differences among all the people we meet, and certainly to celebrate the similarities we have as human beings. FIC proceeds to emphasize the importance of continual learning: not only to know about places and things in countries around the world, but also to become informed citizens who can contribute to our vibrant democracy.
One way that FIC has been attempting to develop such awareness and understanding of global issues is through the study of Great Decisions. This is an annual program produced by The Foreign Policy Association. It offers a study booklet covering current topics dealing with world problems and their impact upon the U.S. Each of the 8 chapters covers unique subjects, serving as a catalyst for readers to move forth into areas of interest to them. Suggested readings facilitate this process. This year’s Great Decisions included subjects such as “The future of the euro”, “NATO”, “China in Africa”, and “Humanitarian intervention”. All were enough to whet one’s appetite for more study.
Fortunately, the Illinois Chapter of FIC has taken advantage of this program. As matter of fact, it has been part of the study for about 20 years. A group of people meets each year for 8 Sundays, as soon as the booklet becomes available. They meet in each other’s homes for warm dinners and sometimes heated discussions. Often the host and/or hostess will invite a guest, who is knowledgeable on the subject, and offers exciting insight into the topic. One such meeting this winter was at the home of Pat and Harry Michalski, where the members met Prexy Nesbitt. He is a professor who teaches about, and travels to Africa, thereby shedding much light on the topic of current situations in parts of Africa. Another interesting meeting was at the home of Jim and Virginia Hill, where the participants met the Hill’s Burmese son-in-law, Oo Thein Maung. He was very articulate and gave first hand information about life and politics in the Southeast Asian countries with which he was familiar. It was a fascinating exchange of questions and answers.
FIC hopes all its members might find as enlightening way to broaden their viewpoints.