Choices Blog

A Vote on Turkey’s Future

Susannah Bechtel

On April 16, Turkish citizens will go to the polls to vote on a package of constitutional amendments. The package proposes fundamental changes to Turkey’s parliamentary system of government—it would expand the powers of the presidency and dissolve the position of prime minister, among other changes. Public opinion is split on the referendum, and many […]

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Login to Learn—The Global Refugee Crisis: Where Do We Go from Here?

Andy Blackadar

Login to a talk on the global refugee crisis with the Choices Program Leadership Institute, Friday, July 15, 1-2:30. Expert Madeline Campbell will discuss her work with refugees from Iraq and Syria at camps and communities throughout the Middle East, the confounding global circumstances, and strategies for addressing this growing crisis. The UN reports that a tragic record […]

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Brazil: Curriculum Development, or Sometimes History Happens While You Write

Andy Blackadar

For the past year, the Choices Program has been working on a complete revision of its curriculum resources on Brazil. The project is a collaboration with the Brazil Initiative at the Watson Institute at Brown University and incorporates fantastic scholarship, new lessons, and videos. We hope to publish the new materials in the coming weeks. The new (and as you’ll see, […]

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Refugee Stories—Mapping a Crisis

Susannah Bechtel

“I was just a mother taking care of her children and living in Homs…. I enjoyed life. One day I’d spend an evening with my friends, another day I’d go to a birthday party. That was our life…. Now it’s all gone.” —Umm Ala’a, Syrian refugee in Lebanon What does a ten-year-old boy, working alongside […]

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South Africa: News Engagement Series #1

Danielle Johnstone

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.” News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available […]

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Money in Politics

Danielle Johnstone

“Elections should be determined by who has the best ideas, not who can hustle the most money from the rich and powerful.” There are the words of Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democrat nomination for the 2016 presidential election, famous for being a self-described democratic socialist and the longest serving independent in Congress. While […]

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A Changing Cuba

jdf@brown.edu

Since December 17, 2014, when Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced that the U.S. and Cuba would normalize relations after over fifty years without any diplomatic ties, Cuba has dominated U.S. headlines. Some people see this historic shift as the latest in a series of short, dramatic periods of change that characterize Cuban history—starting with […]

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Mexico: Searching for a Safe Future

Danielle Johnstone

  In September 2014, in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, first-year students from the teacher training college of Ayotzinapa came into conflict with the police, who fired on their bus. During the confrontation, forty-three of these students disappeared. The remains of only one of the students have been found. Guerrero is known as one of […]

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Young People Take Action on Climate Change

jdf@brown.edu

“Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come. I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world […]

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Can We Trust Iran?

jdf@brown.edu

“If the nuclear crisis is ever to get resolved, now is the time for it to get resolved.” —Payam Mohseni, Director of Iran Project, Harvard University With the deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program drawing near, The New York Times put out a video today outlining what is at stake in the Iran negotiations.   […]

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Nukes Over North Carolina—Were We Lucky?

Susannah Bechtel

On January 24, 1961, two hydrogen bombs crashed to the ground outside Goldsboro, North Carolina. One hit a field at 700 miles per hour and shattered without detonating. The other remained intact after its parachute was snared by the branches of a tree. The plane carrying the bombs was a U.S. B-52 bomber. After taking […]

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How Do We Know the Climate is Changing?

jdf@brown.edu

“You will never see a headline that says ‘Climate change broke out today.’” —Andrew Revkin, New York Times reporter, 2007 Scientists around the world are confident that human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are drastically changing the climate. They draw this conclusion from a broad collection of evidence, including that: over the past decade, sea […]

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Why Does Climate Change Matter?

jdf@brown.edu

That the climate is changing, and that human activity is playing a substantial role in accelerating that change, is not a new discovery. About one hundred years ago, a Swedish chemist first calculated how human emissions of greenhouse gases might influence global average temperatures. At the Earth Summit in 1992—the largest gathering of international leaders […]

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Free Speech: From Skokie to Paris

Susannah Bechtel

On January 7, 2015, two gunmen attacked the Paris headquarters of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and killed twelve people. The attacks are presumed to be in response to several controversial cartoons that the magazine published depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The events have ignited a global debate on the topic of freedom of speech, explored […]

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Why is Nigeria important?

Danielle Johnstone

Choices recently released a Teaching with the News lesson on Nigeria and Boko Haram. In fact, Nigeria has been a country of interest in the Choices writers’ room this year—from this free lesson on the largest security threat faced by the country to inclusion as one of the key case studies in our soon-to-be-released full-length […]

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Breaking the Mold On Cuba

Andy Blackadar

  This classic cartoon on U.S.-Cuba relations from 2004 pretty neatly illustrates 50 years of a relationship frozen in place. That’s done. A chapter from the Cold War has come to a close, but what comes next? There are many questions that are getting attention in the news right now. These questions also offer opportunities for high […]

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Too Many Funerals

Andy Blackadar

One of the interesting things about the protests of the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York is how they are understood and interpreted.  TV news or the headlines tend to focus and report on them as responses to the grand jury decisions themselves, which they certainly are. But a long history is also at play here that can get missed […]

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The United States, Iran, and Flipping the Coin on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Danielle Johnstone

For many this November, anticipating the outcomes of soon-concluding nuclear negotiations with Iran seems impossible. The idea that we could only predict the resolution (or lack thereof) with a “coin toss” is complicated by this video by Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares fund. This concept of the interdependence of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament brings […]

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The Umbrella Movement and Trends of Modern Protest

jdf@brown.edu

Over the past five years, we have seen a surge of public uprisings around the world. From Tunis, Cairo, and Madrid to Istanbul, Kiev, and Caracas, people have turned to public protest and civil disobedience to express frustration with their countries’ distinct social, economic, and political states. The Choices Program has just published a new […]

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Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the State of the Union

lmelliot@brown.edu

“This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort. It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.” -Lyndon B. […]

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Update: Debating the U.S. Response to Syria

lmelliot@brown.edu

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it.”       —President Obama […]

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Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empiricism

Andy Blackadar

Afghanistan will continue to be a topic of debate in U.S. foreign policy, and will likely garner extra attention because of the presidential election.

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