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The Geography Classroom
Linking geographic concepts to human and environmental issues
Curated by Elisha Upton
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Ghosts Of Rwanda

This chilling documentary outlines the historical genocide of Tutsi people predominantly by Hutu's in Rwanda during 1994. So often, students who have always lived within a society with effective political institutions are unable to see how such atrocities could even happen. This video lays the groundwork for understanding the disintegration of political institution within Rwanda, reasons the international community underestimated the threat, why the UN in 1994 (after Somalia) was not prepared to use forceful action and why westerners fled. In this state of lawlessness, the cultural tensions and colonial legacy lead to horrific killings. This genocide has no one reason, but a complex set of geographic contexts. This would be a powerful video to show students. WARNING: considering the content, there are necessarily depictions of death.  To learn more about the documentary, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/


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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 31, 2012 12:30 PM
In this situation I look at America and I can't help but ask "Why didn't you help?" These people were getting killed for no good reason, and we as a nation knew this and did nothing. I'm ashamed that we didn't aid them, my heart goes out for the Rwandan people.
Nick Flanagan's curator insight, December 12, 2012 8:08 PM

while watching this video i was reminded of the very good film Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle.  The only difference is while Hotel Rwanda is based on a ture story, this is a real life look at what was hapening in this area.  It was sad to see hwat was happening and all I could wonder was why no one decided to hel pthem. 

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The 2011 Failed States Index

The 2011 Failed States Index | The Geography Classroom | Scoop.it

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  Foreign Policy, in conjunction with the Fund for Peace, has created a statistical ranking to measure the lack of effective political institutions.  For the 4th year running, Somalia has been statistically measured as the most failed state on Earth. Chad and Sudan are respectively ranked as the 2nd and 3rd most failed states.The 12 metrics that are a part of this index are:

•Demographic Pressures 

•Refugees/IDPs

•Illegitimate Govts.

•Brain Drain

•Public Services

•Inequality

•Group Grievances

•Human Rights

•Economic Decline

•Security Forces

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention


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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 16, 2012 9:57 PM
The global fallout of the Arab revolutions may be largely determined by demographics and political stability. Unlike Somalia for example which is in total anarchy, the Arab Spring uprisings occurred in more stable but oppressive governments. So this brings up the question, can a failed state rescue itself?
Derek Ethier's comment, November 5, 2012 2:35 PM
Althought sub-Saharan Africa has 5 of the 10 most quickly developing countries, they still lag very far behind the rest of the world in quality of living. Somalia, Chad and Suda are the most failed states on Earth, in order. The governments are unable to protect/provide for their people, brain drains suck the great minds to more developed countries, income inequalities ravage the nations, basic human rights are denied and the economies are pathetic. Overall, it is a sad story as many of these African nations also suffer from drought, famine and massive food shortages.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 4:11 PM

 I wonder why it is difficult for states to be formed. I would think it would be great because the village people won’t be forced to make big decisions they can just hire someone to do it for them. But in the other hand there would be other people who will make it difficult for them and will ruin it for everyone else. Becoming a state can change there live. They should have approved to become a state.

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NCSS: War and Terrorism

NCSS: War and Terrorism | The Geography Classroom | Scoop.it

The resources tab of the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) webpage is a treasure trove of lesson plan materials for teachers. This particular link focuses on War and Terrorism, and provides resources to help teachers to educate their classes about the emerging geopolitical landscape. This is a set of over 30 lesson plans, articles, maps and resources that focus on the U.S. war in Iraq, terrorism, and other military incursions in the Middle East. Collectively they give geographic perspective on current events so students can understand more about the places in the world that they hear about in the news.


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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 4:24 PM

This must be a great teaching plan so students can be thought about what is going on in the world. It also shows them what is going on in Iraq and in the Middle East and it could probably trigger one of them to fight back and change the Middle East from all the discrimination towards women and probably destroy all these bad groups that just have a motive to destroy and kill.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 10:34 AM

Before 9/11 a lot of Americans didnt know much about the war on terrorism, It wasnt till after the attacks when they were directly affected did they bother to learn more about it to know why it happened and if something like it would happen again. 

Max Minard's curator insight, May 26, 2015 8:32 PM

This article brings up the topic of educating students on the major topics of current political affairs and serious terrorist incursions in the Middle East and other parts of the world. As it says, it contains 30 lesson plans that all focus on providing resources and factual information on current events that involve US war in Iraq and terrorism. I personally think that this course will successfully provide students with a better knowledge on what's actually happening around them. This can further lead them to knowing how to handle these situations in the future, where they must lead the United States. It will better prepare them for future roles in government.