Current Events & International Relations

All NEW Case Studies!


Teacher:  Stephanie Berry & Jesse Burch

Ages:  14+

Winter:  10 weeks:  $280 or $270 if taking 2 or more classes

Spring:  10 weeks:  $280 or $270 if taking 2 or more classes


The base curriculum for this class has been developed at UC Irvine and has been given a-g elective credit by the UC system.   Current Events can be taken multiple times in high school and in college for credit - of course!


Globalization and International Relations is a social science course that introduces students to the forces, events, individuals, and issues that define the increasing interaction and interdependence of the people and nations of our 21st century world. The presentations, interactive workshops, readings, team and individual student projects are based on the disciplines of geography, political science, economics, anthropology, sociology, and international studies.   This class will teach students to relate and recognize the direct impact that forces of globalization have on the economic, political, social, and cultural development of nations and regions of the world. Students will also be introduced to core concepts of international relations and  apply these theoretical concepts to a range of specific contemporary case studies or simulations.   Simulations for this class will include looking at the current crises in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and Israel.   Because our students enjoy debate so much, we will be debating at least once per quarter as part of our case study.


This class incorporates 6 units of study, with each unit taking between 3-6 weeks;

  1. Globalization: Here we will focus our attention on what Globalization really means.  This session we will look at the area of  Income Inequity, which will allow us to incorporate looking at charts, math, economic theories, understanding of Capitalism, Socialism and other methods of economic government structures.    Our Case Study will be Chile & Equador, which will require us to also look at political systems of control, and the history of socialism in South America.

  2. Projects of Change:  Here we will focus on sustainable development goals, the need for universal primary education, environmental sustainability and global partnerships.  We will watch excerpts from Half The Sky and research partnerships that bring about positive change in the world.   We'll read excerpts from Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo so that we can understand the nature of foreign aid, and how this works, and in many cases, doesn't work.   This unit will help us to prepare for Model United Nations summits for those students that are also taking the Model UN class.  

  3. Comparing the Wealth of Nations:  Here we will learn about the economic roots of Globalization, we will define what wealth is and compare the wealth of different nations.   We'll will briefly look at multi-national corporations and how they contribute to a nation's wealth.   Our readings will include excerpts from Thomas Piketty's seminal book Capital in the Twenty First Century (only excerpts here - this is a very long book!), and look at the sources & solutions of income disparities.

  4. Introduction to International Relations:  This exciting unit will include learning about nation-states, foreign policy, the European Union and fragile states.   Our case studies will include looking at a comparison of a fragile state and a strong state, and look at the policy decisions that have contributed to fragility and strength.  This year we will look at India (and Pakistan) vs China, and how they have evolved over the last 20 years.   We'll learn the history surrounding these crisis states, what led to them, and the global foreign policy being used to address these issues.   Our debate will surround solutions that have been proposed, and the liklihood of success for any particular solution. 

  5. Hot Topics and Hot Spots:  Our Hot Spots are going to include studies on cyber security, nuclear proliferation and the New Nationalism.

  6. Millennials & Social Media in a Global World.  We'll end up looking at how Millennials world wide are affecting global events.  How is social media increasing involvement in national and global politics, what social movements are happening now, and finally, what does it mean to be a global citizen.