CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Perils of Peacemaking

History, Geography, Media Studies, Political Science
2 to 3 lessons
To gain in-depth understanding of the challenges in peacemaking initiatives
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will produce a news magazine–style program on peacemaking challenges in the 1990s.

Lesson Plan


Canadian peacemakers journeyed to Somalia with a mission to bring stability to a country torn apart by political chaos and to bring humanitarian aid to tens of thousands suffering from starvation. The mission's achievements were eclipsed by evidence of racism, brutality, and murder amongst the soldiers and a failure of leadership that stretched from the field to Ottawa. The Somalia affair is shocking in that good intentions yielded such tragic results. Although the mission's humanitarian objectives were met, the nation and the military cannot forget the horror of Shidane Arone's death or the revelations about the Airborne Regiment. Canada's experience in Somalia is part of the larger story of peacemaking challenges in the 1990s.

The Task

Divide the class into five groups. Four groups will prepare segments for a news magazine-style program on peacemaking challenges in the 1990s. The fifth group will prepare an overview of the topic, organize the program, and moderate each of the segments. Students may present their news magazine live or create videotape.

Assign one of the following peacemaking missions to each of the four groups preparing magazine segments: Somalia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone.

Students developing magazine segments will perform internet research and prepare presentations covering the following areas (available on the download sheet Perils of Peacemaking):

What is the background story?
Why did soldiers go on a mission to this region?
What country or countries participated?
When did the mission take place?
What happened?
How did this mission affect the soldiers and countries that participated?
What is happening in this region today?

Students' presentations should include facts, maps, photographs, eyewitness accounts, and analysis. All students in a group should have a specific role to play in the presentation.

The Process

Direct students to the topic The Somalia Affair on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have students spend about 15 minutes browsing the site to gain an introduction to the Somalia mission.

Students in the moderator group should search the internet to gain information about peacemaking missions and coordinate the program by consulting with the other research groups.

Students must make sure that all their facts are correct and verifiable. They should cite all sources consulted and used.


Allow students to present their news magazine program. Lead an open discussion of peacemaking missions as an approach to building peace and security in the world. Prompt students to assess Canada's experience in Somalia and to relate Canada's experience to that of other nations. Ask: What do these missions have in common? How are they different? How can Canadians and other nations motivated by humanitarian goals increase their chances of making a positive difference in the world's most troubled regions?

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