4 Resources on Refugee Crises in Global Context

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on March 14, 2022

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.

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Topics: Refugees, Refugee Crisis

Building Empathy on International Youth Day

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 12, 2019

Since 2000, the United Nations has championed International Youth Day as a time to bring young people’s issues to the attention of the international community, and “celebrat[e] the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.” Though all young people face difficulties as they cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood, how they navigate the challenges of youth is shaped significantly by their identities, the histories that inform them, and the disparate contexts in which they live around the world. And the high degree of complexity can make it difficult for teachers to build empathy across divides. 

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Topics: Film, Poetry, Refugees

Addressing the Real Challenges Refugee Students Face in the Classroom

Posted by Leah Shafer on June 20, 2018

Today is World Refugee Day. Read this guest post from Leah Shafer to consider the unique challenges refugee students face everyday in the classroom.  

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Topics: Refugees

3 Ways to Address the Latest News on Immigration With Your Students

Posted by Laura Tavares on January 30, 2017

This week, President Donald Trump announced several measures to limit immigration to the United States. His administration shared plans to build a wall on the Mexican border and to more aggressively deport undocumented immigrants. He also announced an order barring Syrians and other refugees from entering the country and suspended immigration from seven primarily Muslim nations.

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Topics: Immigration, Universe of Obligation, Refugees, In the news

The Compassion Cap

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on January 3, 2017

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."

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Topics: Universe of Obligation, Empathy, Refugees, Refugee Crisis

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History: Immigration in the U.S. Presidential Election

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on September 28, 2016

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.

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Topics: Immigration, Refugees, Refugee Crisis, Today's News Tomorrow's History, Listenwise, civil discourse

How Samantha Power Inspired Me to be an Upstander

Posted by Yohara Molineros on September 23, 2016

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.

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Topics: Student Voices, Refugees, Refugee Crisis

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History: Refugees Paying to Stay

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on March 21, 2016

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.  

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Topics: International, Human Rights, Immigration, Refugees, Refugee Crisis, Today's News Tomorrow's History, Listenwise

Echoes of the Past: The Current Refugee Crisis in Europe

Posted by Facing History on September 8, 2015

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.”

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Topics: Rescue, Immigration, News, History, Universe of Obligation, Europe, Refugees, Refugee Crisis

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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