Here's exciting news for those of us who live, work, or just visit, downtown Grand Rapids.

The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan announced that the organization will begin a day time lecture series on Tuesday, March 5 in Gillette Auditorium in the Fifth Third Bank Building, 111 Lyon Street, NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

Dixie Anderson, the Executive Director of the World Affairs Council, announced that for the month of March, they have chosen four global topics and speakers of high interest among corporate members. The discussions and question/answer period for each topic will be more business-oriented. The sessions themselves will be every Tuesday morning in March: only one hour each, starting right at 11 AM and ending exactly at Noon.

The series is part of the Great Decisions Foreign Policy Lecture Series that the Council does yearly in February and March. This is the first time the series will be held downtown during the day and geared to a business audience. Anyone, however, may attend.

The World Affairs Council Downtown Series Line-Up is:
March 5 Red Line: Iran, Israel and the Bomb
Reza Marashi, National Iranian American Council, Washington, D.C.
For nearly a decade, Iran’s quest for nuclear capabilities has topped global security concerns in Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv. Why is a nuclear armed Iran considered so dangerous to U.S. and Israeli interests, and what’s prevented Iran from reaching a deal year after year?

March 12 The Road to a New Myanmar: Where Could It Lead?
Karen Coates and Jerry Redfern, Print and Photojournalist Team reporting on Southeast Asia
Myanmar has long been isolated as an international pariah state. But now, the ruling generals have begun a series of democratic and economic reforms. The country has so much to gain from progressive reforms. What can Myanmar learn from its regional neighbors about tilting toward democracy?

March 19 Feeding the Dragon: China in Africa
Tim Liang, Managing Director, AlphaMax Advisors LLC, Grand Rapids and Dr. Gerald Nyambane, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Davenport University. Moderator – Dr. Deborah Steketee, Center for Sustainability, Aquinas College
African economies are booming like never before, thanks in large part to China. The global giant is investing in infrastructure projects to help it tap into the continent’s resources: oil, minerals and its huge agricultural potential. Critics charge China with cozying up to dictators and ignoring issues of human rights and transparency. Others fear that the U.S. is being left behind, and its influence is Africa waning.

March 26 Imperfect Union: The Eurozone in Crisis
Dr. John McCormick, Professor of European Union Politics, Indiana University and Dr. John Pottow, Professor of Law, University of Michigan. Moderator: Dr. Gunther Hega, Comparative and European Politics, Western Michigan University
After World War Two, the leaders of Europe established greater economic ties to help prevent future continental conflict. Now, more than half a century later, the EU faces the biggest financial crisis in its history, and the future of the Eurozone itself is under question. What’s preventing the world’s second largest economy -- and America’s largest trading partner -- from pulling itself out of recession?

Once again, they are Tuesday Mornings in March beginning at 11:00 AM  to Noon in the Gillette Auditorium, Fifth Third Bank Building, 111 Lyon NE, Downtown Grand Rapids. You can get discounted Parking (bring your ticket) in the Fifth Third parking lot.

The lectures are only $10 for members,$15 for non-members, and Corporate and Educational Partner Members of World Affairs Council are free. Tickets will be available at the Door, and no reservations are needed.  Of course, the public invited.

You can get more information by logging on to or phone: 616.776.1721 or email:

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