CyberFair Project ID: 4055

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: A Study of Security Council Diplomacy
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: La Jolla High School
    La Jolla, CA, United States

4 students, ages 16, 16, 16, 16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 21, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Richard del Rio

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Our team included Praveen S. (16), Emily B. (16), Mary P.T. (16), and Harin S. (16), all members of the same history class taught by Mr. Del Rio. Harin heard about the project through Shelley Lyford,the program officer for WorldLink – a program that promotes international awareness and youth participation in world affairs. Harin, Mary, and Emily had been leaders in their school’s Model United Nations (MUN) program for several years, so they were well-versed in the workings of diplomacy and foreign affairs. The addition of Praveen’s technical proficiency and knowledge of web design led the four to team up and create a website that would teach other students about the role of the United Nations Security Council in resolving, exacerbating, or simply discussing past international crises. Mr. del Rio gave them ideas on which crises to write the simulations for and provided them with some resources. The students also did their own research at the library and on the Internet. Emily wrote about the Kosovo conflict and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mary wrote about the Nicaragua crisis and the Korean War. Harin wrote about the Iran-Bahrain affair and the Suez Canal Crisis. Praveen designed and created the web pages, as well as worked with the team on the project narrative. The four students did their tasks mostly through independent work, but they also gave each other feedback. Especially in the last stages of the project, they kept each other constantly updated on their work and collaborated to make final revisions and touch-ups on the website.

2. Summary of Our Project

The main concept of the website is to simulate the Security Council discussions on past historical crisis and convey how a debate on such a crisis would have played out. Students can read the policy statements and responses of involved countries in past diplomatic crises, and then use the knowledge they gain about past foreign policy initiatives in the interactive Security Council Forum. The forum provides students the opportunity to represent different countries in a variety of hypothetical crises and use diplomacy as a tool to resolve international crises. The team first brainstormed ideas for the categories and decided to focus on the United Nations Security Council. Last year, the four had participated in a class Security Council simulation to address the instability and lack of security in Iraq. After a successful simulation, Mr. del Rio suggested the idea of holding Security Council simulations set in past historical contexts to help students understand different countries’ policies and interactions during major international events. The students found this idea very appealing and decided to apply it to the category “History of Foreign Relations.” They would pick six major past events in world history, research what the relevant countries said on the issue, and explain how the Security Council was involved in those crises. After doing sufficient research and writing up the simulations, the three worked with Praveen to create the web pages detailing past foreign policy initiatives. Then Praveen constructed an interactive forum in which website visitors could post their own thoughts on hypothetical crises as representatives of different countries. Thus, students could practice their diplomatic skills by attempting to resolve an international crisis. The project creators formulated the hypothetical crises by considering the current status of relations between nations and then pondering what crises could resolve from the situations in reality.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Home PCs of team members were used to conduct research, create the website, edit images, and upload information, as minimal time and resources were available at school. The majority of the website was created from hand-made computer templates, using Microsoft FrontPage and Notepad as html editors. The forum was created using phpBB, an open-source forum frame, and modified using PHP. All image editing was conducted in Adobe Photoshop CS, the industry-leading software for graphic editing and manipulation. The entire website is hosted on server space belonging to one of the team members on a remote corporate server.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The hardest aspect of the project was discerning what each country would have said in regards to the past historical crisis. What justification did North Korea provide for invading South Korea? What criticism did the United States give on French and British military action in Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis? Although the students found some policy descriptions for past historical incidents on the United Nations Crisis, they found few exact statements that countries made on the crises. So they had to think of what each country would have said by studying their actions during the crisis, their past decisions, and current policies.

Some of the technical problems we encountered included internet and network downtime at the house of one teammate during a group working session very close to the deadline. Furthermore, since this team member did not have Adobe Photoshop on her home system, images could not be edited with all team members present at that time, so much of the communication took place via internet communication towards the end of the project.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Through participating in this project, the students have acquired in-depth knowledge about six major international crises in the past and how different countries in the Security Council responded to the incidents. They have learned to analyze various sources (Security Council resolutions, encyclopedia articles, United Nations press releases, history books, and more) and use them to determine countries' policies on different issues.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our group's work to create A Study of Security Council Diplomacy incorporated skills found in the California Board of Education's Content Standards for many of our classes. The contents standards that we accomplished, while creating our website include:

English, Reading: 2.1, 2.3, 2.6, 3.8; Writing: 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 2.1, 2.6, History-Social Science: 11.4.6, 11.9.1, 11.9.2, 11.9.3, 11.9.5, 11.9.6, Science: Investigation and Experimentation: 1a, Visual and Performing Arts: Theatre: 3.1, 5.1, 5.3

Each of the four members of our group is in the same English and history classes and in those classes alone we have been able to apply this project in many ways. For example, when we analyzed resolutions and documents to extract countries' policies we were practicing our ability to analyze and subsequently write about what we had learned. In addition, we can apply much of the knowledge of the crises, which the United States was involved in, and the foreign policy position that the United States took in our United States history course.

In addition, the policy statements in our project was an application of the skills learned in theatre, where we learn how to take what we read and study and put it into the words and viewpoint of someone else. In addition, this is part of our English standards because we had to establish a change in point of view for each country. Finally, it was an application of our own schools Expected Scholastic Learning Requirement Standards in that we had to appreciate other's cultures.

Finally, to design the website required technological and aesthetic skills, both of which are needed in many of our classes.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

The students relied on Encarta Encyclopedia 2002 and their history textbook for background information and basic historical facts. Then they searched on the United Nations website for specific information on UN action and what the Security Council did on the crisis. Two books Mr. Del Rio provided them with, American Foreign Policy Since World War II and United Nations: Divided World, were very helpful resources. They described the crisis from different points of view and how the UN was involved in the crises. The students also used the Internet to find information.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

The four students and Mr. Del Rio told their class about the project and encouraged them to participate too. Harin told the class she could help them get resources through Shelley at the Institute for Peace and Justice. They also encouraged their class members to visit their website, read the crisis pages, and make posts on the interactive forum.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our community will benefit from visiting our web pages because they are informative, thought-provoking, and interesting.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Most of our project work was conducted independently. However, our faculty advisor, Rich del Rio, did provide insight into a variety of diplomatic issues, as he is also the advisor for La Jolla High School's Model UN group. The core elements of the project, however, are the works of the four team participants and their research.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We discovered the importance of diplomacy and how signficant a role it has played in past historical incidents. While working on the project, we discovered many small intricacies of crises, which had a surprisingly huge impact on the globe. For example, when the Security Council passed the resolution authorizing force against North Korea in 1950, it was not vetoed because the USSR was boycotting the United Nations and because the United Nations had not yet recognized the new Communist Chinese government. In addition to international lessons like these, we learned a lot about web construction and about working together as a group to create an overall project. We learned the importance of organization and the need to discuss things as a group before going ahead unilaterally on personal decisions and ideas. This project has also helped the three of us involved in Model United Nations put much of our experience in this club into a new perspective.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4055)

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