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European Union first topic for Forsyth library lecture series
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CUMMING -- A professor from the University of North Georgia will kick off a returning lecture series at Forsyth County libraries.

On Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Cumming Library, Craig Greathouse, a professor and associate head of UNG’s Department of Political Science and International Affairs, will discuss issues with the European Union as part of Great Decisions 2017, an annual program by the Foreign Policy Association.

Greathouse said a portion of his presentation would be dedicated to just familiarizing people with the EU.

“In terms of Americans, the issue is understanding what the EU is because there’s nothing else like it in the world,” he said. “It’s what is known as a supranational organization, so it actually holds sovereignty, which Americans don’t understand unless you’ve spent time with it and the structure is very, very different and difficult to deal with.”

Last year, British voters decided to leave the EU, a move commonly called Brexit, which will be one of the evening’s main topics.

“Basically, what I’m going to be presenting is issues related to the European Union,” Greathouse said. “So, I’ve got to provide a little bit of background on that institution, and then we’ll talk about some of the issues going on with it now, focusing specifically on Brexit and, if there’s time, on issues of security and defense policy.”

Greathouse’s presentation will be the first of the Great Decisions series, which will be held at 7 p.m. each Thursday in February and March, except for March 16.

The events are free to attend, but registration is requested and can be done at or by calling (770) 781- 9840.

“Great Decisions is put out by the Foreign Policy Association, they’ve been doing it for quite a few years,” Greathouse said. “They basically come up with about eight topics a year and create some background information from leading scholars in each field and they send this out to encourage discussions."

All sessions will be held at the Cumming Library.

An advanced knowledge of the topic is not required to participate, but the Great Decisions 2017 Briefing Book and a DVD is available at the library.

The next meeting, on Feb. 9, will feature a discussion on the TransPacific Partnership by Michael Gove, assistant professor of economics at UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business, and future meetings will cover issues in the South China Sea, Wahhabism, nuclear security, Latin American politics and other issues.

Greathouse said he has previously taken part in the program and was pleased with the turnout.

“You try to engage people,” he said. “I think there were 80 people in the room each time I did it, so the attendance is quite high. You’ve got a lot of people interested in a lot of these topics where a 30 second soundbite on a newscast doesn’t give the information about what is really going on in that topic.”