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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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refugees

Refugees in a New Home

An Eritrean family reunited in Providence, RI.

Usually when we are talking about refugee topics, we think about it the immediate problems in refugee camps and the conclusion of all these problems will be resettlement of the refugees to a safer place…or so we think.  I love this video for so many reasons, but especially because it concentrates on the many obstacles confronting refugees AFTER they are resettled in a new country.  This documentary, Home Across Lands (FULL 1-hour version available here. The 8-minute version is available on Vimeo) was produced a little over 10 years ago by a Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based film company. This film is an intensely local portrayal of the many difficulties for refugees in a new country. Many haven’t heard about Eritreans refugee camps in Ethiopia, but this article from the Irish Times will give some context on the issue.

Questions to Ponder:

1-Why did so many of the Kumana need to leave Eritrea?    

2-What were the economic difficulties of living in the Shimelba refugee camp?

3-What are some some of the political/legal challenges for refugees in a refugee camp?

3-What are some of the cultural struggles for refugees upon arriving to the United States?

4-What are some of the economic difficulties for refugees upon arriving to the United States?

5-How does the fact of refugees leaving impact their original homeland and it’s culture? How does the fact of refugees arriving to a new place impact their new home?

GeoEd Tags: RhodeIsland, refugees, population, migration.

The water tap at the Shimelba refugee camp

The Trails Leaving Venezuela

Venezuela Migrants

The rich were the first to leave. They wired their savings abroad and hopped on international flights. The middle class departed next. They went on buses, sometimes riding for days across several countries. The poor remained. They stayed as the economy collapsed, food got scarcer, medicine shortages turned deadly and the electricity cut out for days at a time. But finally, they too began to exit Venezuela. They simply walked out. The departure of the caminantes, or walkers, began slowly in 2017 with young men hoping to find jobs and send money home.

Now women and children, the sick and the elderly also are taking their chances, expanding an exodus that already is one of the biggest mass migrations in modern history. Each day an estimated 5,000 people flee.” SOURCE: LA Times

The economic, political, and demographic crisis in Venezuela might not be at the top of the headlines anymore, that that isn’t because the situation has gone away, but it just has become ‘normal.’   This article is an in-depth look at the lives of those fleeing Venezuela on foot into Colombia.

GeoEd Tags: migration, Colombia, Venezuela, refugees, South America.

Political support for refugees as compared to immigrants

Immigration Refugee

On balance, people around the world are more accepting of refugees fleeing violence and war than they are of immigrants moving to their country, according to a new analysis of public opinion data from 18 nations surveyed by Pew Research Center in spring 2018.” SOURCE: Pew Research Center

We know that there are diverse perspectives on migration in our own country, but it is important to remember that our country’s conversation is also a part of a global conversation.  As many developed countries are trying to limit some of the permeability of their borders, and as economic migrants seek to improve their economic opportunities,  the immigration debates become more central to  Since there has been As the Pew Research data shows, in North America, the immigration discussion and the refugee discussion have converged, where in countries such as Greece they are very much different conversations.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why might the immigration and refugee assistance questions elicit a greater distinction in European countries (such as Germany, Italy, and Greece) then it did in North American countries (such as the U.S. and Canada)?
  • What are some impacts of the convergence of the political conversations surrounding immigration and refugee assistance for the United States and its policies?

GeoEd TAGS: migration, refugees, statistics, USA.

 

The Displaced: Venezuela

The country of Trinidad and Tobago is only 7 miles away from Venezuela, which is currently in the midst of a political, agricultural, and economic collapse.  As 10% of Venezuelans have left their country, an estimated 40,000 have fled to the small, neighboring island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  The Trinidadian government and people have done much to aid Venezuelans, but can only do so much and are feeling stretched beyond their capacity to assist the  Venezuelans who can be called refugees or economic migrants, depending on how you see this situation.

I believe that this is the first in the BBC’s new series, The Displaced and look forward to seeing more.  Not surprisingly, when reading the Youtube comments on this, many from Trinidad feel that this reporting did not convey an accurate portrayal of the situation, that most of the Trinidadians that are welcoming to migrants and not xenophobic.  I believe, to some extent, that the BBC is judging the Trinidadian government much as it would a large, developed country with a far greater capacity to accommodate an quick demographic influx.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Venezuela, borders, migration, refugees, poverty.

Za’atari Camp

“Spongebob Squarepants has been painted on the entire side of one caravan, and an Arabic phrase has been gracefully painted on another. This kind of incongruity I see throughout the camp. Two women are dressed in traditional full-length hijabs, for example, but the man behind them is wearing a Golden State Warriors t-shirt. A man in a robe encourages a donkey to pull a cart, yet right past him are young boys with smartphones huddled near a fence looking for better cell reception. A little further down the road and on my right I see a shoeless kid laughing and rolling a tire, but on my left, I spot a vast number of solar-powered panels. This constant juxtaposition is jarring and yet beautiful, and I am taken back by the energy of the place.”

Source: askmrlanguageperson.blogspot.com

This is from the other Professor Dixon, my brother Shane, an ESL professor at Arizona State who travels abroad frequently to train ESL teachers around the world (he’s taught MOOCs and is a rock star in the ESL world–trust me–he’s awesome).  I was thrilled to hear that he would not only be going to Jordan, but working within the Za’atari refugee camp.  He’s a keen observer of the cultural and urban landscapes. 

 

TagsMiddleEast, Jordan, political, refugees.

Left For Dead: Myanmar’s Muslim Minority

In recent years, democratic reforms have swept through Myanmar, a country that for decades was ruled by a military junta. As the reforms took hold, however, things were growing progressively worse for the Rohingya, a heavily persecuted ethnic Muslim minority concentrated in the country’s western state of Rakhine. The 2012 gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men ignited violent riots in which hundreds were killed as Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya attacked each other. In the following months, tens of thousands of Rohingya were rounded up and forced to live in squalid camps; Human Rights Watch deemed the attacks crimes against humanity that amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. Thousands of Rohingya have since attempted to leave the country, fueling the region’s intricate and brutal human trafficking network.

 

Tags: Rohingyagenocide, migration, politicalconflict, refugeesBurma, Southeast Asia.

Source: www.youtube.com

Teaching About the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar

“Why are hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar? Who are the Rohingya and why are they being persecuted? What responsibility does the world have to end what the United Nations is calling ‘ethnic cleansing’ and many are labeling ‘genocide’? In this lesson, students will first learn about the crisis unfolding in Myanmar using Times reporting, videos, podcasts and photography. Then, we suggest a variety of activities for going deeper, such as tackling universal questions about national identity and minority rights, considering the responsibility of the world community, and going inside the squalid refugee camps sprawling across the border in Bangladesh.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

This issue is not as firmly fixed in our minds as it should be.  So much of our media’s attention is on less substantial issues, that when they compile resources for teachers on a subject like this, it deserves mentioning.  Even if you have already read your 10 free monthly articles from the NY Times, you can still watch the video embedded in the lesson.  Attached is a worksheet that I will be using in my classes (feel free to adapt and use).

Tags: Rohingyagenocide, migration, politicalconflict, refugeesBurma, Southeast Asia.

 

Somalia: The Forgotten Story

Part I: The story of Somalia’s decline from stability to chaos and the problems facing its people at home and abroad.

Part II: The ongoing civil war has caused serious damage to Somalia’s infrastructure and economy. Thousands of Somalis have either left as economic migrants or fled as refugees. Within Somali, more than a million people are internally displaced.

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, unit 4 politicalmigrationrefugees, Somalia, Africa.

Source: www.youtube.com

The Rohingya in Myanmar: How Years of Strife Grew Into a Crisis

Life has long been fraught for a Muslim minority in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, but the recent “ethnic cleansing” has sent Rohingya fleeing en masse.

Source: www.nytimes.com

Many students have asked the question “Who are the Rohingya?” The Muslim minority group, concentrated near the Bangladeshi has a long history of marginalization. Its members lack full citizenship in Myanmar (Burma), and many in Myanmar deny that the Rohingya are a native ethnic group, claiming that they are recent Bengali immigrants. Now, fierce clashes between security forces and Rohingya militants left hundreds dead and entire villages torched to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled over the border into Bangladesh.

 

Tags: migration, politicalconflict, refugeesBurma, Southeast Asia.

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