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Doors to Diplomacy

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The U. S. Department of State sponsors the “Doors to Diplomacy” educational challenge – to encourage middle school and high school students around the world to produce web projects that teach others about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy.

Five students from East Noble High, ages 17-18, worked together to complete this Cyberfair project on March 19, 2003. It was the goal of this group, throughout the project, to make education “rigorous and relevant.” In order to do this, East Noble High approached the history of foreign relations from multiple angles that examine the past, present, and future of this subject. They broke up foreign relations into five factors: economics, government, culture/religion, alliances, and major events. Each category first gives a basic understanding of how this factor affects world diplomacy. Expanding upon this, each category contains multiple articles that highlight historical and current events which illustrate what must be learned. Since each category is inherently different, each teaches and shows this history from a different perspective and in a different style, allowing the reader to relate with whatever material they feel comfortable. The group believed that this would greatly enhance interest in the site and enhance learning.

The emphasis of the project is to give the reader, first, an understanding of what constitutes foreign relations and how it works. Once this is done, the web site becomes a massive research tool that explores the issue from several outlooks as well as offering in depth historical data on various issues. Yet, the reader should participate with the information given and not learn just by rote. A tutorial scenario engages the reader by presenting a hypothetical situation in international diplomacy. The reader, within certain wide age groups, can then attempt to solve the problem by examining each of the five factors of foreign relations. With teaching articles, a research tool, and a sort of mind puzzle using everything that has been learned, East Noble hopes to offer the local, state, and international audiences the very best learning experience “in the history of foreign relations.”

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