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Some buildings and features are so well known they have become icons of place.
This is a great collection of important world landmarks including the pictured Potala Palace in the Tibetan city of Lhasa. Who wouldn't like to see some of these places?
Tags: geo-inspiration, tourism, images.
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Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns
This is an interesting article; some seem the linkages that he is making between population growth and drought with war and conflict as being environmentally deterministic while others think that it is appropriately taking the geographic factors into consideration. Conflicts over water can erupt, but how much of the conflict can be attributed these factors? What do you think?
Tags: Syria, MiddleEast, conflict, political, water, environment,
A neo-malthusian explanation for the current situation in the Middle East
"Another refugee camp opened today in Mrajeeb al-Fhood, Jordan, to accommodate the reported 1,500 to 2,000 Syrians fleeing to Jordan daily. Just over a year ago the Big Picture posted an entry of the growing number of people displaced due to the conflict that now has lasted over two years. The United Nations recently said a total of around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving their country daily; there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more have been displaced inside Syria since the start of the conflict. Posted here is another glimpse of daily life for those displaced since the beginning of this year."
These 37 images are excellent, but I chose to share this particular one, because the combination of poverty and happiness embody the purpose behind refugee camps. While the living conditions are grim and far from ideal, they are better than the alternative for these refugees and the assistance that they are receiving from the international community can be a ray of hope for the future of these children. In this picture, Syrian refugee children play in Sidon, located in southern Lebanon.
Tags: Syria, migration, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.
"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."
Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.
Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil). This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran.
Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.
In early November 2012, three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of the Golan Heights. The move by Syria is the first violation of the zone in 40 years and concerns countries of the region. Since then some of the Syrian rebels have also been reported operating in Golan Heights.
This article (orginally featured on maps101.com, the educational wing of maps.com) is a great starting point for learning about the geopolitical significance of the Golan Heights.
Tags: Syria, MiddleEast, conflict, Israel, borders, political.
The Golan Heights is a major source of the Jordan River. Its mountains border along Lebanon and Syria and provide rain and snowmelt to feed the river to provide a vital water source (strategic area and vital water source). Israel took it in 1967 - and the DMZ was entered by war torn Syria in November 2012 .
The DMZ was entered by Syria and Israel reported this to the UN ....so, as civil war in Syria threatens its neighbors , there is a fear of retaliation that may occur in the Gaza Strip as well.
This map can be used to illustrate not only the political and cultural significance of the Golan Heights, but also its environmental significance as a source of water for the Jordan-Yarmuk River Valley
Heres some info on how poeple have been living in regards to a troubled area of the world.
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.
As drought conditions have hit the Middle East, growing populations are using more water per capita then ever. See this on Google Earth with this KMZ file.
Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.
Great Google Earth resources looking at the shrinking of water storage in the Middle East. Critical reading for our water unit and a superb example of how powerful imaging like Google Earth can be.
What we don't learn from the past is bound to repeat itself-over and over again.
The effects of war can be staggering and far-reaching. Often the costs are much higher than anticipated at the beginning. Read this press release for more details on the recent findings regarding the actual costs of the Iraq War, which are estimated to have cost over 190,000 lives and $2.2 trillion.
Tags: Iraq, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.
Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.
In northern Saudi Arabia near Jordan, oil resources are sparse and so is surface water. Water might just be the more important liquid natural resource, especially for sustaining a population. There are underground water reserves that are stored in aquifers, layers of rock that hold water. The water that collects in aquifers may take many years to replenish so this practice is sometimes referred to as water mining.
Question to ponder: If Saudi Arabia is rich enough to buy their own food and they are at a competitive disadvantage for food production, why would they invest so much money on farming marginal lands?
Tags: food, agriculture, water, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, unit 5 agriculture.
Iran's geography plays heavily in the foreign affairs issues it is a part of, and the policies it makes.
"Iran sits smack in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions on Earth. Much of its western flank is bordered by either Iraq or the Persian Gulf, and it has considerable control over one of the world’s most important waterways for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz."
Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should know beyond the three main facts that that most Americans are aware of (Iran has an Islamic-based government, an emerging nuclear program and a ton of oil). This article is a good starting point.
Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.
TED Talks At TEDGlobal University, Shereen El Feki shows how some Arab cultures are borrowing trademarks of Western pop culture -- music videos, comics, even Barbie -- and adding a culturally appropriate twist.
This TED talk cleverly discusses the cultural processes of globalization by examining two examples from the Islamic world. The examples of the TV station 4Shbab and the comic book series The 99 show that all global cultural interactions don’t have to result in a homogenous “melting pot.” Local cultural forces can tap into the powers of globalized culture that can create dynamic local cultures that are both intensely local and global.
Questions to Ponder: What does the speaker mean when she by refers to cultural interactions as a mesh (as a opposed to a clash or mash) of civilizations? What other examples of cultural meshes can you see that show these processes?
Tags: TED, religion, culture, Islam, globalization, popular culture, unit 3 culture.
This speaker gives examples of gobalization in action, but explains how cultures adapt new concepts and ideas to fit in with their own ideals.
What type of diffusion is this? Also an example of ______________
CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.
Most everyone knows about the importance of Middle Eastern oil to the global economy and how that impacts geopolitics. What isn't well-known is that the Middle East's own demand for oil has been increasing as their wealth and standard of living has been rising. This chart does not show the amount of oil consumption, but the "energy intensity." This is the amount of energy (often oil) used to produce a unit of GDP for a country's economy.
Questions to Ponder: How will this change oil-producing countries economic development in the future? How does this make us re-assess these economies? Does this impact how we think about climate change issues?
Tags: energy, resources, Middle East, development.
"Most everyone knows about the importance of Middle Eastern oil to the global economy and how that impacts geopolitics. What isn't well-known is that the Middle East's own demand for oil has been increasing as their wealth and standard of living has been rising. This chart does not show the amount of oil consumption, but the "energy intensity." This is the amount of energy (often oil) used to produce a unit of GDP for a country's economy.
Questions to Ponder: How will this change oil-producing countries economic development in the future? How does this make us re-assess these economies? Does this impact how we think about climate change issues?"
The Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining power in several countries since the Arab Spring. The rise of Islamist power in the Middle East is culturally and politically complex. This interactive lets the user click on selected countries to see how groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas are impacting them politically.
Tags: Middle East, religion, Islam, political.
Watch this Jewish Voice for Peace 6 minute mini-primer about why Israelis and Palestinians are fighting..This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth. In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives. Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.
This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth. In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives.
Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.
The hunger crisis in the Sahel region of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad has been deepening since the start of this year.
The Sahel is a classic transition zone--a border that is not a sharp division, but a gradual shift from one region to the next. This area has environmentally marginal lands, but is as population pressures continue, marginal lands need to sustain more people.
"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements. The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics." This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).
Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.
Recently, Five women activists have been arrested for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Israeli policewomen detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site, which only allow men to dress this way. This is Judaism's most holy site and orthodox traditions govern the legal code over who is permitted to be in this place and what they may do; this fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).
Tags: perspective, Israel, culture, gender. religion, culture, Middle East.
"[This video] explores the idea Western “cultural invasion” into Saudi Arabia, and satirizes Saudi views of America in the process. The influence of Western, particularly American, culture is a big, touchy topic in much of the world, with people torn between their love of Michael Jackson and their desire to patronize compatriots over foreigners. It’s about national pride and about preserving one’s own culture. For English captions (click the little 'CC' button in the bottom-right corner after pressing play).
Skip to about 3:15 to see the segment on the Western 'cultural invasion' of Saudi Arabia and, appropriately, a very funny bit on attempting a 'reverse cultural invasion' of Saudi cultural in America."
--Max Fisher in the Washington Post
Given that Saudi Arabia's government is a strict theocratic kingdom, many people imagine that those ideas and values are representative of the general population and imagine austere and unyielding personalities. This video shows something we ratherly see in the West, local humor from Saudi Arabia that critiques their own cultural institutions.
Tags: Saudi Arabia, Middle East, globalization, culture.
well, we all need a good laugh in the troubled world we live in.
This map show Mother's Day celebration dates around the world.
While most of the world celebrates Mother's day in May, March 21st (the vernal equinox) is day most countries in the Middle East celebrate Mother's Day. So, why might the first day of spring be the day used to honor mothers? Hint: think about agricultural cycles and fertility symbols. Happy Mother's Day!
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.
Some folk cultures, such as the Samaritans, have historically intermarried and have been plagued by genetic diseases. Recently, they have turned to global solutions to their local demographic woes. "Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community."
Tags: folk culture, gender, population, Russia, religion, culture, Middle East.
-Introduction (1 minute) -Sign up for a free Prezi account and give your students background with the Syria the Basics PREZI . (5 minutes) - Follow up with another PREZI about Youth...
Have you wanted to teach about current events in Syria but weren't sure where to start? This resource suggested by the Arizona Geographic Alliance has lesson plans, materials and resources for all grades.
Tags: Syria, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.
"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."
This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography. Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.
The number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict and crossed the borders hasn't ceased to increase.
UNICEF workers have stated: "More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands. We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood."
Tags: Syria, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.
As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world. Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries. The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war. This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty.
UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.
Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.
How to handle it?
A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.
This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table. Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel. This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem.
Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping.
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.
While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations. 65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system. This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing.
Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain? Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained? With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?
I'll let Douglas Keeney's own words and this image speak for themselves: "The geography of human conflict as seen from space at night. The Strait of Hormuz as seen at night from the space station is a beautiful lesson in the geography of conflict. How much we learn by simply tracing the fingers of human populations as seen superimposed over the geography of Earth. Enjoy."
-From Lights of Mankind: Earth at Night From Space
What would a picture look like from a drone's perspective? Where are these places that are being targeted? This Instagram account is incredibly thought-provoking and informative.