Global Politics

Global Puzzle

“It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts” – Bill Vaughan (1915-1977)

I had considered many different names for this page but settled on Global Politics largely because a friend of mine, and fellow teacher, told me about the new Global Politics IB course and sent me a copy of it. In my experience courses on International Relations/Affairs are often taught in one of three ways, (1) they emphasize traditional nation-state based power dynamics, (2) they emphasize important cultural values such as sovereignty and self-determination, human rights, peace and justice, and then examine cases where these rights conflict with existing power dynamics, or (3) classes are comprised of a mish-mash of current affair case studies through which students are supposed to learn some of the larger themes (human rights, international institutions, development, war, etc.).

Of course, a good class on global politics should consist of a strong mix of each. I think the IB model provides an excellent framework through its focus on understanding the perspectives of various peoples involved.

 

Useful Links

National Peace Corps Association Classroom Materials – Simply WOW. Comprehensive list of teacher resources on the web for global issues. There is a wealth of information here. This is the go-to page to find educational resources, useful reference links, virtual libraries, whatever a teacher could need.  Also there are several organizations through which classrooms can directly connect with other classrooms aboard.  Highly recommended.

The Council of Foreign Affairs produces wonderful teaching modules on diverse subjects such as the Bretton Woods conference, The daily lives of Afghan woman, economic development in Nigeria, etc.  Highly Recommended.  The New York Times Learning Network also has excellent modules and lesson plans on global affairs.

Journalism probably has more to offer a teacher of global politics than probably any other subject except maybe Current Affairs. Hence my recommend links in the sidebar are heavy with journalism sites. Comparing how the same stories are reported in different countries is very eye opening and makes for an excellent student activity.  I would recommend starting with Google News which makes it very easy to quickly gather and translate stories. Then move on to: Al JazeeraAsia TimesFox NewsChina DailyThe GuardianAl AhranTimes of IndiaEl PaisThe Rio TimesThe Moscow Times, etc… (the list goes on and on. See here for a list of the top 200 newspapers in the world).

PBS Wide Angle – Truly great journalism with a focus on international human interest stories and PBS has excellent education resources dedicated to International affairs.  The BBC learning center also has a very large and useful archive.

Global Voices – An international group of bloggers and citizen journalists. I also like The Arabist for a good round up of perspectives in the Middle East.

IRIN Humanitarian News & Analysis – This service of the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is an excellent source and is fully searchable by subject and country.

Global Issues – This site is an excellent repository of “social, political, economic, and environmental issues that affect us all.” It is fully searchable by subject and is very detailed.

Foreign Policy Magazine – Awhile back on a whim I signed up for the weekly email summary newsletter and I have been very pleased.  I don’t always have time to check the site, but there is always at least one or two articles worth knowing about. Very good for understanding evolving power dynamics.

Top US Politics Sites – Although our world is rapidly evolving into a multipolar world, one must still understand the perspective(s) of the United States in order to understand why it behaves the way it does. These sites pretty much cover the spectrum. In particular Real Clear Politics can be extremely useful for finding short thought-provoking opinion pieces from all sides of the debates. It is very easy to search and has just about every newspaper op-ed written in the last decade.

 

Reference Sites

United Nations (UN)

World Trade Organization (WTO)

World Bank

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Organization of American States (OAS)

Organization of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Labor Organization (ILO)

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

This is a great list of other important international organizations

 

Books

To be updated…

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