Introduction II Knowledge Enrichment Lecture notes

Part 1: Achievements of the UN (in different aspects)

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Part 1: Achievements of the UN (in different aspects)

Part 2: Limitations of the UN (in different aspects)

Part 3a: Comparison between achievements and limitations

Part 3b: Overall judgment on the extent of the UN’s successfulness


Approach 2:

  • The essay begins with an introduction which states the student’s stance on the extent of successfulness of the UN in resolving global problems of wealth and resources.

  • The first part of the essay can be divided into 3-4 aspects, in each of which the student can examine one specific problem, corresponding solutions adopted by the UN, and the UN’s achievements and limitations in handling that particular problem. (Note: In each particular aspect, students should not make any premature attempt at commenting on the extent of successfulness.)

  • The second part of the essay, i.e. the overall judgment, should weigh between the cumulative accounts of achievements and limitations, point out which account is more prevalent, influential and dominant, as well as determining the extent of successfulness of the UN.

  • The conclusion should reinstate the student’s stance on the given question.


Part 1: Achievements of the UN

Aspect 2

  • Problems__Solutions__Achievements__Limitations__Aspect_4'>Problems

  • Solutions

  • Achievements

  • Limitations

Aspect 1

  • Problems

  • Solutions

  • Achievements

  • Limitations

Aspect 4

  • Problems

  • Solutions

  • Achievements

  • Limitations

Aspect 3

  • Problems

  • Solutions

  • Achievements

  • Limitations


Part 2b: Overall judgment on the extent of the UN’s successfulness

Part 2a: Comparison between achievements and limitations

  • No matter which approach is adopted, students can think about the following questions when comparing achievements with limitations and trying to determine the extent of successfulness of the UN:

  • Which side – the achievements or the limitations – is more obvious?

  • Which side has endured a longer time in the given time frame?

  • Which side has had a stronger impact on mankind?

  • Which side has influenced a larger number of people?

  • Was the general situation of global wealth and resources distribution by 2000 better or worse than right after the Second World War?

Question 1

How effective is the ASEAN in enforcing an Asian community during the period 1967-2000?
Suggested approach:

  • Before answering this question, teachers can guide students into thinking:

    • What is meant by “enforcing an Asian community”?

    • What have been the actual duties of the ASEAN in enforcing an Asian community? What are the means and strategies taken by the ASEAN thus far?

    • What may become the criteria for judging the effectiveness of the ASEAN in enforcing an Asian community?

  • “Enforcing an Asian community” may mean the following:

    • Asian countries feeling willing to communicate with each other on equal terms

    • Asian countries respecting each other’s culture, system, autonomy, sovereignty, etc.

    • The sense of belonging, unity and solidarity between Asian countries

    • Asian countries acting together on issues of common interest and common concern, e.g. collective security, economic crises, political stability, social changes, etc.

    • Asian countries feeling willing to make similar contributions to the advancement of Asia

    • Asian countries reacting to non-Asian or global issues with identical/similar stance

  • Before evaluating the effectiveness of the ASEAN, students may need to consider the following aspects of the ASEAN’s work:

    • Fostering regional consultation and dialogue

    • Holding ASEAN Summit meetings to discuss and resolve regional issues

    • Enhancing cooperation and partnership between members

    • Handling regional issues of trade, energy, environment and security

    • Promoting ASEAN members’ external relations

    • Enhancing citizens’ freedom of travel and movement

  • When thinking about the effectiveness (and ineffectiveness) of the ASEAN in performing each of the above duties, students may consider the following criteria:

  • Which side – the effective or the ineffective side – is more obvious?

  • Which side has endured a longer time in the given time frame?

  • Which side has had a stronger impact on the citizens of the ASEAN member states?

  • Was the performance of ASEAN by 2000 in the named aspects generally up to the expectations of ASEAN member states?

  • Similar to Question 1 of Topic 2 (i.e. a “how effective” type of question on the topic of international social and cultural cooperation), students may handle this question in two approaches:

    • Approach 1 – firstly examining the effective side of the ASEAN, then the ineffective side, and finally comparing the two sides as well as explaining which was more significant.

    • Approach 2 – firstly looking into each particular aspect of the ASEAN’s work and pointing out the ASEAN’s achievements and limitations, then collecting all the achievements and limitations, and finally commenting on the degree of effectiveness of the ASEAN.

Question 2

Do you agree that Reform and Opening Up of the People’s Republic of China in the 1980s has improved its relations with other Asian countries by 2000? Explain your answer with reference to The PRC’s relationship with any one Asian country.
Suggested approach:

  • This question guides students into thinking about the impact of the Reform and Opening Up measures in the 1980s on Sino-foreign relations up to 2000 in the Asian context. Students may choose any Asian country such as Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, etc. For the convenience of the illustration below, Japan is taken as an example.

  • Before examining how the Reform and Opening Up measures changed Sino-Japanese relations, students may firstly need to recall the PRC’s relationships with Japan in the short period before the reforms began in 1978. Students can attempt to answer these questions:

  • What words below could be used to describe the Sino-Japanese relations during the period 1970-78?











  • What historical events can prove such qualities of Sino-Japanese relations?

  • Students should then examine how the beginning of the Reform and Opening Up in 1978 could be related to changes in Sino-Japanese relations. Teachers may guide students into thinking primarily from the economic perspective. For instance, teachers may ask their students such questions:

    • How did the PRC’s opening up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) change the interaction between the PRC and Japan?

    • What kinds of connections existed between the PRC’s coastal export-oriented industries and inland heavy industries and Japan’s financial and technological sectors?

    • Which elements in the Sino-Japanese relations become stronger or weaker?

    • How did the PRC’s increasing economic strength in the 1980s and 1990s affect the PRC and Japan’s mutual perception, e.g. each other’s perception of Japan’s militarist invasion of China during WWII, their territorial disputes, etc.?

    • Has any new agreement arisen between the PRC and Japan due to the Reform and Opening Up of the PRC? If any, how have the content of the agreement(s) changed over time?

  • After some in-depth studies and discussion, students may find that the Sino-Japanese relations have improved in some ways and simultaneously worsened in some other ways. In case of this, students may still give the two contrasting faces an overall comparison, and determine whether the Sino-Japanese relations have improved or worsened in general, i.e. whether the improvement in Sino-Japanese relations outweighed the deterioration of relations, or vice versa.

Question 3

Sino-Japanese relations in the 1980s and 1990s were primarily shaped by economic interactions between the People’s Republic of China and Japan.” Do you agree?

Suggested approach:

  • Whatever a student’s choice of stance (either agree or disagree) might be, one should firstly enlist and elaborate on a number of factors that shaped the Sino-Japanese relations during the 1980s and 1990s. If a student focuses merely on the given factor, i.e. economic interactions between the two countries, without examining other factors in details, the answer is doomed to be a heavily biased and rather unsubstantiated one.

  • This type of question, i.e. whether a given factor is the primary force shaping the broader historical development, belongs to the “relative importance” question type, so it is necessary to take a careful examination and comparison of the relative influence of each factor.

  • Students may ponder the following factors affecting Sino-Japanese relations:

  • Sino-Japanese economic interactions since the start of the PRC’s Reform and Opening Up in 1978

  • Japanese politicians’ occasional visits to the Yasukuni Shrine

  • Japan’s attempt at removing the history of Japanese aggression in China during WWII

  • The military and diplomatic influence of the US in intervening in the Sino-Japanese balance of power

  • The influence of Japanese culture on the PRC and anti-Japanese outrage among the Chinese public

  • As the initial step of handling this question, students may examine how Sino-Japanese economic interactions (i.e. the trade of raw materials, products and services, the exchange of production technology and management skills, etc.) enhanced both sides’ willingness to maintain harmonious relationships. It would be good for students to see the mutually beneficial relationships between the PRC and Japan based on economic motives.

  • Having done so, students may proceed to look into how each “other factor” has caused friendship, alliance, better understanding, reconciliation, mutual suspicion, distrust, disputes, or serious clashes between the two countries. When writing about these cause-and-effect relationships, students shall discuss each factor in a separate paragraph.

  • Next, students need to weigh between the given factor and various “other factors”, and comment on the relative strength of these factors in affecting the development of Sino-Japanese relations. Students can consider the intensity of each factor by the following criteria:

  • Which factor lasted for a longer / the longest period of time in the given period?

  • Which factor was the most fundamental, i.e. the origin of other factors?

  • Which factor was so influential that it weakened/reverted the effect of other factors?

  • How were the Sino-Japanese relations in general up to 2000? Which factor was responsible for this ultimate pattern of Sino-Japanese relations?

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