Decoder: The United Nations struggles to be the world’s peacekeeper

Decoder: The United Nations struggles to be the world’s peacekeeper

Where diplomacy balances demagoguery, should one nation be able to veto the votes of 192 others? Giving peace a chance might just be too much to ask. Non–Violence or The Knotted Gun by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, UN New York. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 Hands up if you...

Global citizenship and cross-border collaboration has never mattered more. Among the 193 nations that make up the United Nations, the island nation of Tuvalu – less than 13,000 people – has the same vote on referendums in the General Assembly as China, which has more than 1 billion people. But China also serves on the UN Security Council and so can veto any proposal. Because of this strange inequity, the UN has been unable to stop ethnically-driven massacres, genocidal persecution of minorities and other smaller conflicts. On the other hand, it is bringing the world together on climate change. 

Exercise: Turn your class into a mini United Nations. Each student will get one vote. But appoint a small number of students to also serve on the Security Council. (You might choose the tallest, biggest students to emphasize the idea of power imbalance.) Have students propose changes that should be made by the school or your class. Then have the students on the Security Council see if they are willing to endorse the idea, with any one student on it given the power to quash the proposal. Then have students discuss the pros and cons of that structure and the power of the veto.

Tory chaos shakes UK unity and stirs mockery abroad

Tory chaos shakes UK unity and stirs mockery abroad

Britain’s Conservative Party won a landslide in 2019. Now the Tories and their elite are the butt of jokes overseas as polls point to possible humiliation. 10 Downing Street, the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister, in London, 20 October...

Politics can seem boring to some young people. But in Britain it is anything but. Correspondent Barry Moody takes us through the musical chairs of British prime ministers and shows how political divisions inside the British government over Brexit, taxes and the economy could lead to a breakup of the United Kingdom. 

Exercise: Create teams of five. Each team should choose one member to be prime minister. The other four students should each take on the roles of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They should each do some basic research on their region’s current relationship with the British government. The student who is the prime minister will research and consider the importance of having these countries united into one government. Together they will create a poster that explains the individual identities of the four countries and how they benefit or are disadvantaged by their subordination to a united government.

Tag: democracy