(Winter 2012 – Volume 25, Number 4) By Angene Wilson
Ambassador Chris Stevens and an article in the most recent WorldView magazine by a currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco who visited his village are the inspiration for this lesson plan. What does it take to be an ambassador representing the United States of America? What is the job of an ambassador? This lesson plan is perhaps most appropriate for government or civics class.
Objective: Students will brainstorm attributes of an ambassador, learn about a particular ambassador, Chris Stevens, and learn about an ambassador’s job.
- WorldView article about Chris Stevens and the Moroccan people he served, “Letter from Morocco: My Journey to Ouaouizerth, A Volunteer Remembers Chris Stevens”
- YouTube video of President Obama’s speech at the 67th UN General Assembly
- U.S. State Department website
Procedure: Begin by asking students to brainstorm what attributes an ambassador would need to do his or her job and why. Prompt students to think about a wide range of attributes. Ask why speaking the language of the country could be important, for instance. Ask why a sense of humor or a love of art or music might be important. What kind of formal education should an ambassador have? What about international experiences?
Transition to asking students if they heard about the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya on September 11, 2012. Don’t spend too much time on the circumstances and the hearings about his death and the death of three other Americans in Benghazi. Ask students to read the WorldView article “Letter from Morocco: My Journey to Ouaouizerth, A Volunteer Remembers Chris Stevens.” What do they learn from the article that relates to attributes for an ambassador?
Show beginning of President Obama’s speech at the 67th UN General Assembly on YouTube when he talks about Chris Stevens. Either show students on screen from U.S. State Department website or let individual students read to class from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Swearing in Ceremony for Chris Stevens and her Remarks at Common Ground Awards in his honor. Go back to list of ambassador attributes students created and match up what people in his Peace Corps village said and what Clinton and the President said about Chris Stevens.
Either as whole class or as duos or small group or homework ask students to put themselves in the shoes of an ambassador by doing the Diplomats@work scenario on the State Department website (under “careers” and then “engage”). Select the earthquake scenario and follow P for political officer to see what an ambassador might do. Students might also find it interesting to listen to several short videos featuring foreign service officers, also available under “careers.”
Final question to students to consider individually: Which of the attributes of an ambassador and of Chris Stevens specifically would you like to have?