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        Part of James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work
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        The Coalition Builder: Lesson Plan | James Baker The Man Who Made Washington Work

        Examine Baker's negotiations with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in 1991, and find out why Baker set out to build an international coalition prior to war.

        Lesson Summary

        Students will examine historical examples of United States’ coalition building under Secretary of State James Baker. They will identify why coalition building was necessary and examine the major steps taken in achieving a coalition. Students will then identify a local problem or issue and analyze the actions needed in creating a coalition to achieve their goal.

        Time Allotment

        1-2 class periods.

        Learning Objectives

        Students will be able to:

        • Describe what it means to build a coalition.
        • Describe James Baker’s role as a “coalition builder” during two key events in history.
        • Brainstorm alternative historical outcomes for what might have happened without the support of a coalition.
        • Identify the differences between global and local coalition building.


        Introductory Activity

        Part I: What is a Coalition?
        1. Place the following quote on the board, or project on the screen:
          “One of the things the United States does well is building coalitions. What the U.S. knows is that if you don't have a coalition with you, you will have a coalition against you.”
          — Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres
        2. Facilitate a discussion with the students to interpret and evaluate the quotation.  Draw upon students’ background knowledge. What is a coalition?  What does it mean to build a coalition?
        Part II – Building a Local Coalition
        1. Introduce the educational activity by explaining that coalition building is necessary at an individual level as well as the global level.
        2. Explain to students that they will identify a school- or community- based issue and apply the steps of coalition building in order to develop a solution.
        3. Students brainstorm issues and the teacher records these on the board.

        Learning Activities

        Part I: What is a Coalition?
        1. Show the following two video clips as examples of United States coalition building that was led by Secretary of State Baker under the George Bush administration. As you show the clips, facilitate a discussion about each, having students complete the graphic organizers as noted for each clip. 4. Use the interactive map of the Middle East on the student activity page to show students the physical proximity of the players in the coalition building efforts. Have them explore the map by clicking on a country to get more information.
        Part II – Building a Local Coalition
        1. The teacher facilitates a classroom discussion to narrow down the issues students believe are the most important. Depending on the size of the class, the number of issues should allow the class to divide into small groups of 4 - 5 students.
        2. Students form groups based on their issue. Not every student will be working with their first choice.
        3. The teacher reinforces students’ understanding of coalition building, and uses the examples from the Baker video clips already identified. The teacher facilitates a discussion about what may have happened in Kuwait without the coalition building.
        4. The teacher explains that the identification of supporters and opponents is a necessary first step in coalition building. Winning over the opponents to your point of view makes achieving your goal more likely.

        Culminating Activity

        1. Students work in groups to complete Graphic Organizer #3 – Building a Local Coalition .


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