Barry McNamara  |  Published February 05, 2021

Feb. 10 Events

Great Decisions discussion forum, juried student art show to begin Wednesday at Monmouth College

MONMOUTH, Ill. – An altered academic calendar delayed their arrival, but a pair of traditional Monmouth College events will make their return to campus on Feb. 10.

MIKE NELSON: Political science professor, who organizes Great Decisions series, to kick off 41st ... MIKE NELSON: Political science professor, who organizes Great Decisions series, to kick off 41st year of program at Monmouth on Feb. 10 with discussion of Brexit.The Annual Juried Student Art Exhibit will go on display in the Len G. Everett Gallery on the upper level of Hewes Library. Later that evening, the 41st season of Great Decisions will begin with a discussion led by the event’s organizer, political science professor Mike Nelson.

The art exhibit can be viewed in person, following COVID-19 protocols of wearing a mask and social distancing. The gallery is open Sunday through Thursday for short periods of time: Sundays 1-4 p.m.; Mondays noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays 4-8 p.m.; and Thursdays noon to 4 p.m.

All six Great Decisions discussions this semester will be held via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The same Zoom link will be used for each of the discussions, and it can be found at the center’s home page:

The art exhibit will be on display through March 1. A Best of Show will be named, as well as winners in the following categories: ceramics, drawing, design, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture. A new award, The Buchanan Center for the Arts People’s Choice Award, will also be presented. This year’s juror is Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, visual arts director for Quad City Arts.

The opening topic for Great Decisions is “Brexit and the European Union.” Nelson will provide an introduction to the topic, then lead a group discussion. The final discussion forum in the series will be held March 17.

“We’re going to see the ramifications of the decision for Britain to exit the European Union unfold for a while,” said Nelson. “We’re seeing already some stress within the politics in Britain. … It also has ramifications for the United States, because Britain wants to do a trade deal with us, and we have to decide how we want to engage them and balance that with our engagement with the rest of Europe.”

Also the director of the College’s Center for Civic and Social Change, Nelson is proud of the College’s connection to the series and of how it brings the campus and local community together.

“The Great Decisions series is a foreign policy discussion series that was created by the Foreign Policy Association, and Monmouth has been participating in it for 41 years now,” he said. “This is an opportunity for community members, faculty, staff and students to all come together and discuss a series of topics that the Foreign Policy Association has selected for the year.”

“What kinds of things should the U.S. be concerned about in the world? How do these topics impact us? Those are good conversations to have.” Mike Nelson

Nelson said the series offers “a great range” of topics this semester.

“We’ll be talking about the environment throughout the melting Arctic and the geopolitical challenges around that,” said Nelson. “We’ll be talking about the Korean Peninsula, about the Persian Gulf, about COVID and the World Health Organization and how global governance is related to that.”

Nelson said participants don’t need to be an expert in the weekly topic – that the series benefits what President Joe Biden recently called “ordinary Americans” when he was talking about making his administration’s foreign policy more accessible.

“We look forward to hearing all sorts of perspectives – questions that come from people regardless of your background,” said Nelson. “What makes this a great series is that it allows all of us to really take into account a diverse range of opinions and perspectives. What kinds of things should the U.S. be concerned about in the world? How do these topics impact us? Those are good conversations to have.”

Listen Up …

Mike Nelson discusses this year’s Great Decisions series.

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