Political Systems


  • 70% Female | Wide Angle: Window into Global History

    This Wide Angle video features the women of Rwanda who have emerged as outspoken leaders and the great strides they have made toward rights and equality.  The social and governmental infrastructures of Rwanda faced a dramatic shift after the genocide of 1994. Women now make up 70 percent of the population and have become an active force in Rwandan society.

    Grades: 9-12
  • All for One | Wide Angle

    The communist state of North Korea has exercised authoritarian control over its citizenry at the expense of individual rights and freedoms; conformity and discipline permeate all aspects of North Korean society. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "A State of Mind," viewers experience the influence of the Workers’ Party of Korea on a family living in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

    Grades: 9-12
  • A Tale of Two Heavens: Escaping North Korea | Wide Angle: Lesson Plan

    In this lesson, from the Wide Angle episode "Crossing Heaven's Border," students will learn about the conditions in authoritarian North Korea that have compelled many North Koreans to attempt a dangerous escape to what they see as the "Heaven" of capitalist South Korea.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Brainwashed | Wide Angle

    In this video, excerpted from the Wide Angle film "Crossing Heaven's Border," evolving and enlightened attitudes in South Korea toward once-vilified North Koreans are contrasted with North Korea's ongoing brainwashing of its own citizens through propaganda. The latter is illustrated here by Park Un Suk, a young North Korean who resolutely defends Kim Jong Il's regime as her older sister Park Gum Suk tries, unsuccessfully, to convince her to defect and join her in South Korea.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Breaking New Ground | Wide Angle

    After the genocide of 1994, the women of Rwanda emerged as leaders in their communities and government. This video segment from the Wide Angle film "Ladies First" introduces some of the challenges the women have faced, and how they have succeeded.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Detainees | Wide Angle

    The push for human populations to migrate often comes from unstable conditions in people's homelands. Corrupt and oppressive regimes force many to seek asylum in countries that allow their citizens more individual rights and freedoms. However, migrants are not always welcome and are often sent back to their native countries or detained. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Border Jumpers," meet political asylum seekers from Zimbabwe who have been prevented entry to, and detained in, Botswana.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Flight to Freedom | Wide Angle

    In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Crossing Heaven's Border," North Korean defector Gum Hee makes preparations to leave China—where she has been living illegally with her son Bo Song since defecting from North Korea—for South Korea. It is a risky plan involving a forged Chinese passport and a heartbreaking sacrifice: she must leave her son Bo Song behind in China, and hope to send for him once she’s established herself in South Korea.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Heaven on Earth | Wide Angle

    This video from the Wide Angle film "Crossing Heaven's Border" offers a look inside North Korea since the 1994 ascension to power of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il—a dictator whose brutal and often incompetent policies resulted in an economic collapse and the subsequent "Great Famine" of the mid-90s, and whose secret police continue to suppress dissenters. In contrast, South Korea represents "heaven" to North Korean defectors, who seek to find there a "first world" standard of living and political freedom.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Illegal in Beijing | Wide Angle

    China’s laws designed to control the movement of rural citizens into urban areas have been met with limited success. Despite their second-class status due to governmental and social restrictions, rural populations continue to migrate and settle in China’s major and developing cities. Illegal migrants are faced with substandard living conditions due to laws preventing them access to urban housing and schooling. In this video from the Wide Angle film "To Have and Have Not," visit a migrant area and meet one of the families that reside in this impoverished community.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Legal System Expansion | Wide Angle

    The development of China’s market economy has created changes in many areas of its society. For example, the republic is creating a new legal system to manage the increasing number of cases that have been brought to litigation in recent years. Nearly four hundred law schools have been established and hundreds of thousands of judges and lawyers have been trained in the past twenty five years. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," law students participate in a practice court at Sichuan University in the city of Chengdu.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Migrant Workers | Wide Angle

    There are strict laws in China, dating back to the Maoist era of the 1950s, that prevent Chinese citizens from the countryside from working in urban areas. Harsh conditions in China’s rural countryside, however, have left many undeterred and seeking employment in the city. These migrant workers have been denied social services and are subject to poor working conditions because of their illegal status. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," visit with migrant construction workers in Beijing.

    Grades: 9-12
  • One Nation: Two Futures? | Wide Angle: Lesson Plan

    Showcasing the differing viewpoints of "haves" and "have-nots," this lesson covers economic and political shifts in China.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Political Debate in Turkey | Wide Angle

    Secularists in Turkey are fearful that the ruling Islamic AK party will move the nation away from its secularism and impose Islamic law, resulting in a rise of Islamic fundamentalism. AK supporters feel that the party is compatible with modernity and harsh criticism from secularists has not been justified. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Turkey's Tigers," enter the debate on the roles and conflicts of secularism and democratic values with Islam in Turkey.  

    Grades: 9-12
  • Self-Reliance | Wide Angle: Window into Global History

    The North Korean official state ideology of "self-reliance" was greatly challenged during the Arduous March, a famine that claimed the lives of an estimated two million people. Despite the great losses suffered, the North Korean doctrine of "self-reliance" still holds strong in North Korean people forced to live under the totalitarian government. In this segment from the Wide Angle film "A State of Mind," a member of the Communist Workers' Party discusses what the official doctrine means to him and his fellow comrades.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Women in Parliament | Wide Angle

    Essential to the reconstruction of Rwanda after the genocide of 1994 was the formation of a new government. The women of Rwanda were an integral part of civic life post-genocide and their efforts have been recognized with formidable representation in Parliament. This video segment from the Wide Angle film "Ladies First" provides an overview of the role of women in Rwandan government.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Worth the Risk? | Wide Angle

    This video, excerpted from the Wide Angle film "Crossing Heaven's Border," captures the human drama—and tragedy—which unfolds regularly on the Tumen River dividing North Korea and China: North Korean defectors risking everything to escape the oppressive regime of Kim Jong Il. Here one such escape attempt is a documented by a covert team of South Korean journalists.

    Grades: 9-12

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