Title: What Do We Do About Dues?329

Key Words: Cooperation, conflict, peacekeeping, refugees, human rights, economic and social progress.

National Standard: 13
How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.

State Standard: 13
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of human systems on Earth's surface including the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations; the nature and complexity of patterns of cultural diffusion; patterns and networks of economic interdependence; processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement; and the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape human geographic divisions.

Teaching Level: H

Lesson Introduction: To date, the United States has failed to pay the recent dues which we owe to the United Nations. Some people have expressed a reluctance to pay, perceiving the U.N. as only a peacekeeping force, one with a mixed record.

The following lesson plan introduces the other activities of the United Nations to students. Students should then be better able to evaluate whether or not the United States should support the United Nations.

Objectives/Purpose: To define "conflict" and "cooperation"; to analyze the activities of the United Nations; to evaluate whether or not the United States should pay its dues to the United Nations.

Materials: Internet connections to the official United Nations web site
http://www.unsystem.org/index7.html
; information and free materials to be ordered from sources listed on that site.

Procedure: l. Ask students to define "conflict" and "cooperation." Discuss circumstances under which each may be an effective tool. Discuss as well the relative costs of conflict and cooperation.

2. Give one student who has worked hard in class a pass for a free evening without homework. Ask the rest of the class if they would like to have that pass. Discuss the means by which they might go about obtaining it (force; purchase, if they have money, etc.).
Discuss in a personal sense the relative costs of conflict and cooperation in this specific instance. [Point out that the teacher is the peacekeeping agency in this case and will, by setting rules, prevent problems. The pass will be honored only for the student originally designated.]

3. Ask students what the purposes are of the United Nations. Make a list of their answers on the overhead.

4. Point out that the United States owes a great deal of money to the United Nations in overdue dues. Ask students if they think the United States should make this payment, given the government deficit and needs within this country. Discuss at length.

5. Note for students that while many people are familiar with the peacekeeping functions of the United Nations, others are much less familiar with the agencies which promote human rights and social and economic progress.

6. Provide students with the official Internet address for United Nations information listed above. Using this source or standard print materials, students should be able to learn about the functions of the United Nations agencies.

7. Display a list of U.N. agencies on the overhead. Some of them are: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD), World Food Programme (WFR), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), World Bank (IBRD), World Trade Organization(WTO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), International Computing Centre (ICC), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Students should choose one of the agencies on the list and work either individually or in pairs to investigate the agency for homework. They are to summarize its activities and accomplishments and speculate on what the repercussions might be on the international level if the activities were to cease.
What conflicts might result? What other mechanisms for cooperation might be developed? Who would pay for those alternative agencies?

8. On the second day, students will report on the results of their research. 9. As a whole group, discuss whether or not the United States should pay its dues to the United Nations.

Evaluation/Assessment: Student answers to discussion questions on cooperation and conflict; student research through the Internet and other sources on the work of the United Nations agencies; student analysis of the United Nations' accomplishments; student evaluation of whether or not the United States should pay its dues.

Extension/Enrichment: Students might investigate further the work of one particular agency. Of special interest to many is the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Like the other agencies, UNHCR has its own web site [http://www.unhcr.ch]

There are lesson plans available on that site, one which provides ideas on the literature of the refugees, another which deals with art.
The site lists materials which may be ordered free, among them Refugee Children, a brochure; Make a Little Difference, a free video about children's ideas on how to deal with the refugee issue; Combating Hate and Destruction, a free video clip; Passages, a free simulation game about what it is like to be a refugee; and All Different, All Equal, a free educational packet with ideas, resources, methods, and activities.

Some of the ideas suggested on the teacher portion of the site are having students plan a refugee site [How would you arrange for waste disposal? What would the impact of a refugee camp be on local water resources?] and having students assess the contributions by refugees to the community in which they settle.

Additional Standards: National standard 9 (migrations and populations), standard 10 (cultural mosaics), standard 11 (economic interdependence); standard 14 (human actions modify the environment); standard 18 (interpret the present and plan for the future); state standard 14 (human/physical systems and resources); standard 15 (interpret the past and present and plan for the future).

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.

Thank you,

The authors.


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