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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Current Events: The Breakdown

How many times have you flipped on the news and you are immediately lost? A regime is falling in Africa, gas prices are rising in the Americas, blackouts in Asia - and all of that is just the first five minutes. In middle school and high school I was involved in Speech, Oral Interp and Debate which demanded that I at least had a surface level knowledge of what was happening across the globe. I tended to shy away from the "bigger picture" arguments because trying to find out what was happening across the world was daunting. However one glorious day during the end of my junior year I found hope in a hopeless place: The Council on Foreign Relations. 

CFR is a non partisan (which means that try to have the most objective view of the world but still take everything with a grain of salt) that presents the world arena in a easier way for the masses. Here is a nifty video with more information if you have the time (4 minutes) :

So let's breakdown the site and see how helpful it can be:

If you are starting a project or are just interested about a certain event in the world be sure to look here. This section has commentary, links to articles, videos and timelines to help you better understand the event or issue. 

This is my favorite section of the site. If you are 100% or even 56% lost about a certain topic or region, the Backgrounder will be your new best friend. Let's say you are browsing through Twitter and you see something about the Libor Scandal. Instead of having to Google your way to an answer, simply search it on CFR. You will find a succinct entry about the Libor Scandal. Think of this section as a more in depth and up-to-date world events' encyclopedia.   

You may have heard that the President gets a briefing of everything that is happening in the world every morning and that would be correct. Think of this section (which can also be conveniently emailed to you every day) as your version of the president's briefing. This doesn't go in-depth but gives you enough information about what is happening to keep up with the status - quo.

I primarily used this section for a majority of my debate cases. This section has not only CFR fellows but also people who specialize in what ever the topic might be giving their analysis. The old proverb "two heads are better than one" shines in this part of the website.

Whether you are a student who has a project or a person who is curious, CFR has numerous resources available and an overwhelming part is free!

Stay Updated,

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