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The United Nations: Challenges and Change
Third edition. November 2011.
The United Nations: Challenges and Change introduces students to the idea of "collective security." At the turn of the twenty-first century, the United Nations is at the center of world affairs. With 191 Member States and a vast network of global agencies, the UN undertakes work ranging from environmental regulation to refugee resettlement. Since Franklin Roosevelt steered the UN's formation, the United States has provided leadership and wielded unmatched influence within the United Nations. Today, as the international community debates changes to the UN, the United States must consider the role it will play within the organization. Behind this question is the more fundamental question of how the UN should fit into future international affairs.
A series of readings trace the emergence of the League of Nations to the formation of the United Nations. Students will examine the UN's role in the world through an evaluation of three areas of UN work - the Security Council, peacekeeping, and the Commission on Human Rights. Each of these sections draws on case studies to foster thoughtful consideration of the UN's achievements and shortcomings.
The Choices Role Play
A role play at the heart of the unit engages students in consideration of a range of alternatives for U.S. policy on this issue. Each of the three viewpoints, or Options, is based in a distinct set of values or beliefs. Each takes a different perspective on the role of the United States in the world and its relationship with the UN. After considering the three Options, students are expected to articulate their own perspective on the issues.
Comparing the League and the UN
After compiling and organizing relevant data, students compare the UN to the League of Nations and determine their own set of priorities for international government organizations.
Writing a Charter
To comprehend the complexities of constructing a "founding document," students write a charter for a hypothetical high school sports conference.
Role-Playing a UN Decision
Taking on roles of the Security Council member nations, students weigh in on possible responses to a hypothetical situation and evaluate the UN decision-making process from multiple perspectives.
Role-Playing the Three Options
Working cooperatively to develop and present different U.S. policy options to U.S. Senators, students are able to clarify and evaluate alternative policy recommendations.
Deliberating UN Reforms
Students work in small groups to deliberate and refine individual proposals for UN reform.