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Great Decisions discussion program promotes lifelong learning

Great Decisions discussion program promotes lifelong learning
Coordinator Dave Scott looks on as Thursday's Great Discussions program gets underway at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster Jan. 19, 2017. Guest speaker Christiana Leahy from McDaniel College talked about the future of Europe in the wake of recent political developments and populist movements. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

More than 120 participants attended the Great Decisions discussion program Thursday, Jan. 19. The program is a joint venture between Carroll Lutheran Village and McDaniel College, sponsored by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

According to Lisa Albin, Carroll Lutheran Village's director of church and public relations, the program was originally hosted by McDaniel College. Carroll Lutheran Village began hosting the program three years ago after noticing that "many people who attended were Carroll Lutheran Village residents."

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About 60 percent of attendees were Carroll Lutheran residents and 40 percent were members of the community, Albin said.

Albin said the program is a prepackaged curriculum put together by the Foreign Policy Association.

"People read about a topic in the briefing book in advance of the course session," Albin said. "At the session they view a video on the topic and then there's a facilitated discussion of the material. We take it a step further, in that we get experts on those topics to come in and speak as well and assist in the facilitation."

This year's topics are The Future of Europe: Coping with Crisis; Trade, Jobs and Politics; Conflict in the South China Sea; Saudi Arabia in Transition; US Foreign Policy and Petroleum; Latin America's Political Pendulum; Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Nuclear Security: The Enduring Challenge of Nuclear Weapons. Registration is no longer open and classes are full.

Carroll Lutheran Village resident David Scott helped organize the program. Scott is a former Department of Defense employee.

Scott said the program is "extremely important because everybody only gets about 19 minutes of national news every night. They're getting very little in depth information … we wanted to have a program that addresses international topics that are in the United States' national interest. The topics are critical to the defense and the economic welfare of the United States."

Scott recruited speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds who he said "can speak on both perspectives. The intent is to have an even, balanced program."

Guest speaker Christiana Leahy takes questions as coordinator Dave Scott looks on during Thursday's Great Discussions program at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster Jan. 19, 2017. Leahy talked about the future of Europe in the wake of recent political developments and populist movements.
Guest speaker Christiana Leahy takes questions as coordinator Dave Scott looks on during Thursday's Great Discussions program at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster Jan. 19, 2017. Leahy talked about the future of Europe in the wake of recent political developments and populist movements. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Carroll Lutheran Village resident Alice Daum Coen described the course as a "stimulating" environment.

"Great Decisions is an opportunity to have speakers and the community come together in an intelligent exchange," Daum Coen said. "Each week we discuss a topic that's very much pertinent to what's happening in the world."

Carroll Lutheran Village resident Joe Vaughan said he took the course "to be a good citizen."

"We listen to high-class speakers who tell me a lot of things I didn't know before," Vaughan said. "I get a better idea than what's going on in the world."

Vaughan said the program is "good for the brain."

"More people should do it," Vaughan said. "I encourage people to take the course and get their mind stretched by new ideas."

To register for next year's course, call 443-605-1008 or email info@clvillage.org.

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michel.elben@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7873

twitter.com/MichelElben



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