Current Issues

The United States in Afghanistan

The United States in Afghanistan brings students into the policy debate about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Students begin by exploring Afghanistan’s culture and history, and then examine the events that led to the Soviet invasion, the arrival of Osama bin Laden, and the situation today.

China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response

China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response focuses attention on the United States' evolving relationship with China. Students explore the history of Western relations with China and consider the global impact of China's economic growth, societal transformation, and increasing international involvement.

Climate Change and Questions of Justice

Climate Change and Questions of Justice explores the causes and effects of global warming and delves into questions of who is most responsible for and vulnerable to the changing climate. Students grapple with how to respond to climate change at local, national, and international levels in ways that are both effective and fair.

History, Revolution, and Reform: New Directions for Cuba

History, Revolution, and Reform: New Directions for Cuba traces Cuba’s history from the country’s precolonial past to its most recent economic, social, and political changes. Students re-create the discussions Cubans on the island are having about their country’s future.

Dilemmas of Foreign Aid: Debating U.S. Policies

In Dilemmas of Foreign Aid: Debating U.S. Policies, students explore the history of U.S. foreign assistance and the institutions that distribute aid today. Readings, case studies, and primary sources prepare students to consider the trade-offs of foreign aid and articulate their own views on the future direction of U.S. policy.

Confronting Genocide: Never Again?

Confronting Genocide: Never Again? traces the evolution of the international community's response to genocide and examines how the United States has responded to six cases of genocide. Students consider how the United States should respond in the future if confronted with another genocide.

Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy

Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy draws students into the debate on the role of human rights in U.S. policy. Through readings and activities students explore the history of international human rights and consider various options for defining and protecting rights.

Immigration and the U.S. Policy Debate

Immigration and the U.S. Policy Debate helps students examine the historical and current dimensions of immigration, a topic that has become a key focus of U.S. policy. Through readings and activities, students explore past immigration laws and consider different policy options for the future.

Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads

Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads involves students in Mexico's wrenching economic and cultural transformation. The unit probes Mexico's complex identity and history and brings students face-to-face with the difficult policy choices confronting the people of Mexico today.

The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy

The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy draws students into the U.S. policy debate on one of the world's most important regions. Students examine the role of oil in geopolitics, the issues between Israel and the Palestinians, the significance of the Iranian Revolution, and other historical issues that have shaped U.S. relations in the region.

Nigeria: History, Identity, and Change

Nigeria: History, Identity, and Change invites students to explore Nigeria’s history—from the precolonial to the present—and think about what the country’s future might look like.

Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea and the Nuclear Threat

North Korea with nuclear weapons is one of the most pressing issues facing the international community today. The Choices Program has developed a new Current Issues Lesson to help students better understand the domestic and international issues around North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Below are some additional resources on this topic.

The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons

The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons introduces students to the history of nuclear weapons and the concept of deterrence. It examines arguments for and against nuclear weapons and looks at three challenges facing us today: the leftover arsenals of the Cold War, proliferation, and the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Russia’s Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy

Russia's Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy helps students consider the U.S. relationship with Russia and its neighbors. Students survey the economic issues and political developments that have shaped the outlook of policymakers in the Kremlin and Washington.

Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy

Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy addresses the issues arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks and the continuing threat of terrorism. Students consider the changing nature of terrorism, the motivations of terrorists, and the policy challenges for the United States.

International Trade in a Globalized World

International Trade in a Globalized World helps students explore the controversies surrounding international trade. Students consider the issues that affect trade including globalization in the United States and abroad.

Empire, Republic, Democracy: 
Turkey’s Past and Future

Empire, Republic, Democracy: Turkey’s Past and Future traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire and the history of the Turkish Republic. Students explore the legacies of Atatürk’s sweeping reforms and then grapple with the same questions and challenges facing people in Turkey today.

The United Nations: Challenges and Change

The United Nations: Challenges and Change helps students consider the record of the United Nations since its founding. Students examine the UN’s role in the world through an evaluation of three areas of UN work: the Security Council, peacekeeping, and human rights.

A Global Controversy: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq

A Global Controversy: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq draws students into the public debate on the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Readings and activities provide students with an overview of the history of Iraq, help students understand events surrounding the U.S. led-invasion, and explore the effects of the war on Iraqi society, the United States, and the international community.
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