Great Decisions

Exposing Students to the WorldGreat Decisions is an after-school enrichment program for high-school students.

The program’s goals are to:
  • Expose students to complex and critical issues facing our world.
  • Develop critical thinking, listening and decision-making skills.
College faculty members accompany high school teachers and serve as discussion leaders using the materials from Great Decisions, which are readings, companion videos and additional resources on current global issues published annually by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA). The Foreign Policy Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world.

Since 2004, the Jacksonville Council has utilized the Briefing Book, TV/DVD series and online resources to develop a Great Decisions after-school enrichment program for high school students. The program began with three high schools and one university and has quickly grown in seven years to include four Jacksonville-based college/universities and twelve high schools, spanning three counties, the majority of which reside in Duval County.

The program culminates in an International Crisis Management Exercise, a day-long, scenario role-play exercise where students act as members of the National Security Council and work together to come up with recommendations for an acting president regarding a timely, mock-international crisis.

Topics in the 2015 Great Decisions series are: Russia and the Near Abroad, Privacy in the Digital Age, Sectarianism in the Middle East, India Changes Course, U.S. Policy Toward Africa, Syria's Refugee Crisis, Human Trafficking in the 21st Century, and Brazil's Metamorphosis.

Participating high schools typically meet every 4-6 weeks, from September-May for a one to two hour session, facilitated by a faculty member from Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University or the University of North Florida.

The faculty affiliate at each high school establishes the guidelines for participating. Generally, the program is open to 9th - 12th graders. The high schools participating during the 2015-16 academic year are:
All participating schools must be registered prior to September 1st of each school year. Students or teachers may contact the World Affairs Council at (904) 280-8162 to learn more and get assistance in organizing a program or in becoming a program facilitator.
Faculty Resources

FundingThere is a growing demand in the Jacksonville community and surrounding areas for supplemental education such as the Council’s Great Decisions high school program. Educating youth about global issues promotes their development as global citizens and emphasizes the growing importance of other world regions to our nation’s economic prosperity and national security. With an ongoing decrease in state funding in our public school system for curriculum addressing geography, civics, world history and international affairs, the Council believes that programs such as Great Decisions are more imperative now than ever.

The program is offered to area high schools at no charge. Costs of materials and facilitator stipends are covered through:

Do consider participating as a sponsor.
We would like to thank our Great Decisions Supporters:

Emily Balz Smith Foundation
Sandy & Bob Cook