NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use
initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your
Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the
issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org] for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions
and/or their editorial.
Story: U.S. Opens
First American Embassy in Baghdad in Over a Decade, 6/28/04
1. Have you ever
traveled abroad? Did you visit an embassy there? Why?
2. What kind of work do you think is done in an American embassy?
Questions: (click here for printout)
1. What significant
event happened in Iraq on Monday? What was especially interesting about
the timing of this event?
Coalition Provisional Authority ended its formal occupation of Iraq
on Monday when it handed over control of the country to members of Iraq's
transfer, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was held two days
earlier in a secret ceremony in Baghdad in order to deter possible plans
by militants to sabotage the handover, U.S. officials said.
2. Who will head the
U.S. Embassy in Iraq? Who will he replace, although in a new position?
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte will head the embassy and will
take over from U.S. administrator Paul Bremer as the top American official
in the country. On Monday, Bremer handed the transfer document to the
head of Iraq's Supreme Court before he boarded a plan and left.
3. What will Ambassador
Negroponte do in his new position? How will Negroponte's role differ from
that of Bremer?
In a NewsHour
interview, Negroponte said the new embassy would help prepare Iraq politically
for upcoming elections, establish security in the country and it would
help rebuild its economic and physical structure using an $18.4 billion
budget allotted by Congress.
in Iraq will be fundamentally different from that of Ambassador Bremer,"
said Negroponte at his Senate confirmation hearing on June 23. "Whereas
the CPA is the ultimate political authority in Iraq, the embassy will
be in a supportive, as opposed to a commanding, role," he said.
4. What kind of work
does an embassy do?
The State Department
lists the following tasks as some of the responsibilities of its embassies:
prevention of war; advancing democracy and human rights; establishing
economic opportunities for Americans; promoting the safety of Americans
abroad; and helping refugees.
also issue passports, provide travel information, help if a U.S. citizen
is arrested or dies abroad, and evacuate U.S. citizens from areas of
conflict, according to the State Department's Web site.
5. What is the security
situation for new Iraqi embassy staff?
Concern for the
safety of the new Iraqi embassy staff is running very high. Since the
end of the war, hundreds of people, including civilians, have been killed
in attacks led by militants opposed to the U.S. occupation of the country.
priority is to keep our people safe," said the State Department's
chief of political affairs Marc Grossman in a May briefing about the
new embassy. "This is a dangerous mission. We have already begun
the security upgrade of the planned interim embassy buildings, and have
selected a site for a future new embassy compound based largely on its
and for some time will remain, a dangerous place to live and work,"
6. Where will the
new embassy be located? Why?
embassy offices and eventually the permanent embassy structure, which
officials say they have identified, will sit in the "Green Zone,"
the heavily guarded area of closed off streets in Baghdad, where American
officials live and work under tight security, according to the State
(more research might be needed):
1. How is the work
at the new Iraq embassy both similar to and different from the work done
at other U.S. embassies? Explain your answer with examples.
2. Research the work
that is done at U.S. embassies. Which kind of work seems most interesting
to you? Why? How does one become an embassy worker? What kind of education
and training is necessary? Try interviewing an embassy worker overseas
via e-mail about the work that he or she does.
Write a 300-500
word essay on either of these topics providing clear examples. Send your
completed editorial to NewsHour Extra (email@example.com). Exceptional
essays might be published on our Web site.