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1. Introduction
2. Latin America
3. North America
4. North Africa /
    Southwest Asia
Before You Watch
Programs & Activities
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5. Sub-Saharan Africa
6. Russia
7. Europe
8. Global Forces /
    Local Impact
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Program Overview: North Africa / Southwest Asia

This program focuses on two locations in the arid region of North Africa/Southwest Asia. First we visit Jerusalem in a search to understand the conflicts that have erupted in this holy city. Then, in Egypt, we investigate this desert nation's limited natural resources. Our classroom segments show students grappling with what it means to live in Israel's occupied territories and engaging in some creative map-making as they map the Nile River.

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Part 1. Israel: Sacred Space Under Siege

-Joop van Reede
Producer-Teleac, Netherlands

This program explores Jerusalem's history as a religiously significant city for Muslims, Jews, and Christians and the conflict that has erupted over competing claims for city sectors. The case study investigates the spatial distribution of religious groups throughout the city and seeks answers to how Jerusalem can be equitably organized in the future. The classroom segment explores contested space in Israel and what it means to be a refugee living in occupied territory. Students discuss the conflicts in Israel and work in groups to address problems of living in refugee camps.


  • Identify the physical and human factors that serve to define a region.
  • Explain why places and regions are important to individual human identity and as symbols for unifying or fragmenting society.
  • Evaluate the impact of multiple spatial divisions on peoples' daily lives.

Part 2. Egypt: Water in the Desert

-Roger Samsioe
Producer-UR, Sweden

This program investigates Egypt's limited natural resources, focusing on that nation's dependence on the Nile River. It includes an examination of the pressures on the Nile watershed in light of an increasing urban population, as well as government response to this issue. The accompanying classroom segment involves a creative approach to map-making and a role-playing exercise in which students express different points of view on how the Nile River should be used.


  • Understand how changes in the spatial distribution of population may result in changes in social and economic conditions.
  • Understand the role of technology in changing the physical environment and the environmental consequences of such actions.
  • Explain how hands-on and role-playing activities foster deeper student understanding of the physical environment and the consequences of human modification of the environment.


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