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1. Introduction
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4. North Africa /
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Program Overview: Russia

Russia is a vast region, characterized by diverse physical and human geographical features. In this workshop, we will investigate the relationships of these features with Russia's past, present, and future. Using the Russian examples of St. Petersburg and Dagestan, we will consider, first, how urban centers develop and, later, the intercultural relationships of cooperation and conflict.

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Part 1. St. Petersburg: Russia's Window on the West

-Joop van Reede
-Teleac, Netherlands

This program examines the development of cities in Russia, past and present, and looks to what the future holds in a post-Soviet society. St. Petersburg serves as our case study, from its roots in the vision of Peter the Great, to the difficulties facing it as it moves from a communist system to the capitalist free market. Following the case study, we visit a classroom in which students participate in an inquiry-based exercise to determine where cities are located in Russia and why.


  • Explain why places have specific physical and human characteristics.
  • Identify how patterns of economic interdependence influence the development of urban centers.
  • Adapt inquiry learning and constructivist approaches for teaching students about patterns and functions of urban settlement.

Part 2. Dagestan: Russia's Southern Challenge

-Joop van Reede
-Teleac, Netherlands

This workshop explores the opportunities for both cooperation and conflict when cultures interact. First, we explore Dagestan as one part of Russia's cultural mosaic and the reasons for its continued membership in the Russian Federation. We also see how the people of Dagestan react to conflicts in neighboring Chechnya. Later we visit a classroom where students participate in a role-playing exercise negotiating cultural boundaries in the fictional country of "Ugeria" in order to better understand real-world cultural conflicts.


  • Explain how culture influences each group's unique view of itself and others.
  • Analyze how changes in the use, meaning and distribution of resources influence the stability and future of a region.
  • Describe how using simulated decision-making activities in the classroom engages students in critical thinking and understanding geographic concepts.


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