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Domestic Decisions

Like hundreds of groups around the country, the Mid North Shepherds Center runs the Great Decisions series every spring. But the Mid North Shepherds Center is the only group in the country that likes Great Decisions so much that they design their own series of local and national policy discussions in the fall. Their line-up of speakers is exceptional.

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Civic life, Global + local, Local issues, Political Polarization »

“Addressing Intolerance In Our Society” By David Carlson

Society becomes more polarized at the very time that tolerance and understanding is most needed. This session will search for means of fostering civil discussion and addressing intolerance. September 23, 2015 David Carlson spoke to the Mid North Shepherd Center about “Fostering Civil Discussion and Addressing Intolerance in our Society.”

Ready For Success: Youth Discussion On Community Engagement And Closing The Achievement Gap, With Special Guest US Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan

ready for success

September 16 2015. “Ready for Success” was a youth discussion on community engagement and closing the achievement gap with special guest Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The event started with a “My Brother’s Keeper” update followed by a student discussion with Secretary Duncan. The event concludes with a light reception.

Five Mayors: A public conversation

5 mayors

September 15 2015. About 450 people, including five Indianapolis mayors, assembled at the Indiana Roof Ballroom to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee.

Building and Preserving Opportunity in Transit-Oriented Development

August 6, 2015. The Indy region is the closest its been to rapid transit since the streetcar lines were ripped out generations ago. Learn what this means for neighborhoods and development, preservation and opportunities for community assets, and for residents who can benefit from transit mobility, and strategies for how we can fund those opportunities.

“Overview Of The Great Decisions Series” By John Clark

clark gd

May 27 2015. It’s a tradition for John Clark to provide part 9 of the 8 part Mid North Shepherd center’s Great Decisions program. Discuss how these issues are connected: Africa, India, human trafficking, Syrian refugees, Brazil, privacy in the digital age, Russia and its nervous neighbors, Mid East sectarianism. More importantly, discuss how they shape our lives in Central Indiana, and what we can do to help find solutions for these problems.

“US-Africa Relations” By Sarah Archer

sarah archer us africa

Africa is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation. The continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it’s become a draw for foreign investors from across the globe. After the “Obamamania” of 2008 died down, though, the realization that Obama wasn’t going to overturn, or even prioritize, U.S. Africa policy kicked in. Still, the U.S. has promised to promote “strong institutions, not strong men,” and to favor good governance and healthy economies over profit. How can U.S. policy live up to its promise and values while securing its interests in the region?

Transformation of Education through Public Policy

transformation of Education through Public Policy

June 18 2015 Indianapolis – Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson will headline Celebrating the Transformation of Education through Public Policy, a special evening hosted by The Mind Trust, to discuss their administrations’ work and experiences transforming public education.

Government Information Day: “The Digital Paradox: Practical Obscurity, The Right To Be Forgotten, And Other Threats To Access To Government Information”

digital paradox

May 7 2015 — Jane Kirtley, Director of Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, University of Minnesota

Government Information Day: “Exploring Congress.Gov”

exploring gov

May 7 2015 — Librarians & information professionals provide the crucial link between information and the communities we serve as well as a vital role in acquisition, organization, dissemination, and preservation of information, particularly government information.

Russia and Ukraine: Is Reconciliation Possible?

russia reconciliation

The Ukrainian revolution of 2014 and Russia’s response to it have disrupted the longstanding ties of religion and culture connecting the two nations. What, if anything, can the truth and reconciliation concept offer Russians and Ukrainians who seek to repair their relationship?

Truth and Reconciliation with Native America

native american reconciliation

February 24 2015 — Esther Attean and Denise Altvater, members of the Passamaquoddy tribe, are founders of the Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation program, a project involving the State of Maine and five Native American tribes.

Reconciliation in Islamic Thought and Practice

reconciliation islam

What can Muslim religious leaders and activists contribute to the politics of reconciliation in 21st-century conflicts?

Valerie Khokhar on India in transition

valerie gd india

May 13th 2015 — Valerie Khokhar discussed new Indian Prime Minister Modi with the Mid North Shepherd Center

Sectarianism in the Middle East

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Fait Muedini is a faculty member in the Department of International Studies at Butler University who researches issues of human rights, Islam and politics, and the politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

Infant Mortality in Indiana

indiana infant mortality

February 2015 — Jasper Sumner of IUPUI political science department and Lisa Mangifico of the Indiana Primary Health Care Association discuss why Indiana has such a sorry infant mortality rate.

Social Impact Bonds

social impact bonds

February 2015 — Jasper Sumner of IUPUI political science department and Lisa Mangifico of the Indiana Primary Health Care Association discuss a new way for government to contract to solve problems.

Two Key Indiana Legislators Discuss the Big Environmental Issues of Indiana

2014 greening

November 16 2013 — Rep. Dave Wolkins (R-Winona Lake), the long-time chairman of the House Environmental Committee and Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), the long-time senior minority member of the Indiana Senate Environmental Committee, discuss a variety of environmental issues: climate change, coal, CAFOs, building retrofits, mass transit, forestry.

Sheila Kennedy: Defending Reason in an Unreasonable Time

kennedy last lecture

March 27 2015 — The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” goes to the heart of political philosophy: what should that village look like?

A Conversation About Education: Talking about Testing

testing panel

November 17 2014 — Explore the whos, hows, whys, effects and implications of testing in our schools.

Documentary & Discussion on Standardized Testing

standardized panel

November 16 2014 — A panel discussion featured Carole Craig of the Greater Indianapolis NAACP; Kahlil Mwaafrika of KI Community School; Phillip Harris, co-author of “The Myths of Standardized Testing;” and moderator Mathew Davis of Localmotion.

American Graduate – IPS School Board Candidate Forum

ips board

October 23 2014 — Ten candidates vying for three spots on the Indianapolis School Board fielded questions on issues such as teacher pay and retention, class sizes, preschool and student behavior, especially charter schools.

Conversation About Education: The Homestretch


April 9 2015 — Prior to an April 13th broadcast of The Homestretch on WFYI Public Television, WFYI will host a panel discussion about issues raised in the film, such as poverty, foster youth, mental health, LBGT, immigrants and more.

Converastion About Education: Building a Better Teacher

building a better teacher cover photo

December 9 2014 — During this Conversation About Education, panelists discuss how and why the profession of teaching is changing and what the future of educating Indiana’s children might look like.

Marion County Youth “Speak Out” Summit MSD of Pike Township

youth speak out

January 22 — The Youth “Speak Out” Summit brought together 45-50 high school students from several Central Indiana school districts to discuss relevant issues facing our youth, illuminating challenges and identifying possible solutions.

Funding Schools in Indiana: Fairness, equality and the needs of children

funding schools in indiana

January 8 2015 — WFYI and partners Chalkbeat and the Indianapolis Public Library had a conversation about the challenges of school funding facing school districts across indiana, proposals to change the system and ideas for how to ensure all children are treated fairly

Environmental Health Challenges in Indiana: A Panel Discussion

hec panel

January 2015 — Three members of the Hoosier Environmental Council discuss a range of pressing environmental concerns in Indiana.

Global Cities Indianapolis: Building and Sustaining a Competitive Region

Amy forum small

Speakers at the forum provided context on the region’s position in the global marketplace and offered insight into how area leaders can leverage the Indianapolis metro area’s strengths to enhance the long-term prosperity of the region. The region’s Export Plan was released at the forum, aimed at expanding exports to rapidly growing global markets with the goal of diversifying regional economies.

Indianapolis Cities for Cycling Road Show

cities for cycling

May 9 2013 — The Road Show coincided with the ribbon-cutting for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a urban bike and pedestrian pathway running through the heart of Downtown Indy.

No Limits: Former Indy Mayor Bill Hudnut

nolimits hudnut

Dec 17, 2014 — Longtime Mayor of Indianapolis Bill Hudnut on political civility, leadership and leprechaun costumes.

Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates: A Dangerous and Enduring Fantasy

barlow lecture 2010

October 21 2010 — The talk explored the idea of the devoted black slave during the Civil War and how the historical memory of this form of human bondage continues to shape contemporary politics today.

Placemaking Along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

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March 31 2015 — Hailed by urban designers and critics at its 2011 debut, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects many of the city’s attractions. What can we learn about the Trail—and the coalition that built it—from the vantage of placemaking?

Will Scandals Spur Ethics Reform?


December 12 2014 — Recent ethics scandals inside the Indiana State House have spotlighted the weakness of Indiana’s ethics laws. Important legislative leaders have pledged to reform the system, but will they go far enough?

Living Wages As A Human Right

living wage

January 20 2015 — The Financial Impact of a Living Wage on Households and Communities; The Local, State, and National Living Wage Movement

“The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine” By Ilan Pappé


January 30 2015 — Dr. Pappé is the author of several books, including, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and most recently, The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge.

“Israel’s Assault On Gaza And The Future Of Palestine” By Norman Finkelstein


March 13 2015 — Norman Finkelstein’s primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by his parents, who were both Jewish Holocaust survivors.

People’s Assembly For A Living Wage @ the Statehouse

people assembly

March 23 2015 — “Are you tired of living in a state with low quality health care, poor worker’s rights, abysmal long-term care rating, high infant mortality, high gender wage gap, low quality environmental standards, and with majority of elected officials listening to the wealthy and not the majority of the people?”

Digital Transparency In Government: What We Have And What We Need

transparency panel

March 24 2015 — A Sunshine Week 2015 symposium sponsored by the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indiana Professional Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists

“Brazil In Metamorphosis” By Steve Cain

brazil gd 3

Speaking was Steve Cain, a retired UMC pastor who spent several years in Brazil as a missionary.

“Privacy In The Digital Age” By Scott Shackelford

shackleford digital age

Scott Shackelford is Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics ay the Kelley School at IU-Bloomington. He teaches cybersecurity, international business law, and sustainability among other courses

Terry Simmons on Russia’s nervous neighbors

terry simmons russia

Wednesday April 15 2015
Mid North Shepherd Center
Great Decisions
As calls for closer ties with the EU failed to be met, Ukrainians took to the streets in in November 2013. As the movement later known as the …

Soulaf Abas on the Syrian refugee crisis

soulaf abas

April 22nd — Soulaf Abas was born and raised in Damascus. Unable to return to Syria she turned her attention to refugee children in Jordan. She helped set up an art therapy program for kids who had lost everything.