Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Role-Playing a Summit Meeting
As a class, view one of the meetings portrayed on Mr. President Goes to Ottawa on the CBC Digital Archives website. (Use either an LCD projector or have students work in the computer lab.) Alternatively, share newspaper or magazine articles about a recent meeting between a prime minister of Canada and a president of the United States. As a class, discuss the elements of a summit meeting. Ask such questions as:
Why do the leaders of these two countries meet?
What does each leader hope to gain?
What are the political implications of meeting or not meeting?
What are the political implications for the leaders of meeting in their own country or visiting the other country?
Outline the Opportunity
Divide the class into nine groups
and direct them to the topic Mr.
President Goes to Ottawa on the CBC Digital Archives website to collect as
much information as they can about each of the historical or hypothetical
meetings between prime ministers and presidents. Assign each group one of the
clips. Each group will select one person to assume the role of the prime
minister and one person to assume the role of the president for a mock summit
meeting. Have groups prepare detailed position papers.
Begin each summit meeting by having the two figures present their position papers as opening remarks. Following the opening remarks, hold a mock press conference where the other members of the group act as news reporters and ask questions of the two leaders. Include time for an interchange between the two leaders, as well as final statements to the reporters at the end of the meeting.
Revisit and Reflect
Following the summit meetings and press conferences, ask students to identify some of the important issues that arose from each of the summit meetings and list them on the board. Ask students to give some general conclusions about the issues that have occupied presidential-prime ministerial meetings from the Second World War to the present day.
Students can prepare and present a brief written report about one of the summit meetings they witnessed. They should include information about the main issues, the contributions of the prime minister and president who took part, and the resulting influence of the meeting on Canadian-American relations.