Skip to content


Speaking Globally will no longer be updated

January 2014

Speaking Globally will no longer be updated.

The site will still be available as a reference point for links to lesson plans that can be used for Global Studies, World History, World Cultures and similar courses that examine such global issues as Typhoon Haiyan, the Syrian Crisis, and Terrorism.

The View from Here section, which includes perspectives on issues of worldwide importance from such regions as Australia, Colombia, Israel, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, will also remain available.

Speaking Globally was originally created as a companion to Global Issues in Context, a resource that empowers students with the tools they need to understand today’s world issues from a global perspective. For more information on Global Issues in Context or any other Gale product, please visit our website at gale.cengage.com.

Posted on: January 28, 2014, 11:19 am Category: Announcement Tagged with: , ,

The View from Israel: The Negev Desert and Beduin Communities

by Amy Styer

26 December 2013. Jerusalem, Israel. The Negev Desert today looks much like it did when T.E. Lawrence passed through in 1914. The swath of arid land making up the southern half of Israel is open skies, craters, and sand. Largely undeveloped and underpopulated, the government of Israel has promoted various plans to develop the region. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, spent his last days living on a kibbutz in the Negev to encourage Israelis to move there.

Unrecognized village in the Negev Desert.

While underpopulated, the Negev isn’t empty. It’s home to approximately 180,000-190,000 Beduin, all of whom are Israeli citizens. Today the Beduin live like their ancestors—nomadic herdsman. They travel around the Negev to areas where their herds can graze. The lifestyle, while romantic in thought, is difficult in reality. The temporary homes (usually corrugated tin shacks) in unrecognized villages lack water, electricity, and proper sewage. Because the villages aren’t even represented on a map, schooling and other state services are often lacking.

The Prawer Plan, approved by the Israeli cabinet in 2011, was meant to integrate the Beduin into Israeli society. A number of unrecognized villages were to be legalized gaining them state services. Integrate also meant moving approximately 40,000 Beduin from lands they were living on and placing them in recognized villages. The plan included compensating the Beduin for 50 percent of the land they were living on (considering that they did not have deeds). Investment and living in townships was meant to urbanize Beduin—a way to counter poverty and prevent people from living on state-owned land.

Rahat, the largest Beduin township in Israel, is an example of what relocated Beduin can expect. There are schools, mosques, clinics, and community centers. It’s what else the city contains that worry many Beduin—drugs, unemployment, and crime. Rahat also has one of the highest school dropout rates in the country. Residents blame these problems on the city’s design. Due to crowding extended families are not able to live close together causing a breakdown in the tight family structure.

On November 30th, there was a demonstration to mark a “Day of Rage” against the legislation. I had driven through the area two days before and did not get a sense of tension or unrest. The news had been showing tire burnings and Molotov cocktails, but none of this was apparent. The Negev was its usual drowsy self. At a rest stop, I talked to a few Beduin. They were wearing traditional keffiyes (head scarves) and jellabiyas (robes). They had ridden in a truck from their village to get gas. All smiles and very friendly, they had no idea what the Prawer Plan was. I asked a few others and got curious looks and no answers. (On December 10th, it was revealed that former minister Bennie Begin, who was the main architect of the plan, had never shared it with the Beduin as many had thought, me included.)

Ironically, the “Day of Rage” protests recorded in the media were largely made of Palestinians, left-wing Israelis, and international activists. PLO flags were seen in the crowds. Palestinians also held protests in Haifa and Gaza with politicians in attendance. The reason for Palestinians and international groups being involved was that they are against the forced displacement of Beduin.

Forced is tricky word, the original Prawer Plan was supposed to have the consent of Beduin tribal elders. Many in the Israeli Knesset thought that it was obvious and why they supported the plan. When the parliamentarians learned that many Beduin did not in fact know about the plan, the plan began to unravel. On December 12th, Begin suggested to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the plan be stopped because it did not have enough votes to proceed. Netanyahu took Begin’s suggestion and shelved the unpopular plan.

The question is what now for the Beduin? Their communities are consistently ranked lowest in socio-economic studies year after year. Without schools and medical care, children are unlikely to escape the poverty. When there is poverty, it is often girls that suffer the most. Teenage brides, arranged marriages, and polygamy are part of Beduin culture. The Israeli government argues that it cannot offer infrastructure to small, remote encampments. The Beduin do not want to leave their traditional grazing grounds for dormitory cities. What is likely to happen is that the Prawer Plan will undergo major changes and include the approval of Beduin leaders. One thing all parties agree to is that it’s time to help the Beduin communities of the south.

Amy Styer is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem, Israel.

Posted on: December 26, 2013, 8:35 am Category: The View From Here Tagged with: , ,

The View from Great Britain: Do football (soccer) managers really make a difference to a team’s performance?

by Gabrielle Pickard

22 December 2013. Cheshire, United Kingdom. Here in Manchester the football elation that concluded last season’s jubilant Manchester-team triumph that saw Manchester United top the table, followed by Manchester City in second place, has been abruptly faltered. The smug cheers of ‘we are the champions’ have been replaced by alarming unease that maybe this won’t be Manchester’s season. Of course the big difference at Manchester United is that the club’s legendary managing maestro has been replaced by a much less-known figure in the cutthroat world of football management.

With United not getting off to the best of starts this season and, it has to be said, playing some pretty dismal football, ruthless calls for David Moyes sacking have been hogging the sport’s pages’ limelight. The press has been having a field day publishing merciless polls titled ‘Sack Moyes if United are 5th by Jan – Yes or No’, much to the delight of the United-despising fraternity, as well as many United supporters who only want to see their team start scoring goals and being in their typical top of the table position.

After a 1 – 0 win over arch London rivals Arsenal in early November, United managed to scrape themselves to fifth position on the table.  Two ties, two losses and two wins later, they’re holding eighth. Is it the players who are struggling or is it the manager’s coaching style to blame? In short, how much of a difference do football managers really make to a team’s performance? And does it make statistical sense to sack a manager?

Sacked without a fair trial

We’ve seen it so many times, all hopes being pinned on the appointment of a new manager at a badly performing club, several loses and a few boring draws later, the manager is forced to leave, his ego bruised and battered, with his tail between his legs. Perhaps the most memorable example of this in the English premiership was Kevin Keegan’s sensational sacking in 2008.  Keegan was elevated to heroic status at Newcastle in the 90s when he managed the club, winning promotion as First Division champions in 1992. Under Keegan’s lead the club finished second in the Premier League in the 1995/96 season. When Keegan returned to St. James’ Park in 2008 as manager the emotional comeback was short-lived. Following an eight-month reign as coach Keegan was sacked by the club’s owner Mike Ashley. The pair had reportedly clashed over the club’s transfer policy and the decision to try and sell the controversial midfielder, Joey Barton. Newcastle’s dreams of Keegan returning the club to its former glory were brought to an abrupt end all too soon.

The club’s fate didn’t improve after Keegan was hastily sacked and in 2008 -09 Newcastle was relegated from the Premier League, for the first time since 1989.

The cold-bloodedness of this example highlights exactly how ruthless and ‘business-like’ modern football has become and the fact that Newcastle United’s performance neither improved nor worsened during Keegan’s short-lived return also questions the magnitude of a football manager.

Talking about the affect changing manager has on a club mid-season, Dutch economist Dr Bas Ter Weel told the BBC:

“Changing a manager during a crisis does improve the results in the short term. But this is a misleading statistic because not changing the manager would have had the same result.”

Ter Weel analysed managerial turnover in the Dutch premier division over 18 seasons taking into account clubs that had sacked their managers when the going got tough and those who stood by their manager to ride out the storm. The research found that both the clubs that stood by their managers and the ones that sacked them, experienced similar patterns of declines and improvements in performance.

Ter Weel states the findings of his research is not confined to the Dutch football league but that other big European football nations follow a similar pattern – if a club shows an unusual slump in form it typically bounces back before too long, regardless of whether the manager is fired or not. The Dutchman’s theory could be applied to goings on in the English Premier League last season. Birmingham club Aston Villa had been struggling to find form last season. Instead of rashly sacking their manager, Paul Lambert, the club showed some faith, hung on to Lambert and experienced a significant turnaround in their performance.

It has to be said that the pattern of football clubs experiencing declines and improvements regardless of whether they sack their manager or hold on to them, suggests that the weight of a team’s performance is not so much hung onto a manager but rather the players.

Not just a European trait

Every year without fail Premier League managers are mercilessly discarded by the club’s owners. In fact so certain is football managerial sacking in the English league that betting companies take bets as to which manager will be the next to be sacked. Although it has to be said that this ruthless sacking of football managers is not just a European trait.

In America there is a similar tendency for calls to fire the coach to emerge if a team does poorly. In September this year Mexico sacked manager Jose Manuel de la Torre and replaced him with Luis Fernando Tena after a home defeat by Honduras dented their 2014 World Cup qualifying hopes. The sacking caused controversy with supporters of Jose Manuel de la Torre believing he had been sacked unnecessarily.

“And what happen when Vela doesn’t attain the results everyone is expecting? It might just be the squad, they have such little chemistry at times it amazes me,” posted a Yahoo News reader.

It does seem that around the world too much weight of a football club’s performance is placed on the manager’s shoulders. As for Manchester United, it is not unusual for them to start the season badly; in fact it could even be argued that is almost expected. David Moyes certainly began his career as Manchester United’s manager a little precariously, but as the club has etched its way into fifth position on the league table and begins to show signs of last season’s ‘Sir Alex Ferguson- departure high’, surely we’d be mad to sack Moyes. Just yet.

Gabrielle Pickard is a freelance journalist based in Cheshire, United Kingdom.

Posted on: December 24, 2013, 1:23 pm Category: The View From Here Tagged with: , , ,

The View from Down Under (and the World): The legacy of Nelson Mandela

by Joanne Lane

18 December 2013. Brisbane, Australia. It’s hard to write about a giant of history like Nelson Mandela. Where do you start? What do you say about someone that not only changed the course of a nation and people in its laws and institutions, but also its heart? How do you sum up the life of a man who embarked on a long walk to freedom that inspired millions around the world?

You can’t. That’s the mystery of Mandela. Maybe you can’t define or describe him. Maybe just his name is enough because in that name is everything you want to say – freedom fighter, a man ready to die for his ideals, an image of unity.

Because he lived from his heart he touched our hearts. Across the world in the last week we’ve seen images of kids and old people, white and black, world leaders and people in the street, remembering and celebrating what he achieved, what he meant, what he did.

In the vein of West Side Story, you could hear a collective tune: “Mandela, Mandela… All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word… Say it loud and there’s music playing, Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.”

Even in my city of Brisbane on the weekend 500 people gathered in Mowbray Park for the Celebrating Mandela Memorial Concert – a symbolic location perhaps by a river that had ravaged and destroyed us in recent years of floods and now a location to honour the life of such a man as Mandela.

While the eventual death of the ailing former first black President of South Africa was anticipated, his death at 95 years last week still came as a shock, perhaps, foremost, because we realize what we lose with his passing and understand we may never see his like again.

Albert Einstein said on the death of Mahatma Gandhi, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

Is this something we will say of Mandela in years to come?

While it was a privilege to have walked the earth with this man, Mandela’s legacy isn’t finished, it continues in the lives of those that live on without him—us.

In his eulogy, American President Barack Obama called on the students of South Africa and the world to “make his life’s work your own” and for people of all persuasions to search “for his strength – for his largeness of spirit – somewhere inside ourselves”.

That largeness of spirit was his capacity towards forgiveness and reconciliation despite past wrongs, of accepting those that are vastly different, of dignity and courage amidst incredible hardship, and an understanding of what freedom really is and means in one’s spirit.

As a collective whole, we must become his “Rainbow Nation”. No, there may not be a person such as him ever again, but if we do this we can continue to make the world a better place just as he did.

Mandela himself made that call in a speech to support Africa Standing Tall Against Poverty in 2005:

 

 “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up.”

Mandela’s life was all about fighting injustice. Remarkably much of the world little knew about this struggle until he walked out of a cell in 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment. I was only a high school student at the time but there was something in the dignity in which he carried himself, and the feelings his story stirred, that I chose to give my modern history symposium on him. I don’t know if my 45 minute session impacted anyone else in the room, but preparing for it touched me profoundly.

In 1994 Mandela joined with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections, a step for which they shared the Nobel Peace Prize. He led the Australian National Congress (ANC) to power and became South Africa’s first black president in its first democratic elections from 1994 to 1997, enshrining within the constitution laws that prohibited government and individual discrimination based on race, color, gender, pregnancy, marital status, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, birth and an array of other categories.

Of the achievement he said,

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign, God Bless Africa.”

Mandela’s “long walk to freedom” wasn’t over though and he was aware there were more responsibilities ahead. He continued to address South Africa’s social ills such as poverty, crime and AIDS; problems he admittedly found difficult to tackle, and indeed came to light again even during his memorial service last week.

It seems fitting then perhaps that Mandela asked to be remembered not for his successes but how many times he fell down and got back up again.

In 1995 Mandela handed over a text to the South African rugby captain François Pienaar to inspire him towards their Rugby World Cup win – their image together is perhaps one of the most enduring of his presidency. The text was a copy of “The Man in the Arena” passage from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech Citizenship in a Republic. It is most telling of the way Mandela viewed his life:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;

“who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

“who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

How lucky we are that Mandela lived and set an example for us. But now that the great liberator is laid to rest, the challenge for all of us is to dare greatly too and not be discouraged by setbacks. Let us all take up the challenge to be members of the Rainbow Nation.

Joanne Lane is a freelance photojournalist based in Brisbane, Australia.

Posted on: December 19, 2013, 9:44 am Category: The View From Here Tagged with: , ,

Typhoon Haiyan Lesson Plans

Students will compare the Typhoon to other recent storms, consider who is responsible to help devastated areas and examine the social and economic impact of the storm.

View the video Tropical Storm Hits Philippines by MSNBC

Discussion Guide

 

Lesson Plan 1- Comparing Storms

Objective:  Students will compare the Typhoon to other recent storms

 

Lesson Plan 2- Who Should Help?

Objective:  Students will consider who is responsible for helping in the aftermath of storms

 

Lesson Plan 3-Impact of Typhoon using Global Issues in Context

Objective: Students will conduct research using Global Issues in Context to determine the social and economic impact of the Typhoon

 

Additional Resources:

Typhoon Haiyan by CNN

Typhoon Haiyan Appeal by RedCross.org

Typhoon Haiyan by The Weather Channel

Superstorm Sandy Then and Now by The Weather Channel

Direct Relief.org

 

Additional Resources from Global Issues in Context:

Extreme Weather

Typhoon Haiyan

World Health Organization

Hurricane Katrina

Earthquake in Chile

 

Posted on: December 16, 2013, 1:38 pm Category: Lesson Plans and School Projects Tagged with: , , , , ,