The Legacy of Colonialism in Africa and the Middle East
The unit began with a case study looking at the political history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Belgian colonization to the present. Students also explored the issues of ‘conflict diamonds’ and participated in an arms trade simulation to understand how the illegal sale of resources such as diamonds and timber can be used to fund civil wars in countries like Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Now students are examining the impact of colonialism in the Middle East. They began with a study of the three major religions in the Middle East. Students created posters, books, and even videos to compare the similarities and differences among Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Next, they analyzed maps of the Middle East showing its physiography and ethnic, religious, and population distributions at the end of World War One. Working in groups, their task was to create borders for six new Middle Eastern nations and to justify their decisions. This helped them to understand better how the borders drawn by Britain and France after World War I affected the region.
Students then assumed the role of United Nations representatives to analyze five events in the Arab-Israeli conflict and make decisions on how to respond to those events. After they debated how well the United Nations responded to each event and how the decisions impacted the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Students are now working on research projects in which they are examining an issue dividing Israelis and Palestinians and proposing solutions to resolve the conflict.
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