Choices Workshops

"Choices for the 21st Century Education Program," developed at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, is now used by 7,500 secondary schools across the nation. A key part of the World Affairs Council’s International Education Program, materials from Choices are compatible with the Texas Education Agency’s "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" (TEKS). The program seeks to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and participatory habits to be engaged citizens who are capable of addressing international issues through thoughtful public discourse and informed decision making.

Twice a year, the World Affairs Council will host workshops for teachers based on the Choices curriculum – day-long sessions aimed at helping teachers incorporate historical and current international issues into their lesson plans. Teachers receive printed curriculum and online supplements for each lesson, including maps, graphic organizers, audio and video clips, memoirs, articles, recommended websites and further reading – all ready to be used in the classroom. The Choices materials are concise, accessible and very up-to-date, with most published in the last two or three years. In addition, certain topical subjects are covered in online lessons to stay right on top of the latest current events.

Upcoming Events

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

Third edition. May 2013.

Date: August 13

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of an era for U.S. foreign policy. With the Soviet threat gone, U.S. foreign policy lost its primary focus. Many Americans turned away from issues overseas and put their former enemy out of their minds.

Yet, the former Soviet Union still casts an enormous shadow. Russia, by far the largest of the fifteen former Soviet states, is a giant among nations. The country covers one seventh of the earth's land and contains huge reserves of oil, gas, minerals, and other natural resources. It assumed control of most of the Soviet Union's powerful military and its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Russia possesses a nuclear arsenal comparable to that of the United States and a powerful army. Washington and Moscow are no longer the bitter enemies they were during the Cold War, but neither are they allies. For all of these reasons, the relationship between Russia and the United States remains extremely important. Russia's Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy draws students into the debate on U.S. policy towards Russia.

Location: Region 11 in Fort Worth.

Materials, lunch and 7 PD hours provided.

Register for this workshop by clicking below. Due to this ongoing issue, we must charge $25 to anyone that 'no shows' for the workshop. Your credit card will be charged $1 at time of registration to keep the number on file if needed in the event of a 'no show'.

Register now



Free 2014 Choices: Mexico Workshop (Teachers)

Mexico has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last twenty years. The end of one-party rule and an effort to embrace globalization have led to profound changes in Mexican society. Mexico's historical experience and unique cultural heritage continue to shape and inform Mexican society. Caught Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads seeks to bring Mexico's national identity and history into sharper focus for high school students. Students are asked to see the world through Mexican eyes and to contemplate current Mexican choices in the areas of economic development, political reform, and foreign relations.

Location: Visit Addison!

Materials, lunch and 7 PD hours will be given at no cost.

Register for this workshop by clicking below. Due to this ongoing issue, we must charge $25 to anyone that 'no shows' for the workshop. Your credit card will be charged $1 at time of registration to keep the number on file if needed in the event of a 'no show'.

Register now



Past Events:

Free 2014 Choices: Immigration Workshop (Teachers)

U.S. Immigration Policy in an Unsettled World

Date: June 16

Fifteenth edition. September 2013.

For generations, war, rapidly changing economies, and the quest for opportunity have driven people from around the world to the United States. Today, immigration in record numbers continues. Meanwhile, the economic well-being of U.S. workers, national security concerns, and humanitarian challenges fuel the policy debate. U.S. Immigration Policy in an Unsettled World delves into the history of immigration to the United States and prepares students to articulate their own views on the future of immigration policy.

Location: Region 10 in Richardson. Materials, lunch and 7 PD hours will be given at no cost.

Register for this workshop by clicking below. Due to this ongoing issue, we must charge $25 to anyone that 'no shows' for the workshop. Your credit card will be charged $1 at time of registration to keep the number on file if needed in the event of a 'no show'.



Free Choices: Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution

August 13, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Location: Region 10

Materials, lunch, and 7 PD hours provided at no cost.

In 1978, millions of Iranians risked their lives to protest against the shah. Marching in the streets, Iranians sought to end repressive rule, bring justice and opportunity to Iranians, and rid Iran of the influence of foreign powers - particularly the United States. But Iranians were not unified about how to achieve these goals. Nor were they sure what kind of government they wanted. With the departure of the shah in January 1979, a tremendous struggle began for the future of Iran.

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution traces the history of Iran and then engages students in the choices considered during this period debate and uncertainty. Students explore Iran's cultural history, its efforts to establish a representative democracy in the twentieth century, and the role the great powers played in shaping events in Iran.

Free Choices Workshop- Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy Workshop

August 15, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Location: Region 11, 3001 North Freeway, Fort Worth, 76106

Lunch, PD hours, and materials provided at no cost.

Over the past several decades, discussion about human rights has permeated international relations, creating a surge in treaties, institutions, and social movements. Yet while the general principle of human rights has been broadly accepted, human rights abuses persist and questions about the subject remain hotly contested.

Using readings, case studies and primary sources, examine the evolving role that human rights has played in international politics and explore the current debate on U.S. human rights policy.

Choices: The U.S. Role in a Changing World helps students reflect on global changes, assess national priorities, and decide for themselves the role the United States should play in the world today.

June 15, 2012 at Region 10- lunch, materials, and 8 hours for professional development provided

For many, the attacks of September 11th, 2001 brought home the importance of international issues. The war in Iraq has added to the immediacy of international issues. While questions about terrorism and security are high on the list of concerns, other issues also clamor for attention. A changing global economy, the threat of climate change, and the spread of HIV/AIDS are on policymakers' radar screens.

Readings

Readings review the forces that shape the U.S. role in the world today. Part I reviews three critical turning points in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Part II examines several pressing issues facing the United States and the world today: the economy, human health and the environment, international relations, and culture and values. Part III explores security concerns in the United States and considers how the issues presented in Part II influence policy decisions about security.

August 6, 2012 at Region 11- lunch, materials, and 8 hours for professional development provided

Overview

Western civilization has always had a unique relationship with the Middle East. The West's religious impulse and political models were sparked by contact with the region. During the Crusades, exposure to the wealth and learning of Middle Eastern cities forced Europeans to acknowledge their own backwardness. With the rise of the West in the modern era, the Middle East was seen as the antithesis of Western progress and dynamism. Today, the region continues to maintain a potent grip on our imagination. For Americans, the oil resources of the Persian Gulf, our attachment to Israel, and fears about terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have made the Middle East an increasingly critical area of U.S. involvement.

Shifting Sands: Balancing U.S. Interests in the Middle East analyzes the mix of interests and values that have drawn the United States into the Middle East. This unit asks students to consider the principles behind America's presence in the Middle East and provides students the opportunity to understand and evaluate U.S. policy both from the U.S. and Middle Eastern perspectives.

Readings

The readings have been written to prepare students to thoughtfully consider the policy choices facing our country. Part I surveys the history of our country's involvement in the Middle East through the Persian Gulf War. Part II examines the rise of political Islam, issues of regional and international security, and other critical issues that shape the Middle East today.

Caught Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads

Choices Workshop for High School Faculty
June 10, 2011
8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Region 10 Education Service Center
400 E. Spring Valley Rd.
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 348-1700

Mexico at the CrossroadsMexico has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last twenty years. The end of one-party rule and an effort to embrace globalization have led to profound changes in Mexican society. Mexico's historical experience and unique cultural heritage continue to shape and inform Mexican society. Caught Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads seeks to bring Mexico's national identity and history into sharper focus for high school students. Students are asked to see the world through Mexican eyes and to contemplate current Mexican choices in the areas of economic development, political reform, and foreign relations.

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