Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 7072

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: 2011 Egyptian Reform
Category: 2. Promotion of Peace and Democracy: Social Issues

School: Louisisana School for Math, Science and the Arts
    Natchitoches, LA, USA

3 students, ages 17-18 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 15, 2012. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2012

Classes and Teachers: Glenda Mitchell-- teacher, Raj-- student, Savan-- student, Aksheta--student

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

While working together in a history class on the Middle East, Aksheta, Raj and Savan became interested in the Arab Spring and election reform in Egypt. Aksheta’s , 18, interests in Egypt were fist sparked by taking a class in Arabic Literature and Culture. She continued on with this interest, leading her to this project. Aksheta really enjoyed witnessing history in the making throughout the duration of her research and the completion of this website. Savan, 18, aspires to become a doctor for Doctors Without Borders. One place that he wants to work is Egypt, and learning about what is important to the Egyptian people is important to Savan. Completing this project sparked Savan’s interest in Foreign Relations and Democracy with the Arab world. He is eager to continue these interests in college. Raj, 17, is an aspiring web designer, and hopes that his work surrounding this project will help him in the future. In completing this website, Raj developed his teamwork skills to promote a cause that was rather new to him. He enjoyed learning about something new that has such relevance in today’s world. Dr. Glenda Mitchell teaches history at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana. During the fall semester, she offers a Modern Middle Eastern History course during which she met Raj, Savan, and Aksheta. Dr. Mitchell helped to direct the students with the research for this project, but the students conducted the research and selected the content and design for this webpage.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our website, “2011 Egyptian Reform”examines issues of peace and democracy in the Middle East, with a particular emphasis on the 2011 revolution in Egypt. The issues of fair elections and reform are central to building stable democratic governments in the Middle East, and the events that occurred in Egypt in 2011 demonstrate the importance of fair elections. This website seeks to shed light on issues of fair election and reform in the Middle East. We chose Egypt because of the role of the people in producing change. We examined the significance of the social media, such as Facebook, in the revolution, and the United States’ relationship with Egypt. To familiarize our viewers with the Egyptian political system, we dedicated pages to former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and the current political parties in Egypt. We hope that through our website citizens will recognize the importance of fair elections and democracy both in Egypt and throughout the world.

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:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

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

Our computer access was consistent during the duration of the project. We completed this project outside of class so we worked together in the school's computer labs and shared files with one another electronically.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The main obstacles we had to overcome were working with a limited amount of time and resources. Finding a regular time that our teacher and project members could meet outside of class was challenging, but we worked diligently to make the most of our work times together. Also, we had hoped to find a scholar outside of our school to contribute to our project, but we were unsuccessful in our attempts to solicit additional help.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our Doors to Diplomacy project affected our team members and our classmates through its emphasis on the importance of fair elections and reform. We hope this project will raise community awareness about the importance of fair elections in a democratic system and how citizens can work together to promote change.

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

Our website deals with issues of Democracy and Social Justice so we used the curriculum standard established by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) as our guideline. Our project addressed many of the NCSS themes, such as civic ideals and practices, global connections, and culture. However, our website deals most specifically with the theme of power, authority and governance. Our project on “2011 Egyptian Reform” not only reveals how people can interact with their system of governance but also how citizens can change structures of power and governance. Completing this research project reaffirmed for us the importance of civic participation in a democratic system. From this experience we learned new skills relating to web design and teamwork. We also learned the importance of incorporating contemporary events into our coursework and studies. While the courses at our school had provided us with the historical background and research skills for this project, we realized that it is important to apply these skills to contemporary issues. Our project sponsor, Dr. Mitchell, also realized that she would like to incorporate more contemporary events into her future courses on the Middle East.

Project Elements

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

Raj, Aksheta, and Savan's focused their research primarily on online sources. We used our school's computer labs and personal computers to complete our research and web design project. While we used books and newspaper sources, we located these online. We used both computers and telephones to contact scholars and locate individuals for potential interviews. We also used the Promethan board, digital cameras, and projectors in our forum and service events.

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

While completing our research for our Doors to Diplomacy project, our team was excited about sharing our finding with others and encouraging them to support election reform. We used social media, such as facebook and twitter, to spread information about election reform and democracy, especially in Egypt. We held an open forum at our school to share our website with our classmates. Students from a variety of backgrounds attended the forum and even provided us with some suggestions for our project. Our teacher was happy to report that after the forum she heard students discussing the issues we presented in the context of other countries in need of electoral reform. In addition to the forum, we sponsored events to promote awareness in our school and community. Aksheta created traditional henna designs for community members to raise awareness of Egyptian culture. Raj and Savan held a bake sale to raise money for Egyptian relief. Students plan to culminate this project with a community wide presentation where they will distribute information about where to learn more about issues of Peace and Democracy. They also will invite community members to share their personal experiences and opinions about the issues.

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

While our website has not been online for an extended time period, we have shared our project and our findings with our school and the community. We believe the most significant impact of our project on the community will be to raise awareness of the importance of Peace and Democracy. Our website focuses specifically on the 2011 reforms in Egypt, but the larger themes of fair elections, civic participation and change have global implications. We hope that students will realize the importance of civic participation in ensuring peace and democracy in their own communities. We hope this website will inspire community members to become active in organizations aimed at providing relief to countries, such as Egypt.

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

We would not have been able to complete this project without the assistance and support of our school’s Computer Science Department. Mr. David Zolzer, a computer science teacher, showed us how to design and create the web page for our project. Mr. John Sturman, a member of our computer systems department, helped us to upload our project to the school’s website. We would also like to think Ms. Melissa Peveto and Mr. Thorn LaCaze for helping us to receive press coverage for our project.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 7072)

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