Decoder: All’s fair in love, but not war

Decoder: All’s fair in love, but not war

There is an evolving global consensus that some acts of violence in warfare are not acceptable. But how in the world can we enforce that? Headquarters of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.   This article was produced exclusively for News...

Headlines about today’s international conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine paint atrocious pictures of war crimes and violent attacks. Are these actions sanctioned in the eyes of international humanitarian law? Correspondent and political science professor Daniel Warner of the Graduate Institute in Geneva gives an overview.

Exercise: Using this summary document from the Red Cross, print out 30-40 articles from the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. Cut each article out separately. Then, prepare a large board/poster for sorting and pasting the articles, divided into four sections: civilians, prisoners of war, wounded/sick, critical infrastructure. Have students read through each article and sort them within the four categories. As they learn more about the Conventions, you may consider bringing in current headlines to evaluate whether or not today’s conflicts have abided by these international humanitarian laws. Note: Consider creating 4-5 sets of article texts and sorting posters if you have a large class, or create a digital version via Google Slides.

Decoder: The economy of babies and borders

Decoder: The economy of babies and borders

Depopulation threatens the long term economic health of developed nations. At some point they will have to open their borders. An Italian Coast Guard boat carries migrants as tourists on boat, foreground, watch, near the port of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa,...

In this Decoder, correspondent Tiziana Barghini covers why changing demographics, increased life expectancy and outdated public policies may spell trouble for developed nations. Migration may be the solution.

Exercise: Using a word cloud generator or class participation tool like Mentimeter, have students contribute words that they think of when they hear the word “immigration” or “migration”. Create a word cloud with these words before reading the article as a class. Then, after reading the article, have students consider how their perspective on migration might have changed. Create a post-read word cloud and discuss what new insights students have learned from the article. 

Decoder: Poland shows the world why voting matters

Decoder: Poland shows the world why voting matters

Polish voters in three different political parties united to wrest control of the government from the conservative Law and Justice party. What happens now? People gather at a rally conducted by the opposition party ahead of the general election in Warsaw, Poland on 1...

Parliament, propaganda and political parties in Poland. In this Decoder, guest writer and former ND intern Karolina Krakowiak reflects on democracy in her home country — and the immense power of voting as a means to change. 

Exercise: After reading the article, have a discussion about civic engagement with your class. What does that look like in your country? How can young people get involved in improving the world around them? Why might some be disillusioned with the political system they are a part of? Then, divide students into groups of 3-4. Each group will come up with a slogan to encourage civic engagement in your local community. The class will vote on the best one.

Decoder: The peril of neglecting Middle East peace

Decoder: The peril of neglecting Middle East peace

Hamas shatters the illusion of Israeli control. Palestinian militants attend a funeral of people killed during an Israeli military raid on a Palestinian refugee camp, Nur Shams, in the West Bank 20 October, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)  This article was produced...

Context matters and history matters. In this text from ND correspondent and Middle East expert Alistair Lyon, help your students understand the history behind the headlines surrounding Israel and Palestine. 

Exercise: Read the article with your class, then have students create a timeline of key events mentioned in the text. Events may include: Hamas takes control of Gaza, Balfour Declaration, creation of Israel, British mandate to rule Palestine, British withdrawal from Middle East, the Holocaust, the Nakba, PLO 1988 declaration, founding of Hamas, Hamas wins parliamentary election, Oslo Accords, assassination of Itzhak Rabin, second Palestinian intifada, Israel withdraws from Gaza, Gaza blockade by Israel and Egypt. Is this long and complex history represented in social media posts and news stories about the conflict, or is it largely absent? Why and how does context matter?

Can the world enforce peace?

Can the world enforce peace?

Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the UN for failing to stop Russia’s invasion. But to do more would mean changing how the United Nations works. Ukraine’s president Zelensky criticizes the United Nations for not doing enough to stop the war, during...

ND photojournalist Enrique Shore takes us to the 78th UN General Assembly in his piece covering Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech condemning Russia’s invasion of his country. Is holding Russia accountable for its “unprovoked aggression” possible given the current United Nations structure?

Exercise: Read the article with your class, then have students analyze this political cartoon (symbolism, captions, dialogue, etc.). What parallels can students draw between the information in the article and the symbols in the political cartoon? How likely is reform of the current UN structure? Students can then create their own political cartoons depicting the structural tensions detailed in the article. 

Decoder: A seat at the table for funding climate change

Decoder: A seat at the table for funding climate change

The small island nation of Barbados is leading the call for international finance reform needed to fight the impacts of global warming. The world is listening. From the left, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, Netherlands’ Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag,...

June to August 2023 were the world’s hottest months on record, meaning the stakes are high to address climate change for all. This is especially true for small island nations and developing countries who do little to contribute to climate change, but disproportionately suffer its consequences. Correspondent Susanne Courtney digs into Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s plan to level the climate financing playing field in this Decoder.

Exercise: Inequities in climate financing loom large. Read the article with students, then have them explore this interactive visualization of historical greenhouse gas emissions by country and region. How does your country or region’s emissions compare to those of the world’s largest emitters? Create an infographic depicting this information, including a call to action for students to promote climate action in their local communities.

Politics