On February 20th, Russia launched a military invasion of the neighboring nation of Ukraine, prompting 1.5 million Ukrainians to flee the country in the immediate aftermath. As Ukrainian men are forced to stay behind and defend the country as part of their nation’s military, an unprecedented number of women and children have fled Ukraine, prompting what is projected to become the greatest European refugee crisis in a century. The reasons for the present invasion of Ukraine are highly complex and therefore difficult to teach in American classrooms. In our new Teaching Idea, we share some recommendations designed to help educators teach about the unfolding refugee crisis in Ukraine, but we also have resources designed to help you teach your students about the broader global refugee crisis of which this is a part. Below, we offer some complementary teaching tools that can help educators situate the Ukrainian refugee crisis in broader global histories of displacement and highlight its connections to other refugee crises.
According to the United Nations, “every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, or terror.” People also flee natural disasters. That’s 28,300 people in a day. Currently, more than 65 million people are refugees or internally displaced. This is the largest figure ever recorded. World Refugee Day provides us with the opportunity to pause, learn more and reflect on our individual, local, national, and global commitments as citizens and as human beings.
Here are three stories to commemorate World Refugee Day. We hope these inspire you to consider and discuss what responsibilities individuals have to respond to the needs of refugees today.
Topics: Refugee Crisis
Right around the time the Syrian refugee crisis was at the height of its media coverage in the US, I noticed a familiar kind of backlash on my newsfeed. Amidst the photos showing desperate throngs of people escaping with only their lives, between the articles imploring me to donate or explaining how I could help Syrian refugees, I saw another kind of plea: "Don't let them in."
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the presidential election and each candidate’s position on immigration.
There are more people displaced in the world today than at any time since the end of World War II. In May 2016, Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, shared this fact with dozens of New York City students, all immigrants, during a visit to Newcomers High School. By discussing the global refugee crisis with them, the ambassador hoped to inspire a sense of responsibility in students—to bridge the gap between us and them—and to empower them to take action. Hear how this visit inspired Yohara Molineros, one of those students.
Teachers, make sure to check out Facing History's new lesson, Understanding the Global Refugee Crisis, which draws on readings and short videos from Ambassador Power's conversation. We provide essential materials, resources, and activities to explain and humanize a crisis that often feels too overwhelming to confront.
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the current responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.
What is our responsibility to refugees fleeing from war and genocide?
On September 3, the BBC's Inside Europe Blog published images of police officers in the Czech Republic writing on the hands of detained migrants as a way to identify them. In the post, reporter Rob Cameron observed that the images “are an uncomfortable reminder of a different event and a different era. But the Czech authorities appeared totally unaware of the unfortunate visual connotations with the Holocaust, when prisoners at Auschwitz were systematically tattooed with serial numbers.”