The NORDIC REGION...
WHY REGIONS MATTER....
BACKGROUND ON STUDENT TEXT PAGES
Tips for Using the "Cultural
Tips for Using the "Current
Tips for Using the "Tomorrow's
SOCIAL STUDIES READING SKILLS
"Nordic.... countries have achieved global leadership in low-carbon technologies" while, at the same time, they have "strengthened their economic competitiveness." On October 21, 2010, the
enormous impact of that finding was the subject of a briefing on Capitol Hill
in a presentation sponsored by representatives of the Environmental and Energy
Study Institute (EESI) and the Nordic Council. The significance of the report?
Nordic nations — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden —
have shown that a country can simultaneously "grow" its economy, improve its
energy efficiency, and switch to renewable resources. The
EESI website confirms, for example, that "Sweden has reduced emissions by 12 percent" since 1990 (while its GDP has risen 48 percent), "Iceland gets 82 percent of its primary energy from renewable resources," and Finland has set its eyes on a "goal of 60 percent renewable
energy by 2050."
Green-energy policy is not the only field in
which the Nordic Region makes headlines. Nordic nations pop up consistently at
or near the top of lists ranging from the "most networked countries in the
world," to the most generous donors of foreign assistance, to the "best places
in which to be a new mother." How does a group of five neighboring countries
with a combined population of only 25 million achieve all this? To help your
class explore that question, Learning Enrichment (LE) offers this study unit. It
will help students to examine the influence of the region's geography, history,
and cultural traditions on its member nations and their people. It will throw
light on the kinds of policies they now share and the goals they support. And It
might even lead your class to explore other world regions — the Middle
East, for example — in a new light.
This unit's three Student Text Pages —
together with its Map Page and Data
Page — should get your students off to a good start. And, if you want them to sharpen their Social
Studies Reading Skills while using this unit, see LE's new reading
skills segment near the end of this Teacher Page!
Each of the three student pages in this unit is self-contained, and
the pages can be duplicated and distributed in any sequence (though the
numbered "1-2-3" order makes good sense). As a whole, the unit
should be an excellent supplement to courses in Modern History, World
Regions, and Contemporary Issues (9-12). Among the learning goals it supports
are the following objectives, selected from Expectations of Excellence:
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (EE), Geography for Life:
National Geography Standards (GL), and National Standards for History
(NSH). Thus, students should be better able to:
- "identify and explain the criteria
that give regions their identity in different periods of ... world
history." Standard 5E: "Places and Regions"
- "evaluate the role of institutions
in furthering both continuity and change." "Individuals,
Groups, & Institutions" (EE, High School)
- "explain conditions and motivations
that contribute to conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among
groups, societies, and nations." "Global Connections"
(EE, High School)
- "analyze connections between globalizing
trends in economy [and] technology ... and dynamic assertions of traditional
cultural identity and distinctiveness." "Era 9: Major
Global Trends Since World War II" (NSH)
- "... analyze ways in which trade
has contributed to economic and cultural change in particular societies
or civilizations." "World History Across the Eras"
"Scandinavian?" "Nordic?" In earliest usage,
the geographic term "Scandia" ("Scandinavia,"
by the 17th century) applied only to the peninsula on which modern-day
Norway and Sweden are located. (Actually, early Romans thought of Sweden
as an island.) The early and frequent exchanges of people, goods, and
ideas between this peninsula and what is now called Denmark extended the
cultural meaning of "Scandinavian" to include Danes.
Historically, the term was later expanded to embrace Iceland and
Finland, too, given their role in the region's history (see Student
Text Page No. 1). But recent practice, underlined by the five countries'
own choice of name for their Nordic Council, makes "Nordic" the
term of preference for many commentators today especially political
speakers (including many "Scandinavians"!). Students researching the region
should do searches under both labels.
Other terms you may want to preview include:
archaeologist, biofuels, broadband access, cultural tradition, economic
measurements, environment, EU, foreign aid, geothermal energy, global
marketplace, gross domestic product, information and communications technology
(ICT), myth, NATO, rehabilitation (post-war), renewable energy,
safety-net (welfare) laws, service industry, standard of living,
stock market, and urbanization. (You may also want to point
out this unit's use of BCE for "Before Common Era" and CE for "Common
WHY REGIONS MATTER....
In this unit, the Nordic Region is explored under three key questions,
which (in effect) comprise a "yesterday-today-tomorrow" approach:
What are the cultural roots of the people in the Nordic Region?
(See Student Text Page No. 1)
What values and institutions are shared by the nations and people
in this region today? (Student
Text Page No. 2) What challenges and opportunities does the
region, as a whole, face in the 21st century? (Student
Text Page No. 3) Threaded throughout the entire unit are two other
questions: How have the peoples/nations of this region influenced
one another? How does this region influence the world? You may
find it useful to employ those questions as well as questions in
the "Regional Matters" segment at the end of each student page
to evaluate student understanding, promote seminar discussions,
and prompt research.
BACKGROUND ON STUDENT TEXT
An effective use of this unit's materials does not require in-depth
studies of individual nations within the Nordic Region. But you may want to keep a few
basic sources on tap for students seeking additional background information on these
countries. For example, the CIA's World Factbook provides
current statistical data on each nation's population, government, and economy an
especially useful source in an era when nations are striving to cope with the effects of
the recent global recession. (Use the menu on the opening page to select entries for
"Denmark," "Finland," "Iceland," "Norway," and/or "Sweden.") Similarly, students can use
the search box on the main page of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to access a fairly lengthy entry on any of
the five countries. (You might also want to point students to the Wikipedia entry for "Scandinavian American", an
interesting profile of four percent of the U.S. population.)
What follows here is a list of suggestions
for expanding and extending some of the themes and topics in the student
text pages in this unit:
Student Text Page No. 1: "Cultural Roots."
This page traces the development of the Nordic Region, including major
environmental and cultural influences on its identity. Students using
this page should have access to a regional map (see the Nordic
Region Map Page). A map showing the region in relationship to Europe
and North America would also be useful. Here are just a few tips for extending
the use of this page:
1a. What's in a
name? The "naming" of this region is a thread that runs
throughout the "Cultural Roots" page, and it provides one option
for helping students review and evaluate how the region developed its
Suggestion: Ask students
to plot a timeline marking the approximate eras when the application
of the term "Scandinavia(n)" changed or expanded. Be sure
they include the 20th-century adoption of the term "Nordic."
1b. Cultural identity.
"Let silence, then, be granted, / While we sing the loss of thanes." This brief
excerpt from "The Prose Edda of
Snorri Sturlson," illustrates the Icelandic Eddas mentioned at the top of Student Text Page No. 1. They are one of the major
sources for research into early Scandinavian culture, and a library or Internet search
under the term "Saga" will turn up others. The Sagas, written in the 12th and 13th
centuries, are considered part of the shared heritage of today's Nordic
peoples and are evidence of the powerful, unifying effect that shared
linguistic traditions had in shaping their region's culture. Students
reading this page learn that "by 500 BCE.... [people throughout the region] spoke some version of the earliest Germanic language." Ask: "How
might their use of the same — or similar — languages have
helped the earliest Scandinavian settlers to develop similar traditions?
How important is language in shaping a person's cultural identity today?"
For a change of pace in their study of how language preserves and reflects
culture, invite students to research and examine the lyrics of "Oceania,"
written by Iceland's pop-culture star Björk Guðmundsdóttir.
In her song, Björk (the only name she uses professionally) becomes
the voice of the ocean, reminding humans of their profound links to
it: "Your sweat is salty / I am why...." How might
these and other lines in "Oceania" reflect the Nordic peoples'
millennia-old relationship with the seas around their homelands?
governments, Part I. Tell students that Iceland (geographically the
youngest Nordic nation, since its volcanic terrain is of more recent origin
than the Scandinavian Peninsula), has the region's and the world's
oldest parliament: In 930 CE, its chiefs established a republican
constitution and an assembly called the Althingi. Today's Nordic
governments a topic addressed near the end of this student pagemay
differ from one another in some respects (see the Nordic
Region Data Page), but all have unicameral parliaments, in which political
parties are represented on the basis of universal elections.
Suggestion: Urge students
to research how these parliaments work (Denmark's Folketing,
Finland's Eduskunta, Iceland's Althingi, Norway's Storting,
Sweden's Riksdag), then discuss the pros and cons of having a
1d. Pressing toward democracy.
A central theme of this student page is the gradual development of the cultural and
political identities of the five Nordic societies over the centuries. One of the strongest
features of that development summarized in the "Meeting challenges" segment
is their journey toward independence and democracy. A major step for each was the emergence
of its political identity as an independent kingdom and/or nation (Denmark, a millennium
ago, Sweden in the 16th century, Norway in 1905, Finland in 1917, and Iceland in 1944).
Another step was the embodiment of democratic principles within a constitution an
achievement that each population realized, separately, between the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. And today? Freedom House ranks all five Nordic countries among those nations that maintain the strongest political rights and civil liberties in the
Remind students that the establishment of a democratic form of government is still a goal
for many people around the world. Then ask: Is there a "best path" toward this goal? Does
the process (optimally) include a series of gradual steps? Or is immediate, total change
preferable? If convenient, you might want to break students into small groups to discuss
and then report on such issues. Ask them, as they work, to consider this
question, too: What does the history of the Nordic Region (or of the USA) contribute to our
understanding of the way stable democracies evolve?
Student Text Page No. 2: "Current Patterns."
On this page, students will find allusions to the contemporary economic
and social-welfare systems in the Nordic Region descriptions that
will expand in meaning if students are also given access to the Nordic
Region Data Page. The contents of this second student page can be
extended through these follow-up assignments:
2a. Comparing patterns.
The "Current Patterns" page includes sample statistics for topics (taxation,
etc.) related to the Nordic economies. (You may want to send students
to the UN and CIA sources listed in the "More Resources" section
below, to research comparable data for other countries and/or world regions.)
Note also that statistics on the Nordic
Region Data Page can be manipulated to yield further data. For example,
multiplying a nation's population total by its per-capita GDP will yield
- Export-to-GDP ratios.
Denmark's ratio is given. The 2009 ratios for the other four Nordic nations were:
Finland 35:100, Iceland 33:100, Norway 46:100, Sweden 39:100. (By comparison, the
ratio for the USA in the same period was 7:100. All GDP figures are based on
- Urbanization. Given the isolated
settlements in which the earliest Scandinavians lived, students may
also be interested to know how urbanized this region is today. The 2008 urban rates
were: Denmark 87%, Finland 63%, Iceland 92%, Norway 77%, Sweden 85%.
- Workers in service industries.
By 2009, the Nordic Council was reporting that roughly three-fourths of the Region's
workforce are in service-sector occupations. Country-by-country approximations:
Denmark 77%, Finland 70%, Iceland 73%, Norway 76%, Sweden 75%.
- Taxes ... and taxes.
The student page indicates the high tax rates that Nordic populations
bear as the price of a secure and universal welfare policy. However,
you may want to tell students that those rates are based on the combined
impact of a variety of tax types, including value-added taxes, etc.
Another way of looking at it: Combined personal income taxes in the Nordic Region
amounted to about 16 percent of the Region's GDP in 2006.
- Women's roles.... The "Current
Patterns" Page mentions the percent of Swedish parliamentarians
who are women. The Inter-Parliamentary Union reports comparable statistics
for the other Nordic nations: Denmark 38%, Finland 40%, Iceland 43%, Norway 40%.
Nordic women are well represented in most public arenas
and are active in international organizations, too. Gro Harlem Brundtland,
former prime minister of Norway and an early champion of the "sustainable
development" theory for conserving Earth's resources, completed
a five-year tenure (1998-2003) as head of the UN's World Health Organization.
Suggestion: After students
research and/or review the above data, ask them to imagine that they
are writers for a nightly TV news show, with an assignment to write
a 150-word backgrounder on the Nordic Region, to introduce a feature
story on "mixed economies" in the region today.
"exports"? Students interested in more details about
trade in the Nordic Region can find lists of each nation's key "Exports"
and "Imports" in the current edition of the CIA
World Factbook. (Use the opening Search box to select a country's
name, then select "Economy" and scroll for one or both trade-related
labels.) However, countries export more than the products of their economic
activities and foreign policies. Ever since the days of the Icelandic
Sagas, Nordic peoples have shared their artistic achievements with the
rest of the world. In addition to researching the Sagas, students may
be interested in identifying more recent cultural "exports"
from the other four Nordic nations. Examples might include the works of
(a) Denmark's Isak Dinesen (penname of Karen Blixen) and philosopher Søren
Kierkegaard, (b) Finland's composer Jean Sibelius and its renowned architect
Alvar Aalto, (c) Norway's composer Edvard Grieg and writer Henrik Ibsen,
(d) Sweden's Selma Lagerlöf (the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize
in literature) and the world-renowned film director Ingmar Bergman.
Invite students (perhaps working in groups) to research the contributions
of these and other cultural noteworthies from the Nordic Region. After
they report their findings, prompt students to reflect on and discuss
what they learned: "(How) Do the works of these noted Scandinavians
reflect the cultural traditions of their region?"
governments, Part II. Students have many options today for keeping
in touch with news of nations they're studying. See, for example, "More
Resources" at the end of this Teacher Page.
Suggestion: One way for
them to keep track of the nations in the Nordic Region would be to manage
a bulletin board on which they post a regional map, together with current
news stories about the five countries. Since heads of government are
often the subject of headlines, you may want to alert students to the
names of the current (2010) prime ministers in the Nordic Region: Denmark's Lars
Løkke Rasmussen, Finland's Mari Kiviniemi, Iceland's Jóhanna
Sigurðardóttir, Norway's Jens Stoltenberg, and Sweden's Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Student Text Page No. 2: "Tomorrow's Challenge."
Here, students consider the numbers of ways by which the Nordic peoples
are linked to the global community: through information and communications
technology (ICT), trade relations, international organizations, and various
outreach efforts. Since this is the page that would most likely trigger
students' ongoing attention to news reports about the region, you may
want to engage them in one or more of the following exercises:
for others. The five Nordic nations have long been active, staunch
members of the United Nations. The "Reaching out" segment on
the third student page mentions the region's financial support for the
UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — a set of agreements among
192 world nations that was endorsed in September 2000. Students interested
in researching the goals will find a list of them — plus related
links — in the Wikipedia's article on "MDGs".
For a more detailed account of how the MDGs were developed (and for a
2007 progress chart evaluating efforts to reach these goals), they might
try their local library for a copy of Don Hinrichsen's excellent article
"2015: Less Than a Decade To Go" (Scandinavian Review,
Autumn-Winter 2007). In summary terms, the MDGs include eight universal
targets, usually presented in this order: (a) eradication of extreme
poverty and hunger, (b) achievement of universal primary education, (c)
promotion of gender equality, (d) reduction of child mortality, (e) improvement
of maternal health, (f) containment (then reduction) of HIV/AIDS and other
diseases, (g) achievement of environmental sustainability, and
(h) evolution of a global partnership for human development.
students to discuss the MDGs. Does the order in which these goals are
listed seem to suggest any priorities among them? And — if so
— do students agree with the prioritization? Remind your class
that the Nordic nations have extremely high marks in achieving these
same goals for their citizens; then ask: "Why might five highly
advanced societies be so concerned to help other countries achieve these
MDGs?" Perhaps a volunteer committee of students could take the
topic from there, by watching for reports on matters related to the
eight MDGs and keeping a scrapbook of news items that touch on them.
Sea neighbors. It's hard to tackle the study of European history
without discovering the role played by the Baltic Sea and its various
coastal populations in the development of the Nordic Region. This was
a sea plowed by Nordic Vikings (warriors and traders) from the 9th through
the 11th centuries. This was the Late Middle Ages setting for the Hanseatic
League, whose traders linked ports in the Nordic Region (among them, Norway's
Bremen) with outposts in Russia.
Remind students of these historic periods and of the economic and cultural
ties they produced among early peoples living in the Baltic Sea area.
Ask your class to speculate on the kinds of interests that link today's
Baltic Sea countries — members of the Nordic Region, plus Germany,
Poland, Russia, and the three so-called "Baltic States" (Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania). Then urge students to research and report on
that topic, addressing such issues as the following:
- Mutual economic goals. Trade
is still a major link among Baltic Sea nations, as a quick search
of the CIA World
Factbook illustrates. Germany is the chief export partner of Finland,
for example; Finland is the chief export partner of Estonia; and the
largest single source of Norway's imports is Sweden (all data as of
September 2010).... In addition to maintaining mutual trade links, Baltic Sea nations share new concerns
raised by the recent global financial crisis. In August 2010, the governments and
banks of the five Nordic countries and three Baltic States signed a cross-border
agreement to exchange information and coordinate steps that would prevent or
at least manage and resolve any future financial crisis that might threaten
cooperation. The range of mutual interests that engage the
11 Baltic Sea nations is perhaps most clearly defined by the ongoing
agenda of the Council of the Baltic
Sea States, a forum for inter-governmental cooperation at the
ministerial level. Nuclear safety, human rights, educational enrichment, sustainable development of sea resources, climate change: The list of mutual policy
concerns discussed at yearly CBSS meetings suggests that the Baltic
Sea nations may now form a geopolitical "region" in their
own right! Do they? As students report the results of their research,
you might want to steer them toward a discussion of that new geopolitical
3c. Nordic Region and the Arctic Ocean. The
"frozen North" into which so many brave Nordic explorers have ventured over the
centuries is on the verge of becoming a new frontier for human activity. The shrinking
of the polar ice cap has already opened Arctic Ocean shipping lanes, thus cutting time
and costs for exporters. And those in the business of mineral extraction see opportunity
in the Ocean's bed, which is said to hold more than 25 percent of Earth's oil and gas
deposits. Two Nordic nations Norway and Denmark (through Greenland, part of the
Danish Kingdom) have expressed proprietary claims to those deposits. So have
Canada, Russia, and the USA (through Alaska). And the other three Nordic nations
Finland, Iceland, and Sweden are equally concerned about the impact of such
activity on their own region: How might the extraction of Arctic seabed minerals affect
the polar environment? How and by whom would any conflicting claims to
these deposits be resolved?
Suggestion: Tell students that
they may be witnessing the start of a new and important episode in human history
and invite them to become its "chroniclers"! Propose that they work together to prepare
the first segment of a classroom scrapbook titled "New Age in the Arctic Region," with
the idea of then passing the scrapbook along to future classes for continuing additions
to its pages. Urge your students to start the scrapbook with a good polar map. (See, for
example, "Norway's Northern
Neighbors" in the LE study unit "Norway: Exploring New Horizons.") And prompt them
to keep watching for news stories and photos related to the Arctic Region's environment
and development. You might also encourage students to include occasional essays of their
own on questions such as these: What principles and policies should nations adopt, to
guarantee that their activities in the Arctic Region will not threaten the Region
or one another?
3d. "Join NATO, the EU and the Eurozone?"
provocative title, a January 2010 report by the Nordic Council addressed an even
more fundamental question: Should the five Nordic nations form a joint federal state? To
do so, argued the report, all five nations would have to be members of NATO and the EU.
But, as the "Tomorrow's Challenge" page makes clear, (a) Norway and Iceland are not
members of the EU, and (b) neither Finland nor Sweden is part of NATO (though Sweden has
been operating under a NATO command in Afghanistan). Thus, to help students explore the
"provocative" proposal for a Nordic federation, you may first want them to review the
current size of NATO and the EU and their eastward expansion over the years.
Here's some basic information:
* NATO Founding
members (1949): Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, UK, USA.... Additional NATO members, as of October
2010: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey....
Countries interested in NATO membership: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Montenegro.
* EU Founding
members (European Coal and Steel Community, 1951): Belgium, France, Italy,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, West Germany (today, Germany).... Additional EU members, as
of October 2010: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania,
Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.... Countries interested in EU membership: Croatia, Iceland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey.
a classroom map of Europe, help students to identify the locations of
the original — and then, the current — members of NATO and
the EU. Be sure that they recognize the decades-long pattern of eastward
expansion by both organizations. Then point out the countries now seeking
EU and/or NATO membership. Ask: "What impact (if any) might the
continued expansion of NATO and the EU have on those Nordic nations
that do not belong to both organizations? And: Even if they
did join, what impact (if any) might membership in both groups eventually
have on the independent character of the Nordic Region?" At the
start of the "Alone, or together?" segment in the "Tomorrow's
Challenge" page, students read that the peoples of the Nordic Region
understand the adage "in unity lies strength." Does that principle
apply equally to the concept of continental unity, or global unity?
In your students' experience, does there seem to be a trend in today's
world toward such forms of "unification"?
STUDIES READING SKILLS
The U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has generated increased
attention to the development of student reading skills at all grade levels.
LE offers the following tip for teachers wishing to focus on such skills
in connection with their students' use of this unit. (See also LE's Page
on Reading Skills in the Social Studies):
Locate and interpret significant
details. In this age of sound-bite news delivery, it's tempting
to skim over the details and look just for the conclusion of a news
article, editorial, or other piece of writing that deals with current
issues. But that can be risky. The value of any piece of expository
or persuasive communication depends heavily upon the writer's selection
and/or omission of details. In most cases, if the writer hasn't provided
good verifiable details in support of an article's stated premise or
argument, its worth is diminished — maybe lost. And students need
to become aware of that implied "test," especially with regard
to materials they use in social studies classes. To help them develop
their ability to look for — and identify — such details
in assigned readings, you might want to take the following two steps
toward introducing (or reviewing) this unit's Student
Text Page No. 3: "Tomorrow's Challenge":
1. Ask students to identify
the main idea and major themes addressed on the "Tomorrow's
Challenge" Page. Answers could include variations on the following:
Main idea: The 5 Nordic nations are — and will continue to be
— deeply involved in international and global issues. Major themes: Multiple daily information exchanges, global trade, diplomacy, and other
types of interaction bind the Nordic nations to one another and to the
rest of the global community.
2. Ask students
to identify details used by the writer to clarify the article's
main idea and major themes. Answers could include the following:
Examples indicating the importance of ICT technologies to everyday activities
within the region — and of widespread access to ICT; recognition
of the five nations as being among the top 12 networked economies; the
region's global leadership in per-capita income and in economic competitiveness;
its members' commitment to developing clean energy as a way of reducing
air pollution; the region's leadership in donating foreign aid (official
development assistance) and in funding efforts to achieve the UN's Millennium
Development Goals; Nordic leaders' involvement in both peacemaking and
rehabilitation efforts in war-torn countries; Nordic nations' participation
in various regional and international organizations (Nordic Council,
NATO, EU, UN).
This unit was designed to help readers draw inferences about (1)
how the cultural identity of the Nordic Region evolved, (2) how the legacy
of that culture influences Nordic nations today, and (3) how the values
and priorities of these nations might influence the world at large. (See
also the questions under "Why Regions Matter,"
near the beginning of this guide.) With that goal in mind, you might want to suggest that students
hold a wrap-up seminar on the topic. As they review the three student
pages, the unit's data and map pages, and their own research, be sure
they touch on the roles played by: common linguistic roots, shared environmental
influences, dominant religions (first folklore, then Christianity), patterns
of industry and commerce, and changing interactions among themselves
ranging from warfare in the distant past, to common democratic aspirations
in the 19th century, to regional cooperation and shared world goals today.
A final question on the "Tomorrow's Challenge" page
suggests that sustaining generous welfare programs in tomorrow's world may prove
difficult for Nordic governments. According to the OECD's Factbook 2010, only
Iceland earmarked less than 20 percent of its GDP for public social expenditures in
2005. (At 29 percent, Sweden was in the lead.) But five years later, in the wake of a
global recession and with a steadily aging population, promising a safety net to all
Nordic citizens seems more challenging. The debate over this issue touches a variety of
topics tax policy and retirement-investment opinions, as well as public transfer
of income. It echoes similar debates over health, education, and retirement benefits
within the USA. And American teenagers may benefit by having an opportunity to discuss
the basic ingredients common to both. It's a huge topic! So you might want to group
students into committees, to research, compare, and report on various aspects of social
welfare programs in the USA and the Nordic Region. (See, for example, the U.S. Social
Security Administration's online comparison of "Social Security Programs
Throughout the World: Europe, 2008.") After reports and discussion, invite essays
on: "Caring for Those in Need Within the Modern Nation-State."
The American-Scandinavian Foundation
(ASF) is an excellent source of information on grants, awards, and cultural events
in both the USA and the Nordic Region. Plus: While you're at the ASF Site, look for the
latest reprints from the Foundation's terrific publication, Scandinavian Review
(select "Publications" on the ASF Home Page).... If you prefer to reach official sites
for the Nordic nations, try these links:
Sweden. And for a resource that will keep you
up-to-date on events and trends within the Nordic Region, see the Web Site maintained by
Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The UN's annual "Human
Development Report" on the relative status of world nations includes data for each country on such topics as education, health, income, etc. (Select "Statistical data" on the page that
opens.) And, because of its structured approach to reporting on every
world nation (with comparable segments on "Geography," "Government,"
"Economy," etc.), the CIA's World
Factbook is a source you will probably want to consult, too.
LE also recommends the following print sources.
The parenthetical reference at the end of selected recommendations indicates
the Student Text Page (STP1, -2, or -3) in this unit with which the suggested
article or book could be useful:
"Arctic Summit in Moscow Hears Rival Claims." BBC. September 22, 2010. See map. (STP3)
Du Bois, Tom, and Mellor, Scott. "The
Nordic Roots of Tolkien's Middle Earth." Scandinavian Review.
Summer 2002. (STP1)
Gibbs, Walter. "Discovering Who's Buried
in Halvdan's Tomb." The New York Times. September 29, 1998.
Page F4. (STP1)
Hinrichsen, Don. "Nordic Influence at
the United Nations." Scandinavian Review. Spring-Summer
-------. "2015: Less Than a Decade To
Go." Scandinavian Review. Autumn-Winter 2007. Millennium
Development Goals. (STP3)
Jones, Alison. Larousse Dictionary of
World Folklore. Edinburgh: Larousse. 1995. (STP1)
Leiren, Terje. "A Century of Norwegian
Independence." Scandinavian Review. Spring 2005. (STP1)
"Norden News." Straight from the source! (STP1, 2, 3)
"Nordic and Baltic Central Banks Sign Agreement on Financial Stability." Government Offices Of Sweden. August 19, 2010. (STP3)
OECD. "Net Official Development Assistance in 2009." Aid to developing nations. (STP3)
-------. "Revenue Statistics 1965-2008...." Scroll for chart on "Total tax ratio as percentage of GDP...." (STP2)
Powers, Michael. "In the Wake of the
Vikings...." Scandinavian Review. Spring/Summer 1998. (STP1)
Ravila, Paavo. "Who Are the Finns?"
Scandinavian Review. Spring-Summer 2007. Republication of 1961
article by a renowned linguist. (STP1)
Rosenthal, Elizabeth. "Arctic Seed Vault
Is a Ft. Knox of Food." The New York Times. February 29,
2008. Norway's plan "to store and protect samples of every type of
seed from every seed collection in the world"! (STP1,3)
Sachs, Jeffrey D. "The Social Welfare
State, Beyond Ideology." Scientific American. October 2006.
"Social Expenditure." OECD Factbook 2010: Economic ... and Social Statistics. See graph. (STP2)
Tarjanne, Pekka. "Is
the Networked Economy Truly Global?" International Telecommunication
Union. 1997. Despite the date, a still-excellent, accessible examination
of the topic — with an eye on the role of ICT in communications
U.S. Department of State. "Background
Notes." Check list of links on opening page for detailed, current
profile of each Nordic nation. (STP2)
Wallensteen, Peter. "War and Peace:
Lessons from the 20th Century." Scandinavian Review. September
2001. Page 5. (Read this!!!)
"Women In National Parliaments." Inter-Parliamentary Union. Sept. 30, 2010. (STP2)
World Economic Forum. "The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011: Highlights." See Page 13, following. (STP3)
-------. "The Global Gender Gap Report 2010." (STP2)
-------. "The Networked Readiness Index 2009-2010." (STP3)
Student Text Page No. 1 | Nordic
Student Text Page No. 2 | Nordic
Student Text Page No. 3 | Nordic Map
Page | Nordic Data Page
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