Dealing with terrorism has become the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy today. Yet terrorism, its definition, causes, and methodsof dealing with it, has rarely been dealt with in high school courses. The Institute has developed this guide to assist teachers in helping their students identify and understand terrorism. The teaching guide provides teachers with lesson plans, bibliographic sources, and factual material that address the varying views and definitions of terrorism, some of terrorism's possible origins, and different ways in which terrorism may be addressed.

Teaching Guide on International Terrorism: Definitions, Causes and Responses

Dealing with terrorism has become the centerpiece of US foreign policy today. Yet, terrorism, its definition, causes and methods of dealing with it, has rarely been dealt with in high school courses. In an effort to assist teachers in helping their students identify and understand terrorism the United States Institute of Peace has developed a three lesson plan entitled Teaching Guide on International Terrorism: Definitions, Causes and Responses.

The teaching guide is aimed at grades 11 and 12 with the objective of providing teachers with lesson plans, bibliographic sources, and factual material to assist them in understanding the varying views and definitions of terrorism, some of terrorism's possible origins and different ways in which terrorism may be addressed.

This teaching guide contains three lessons

Lesson One - Defining Terrorism focuses on student responses to terrorism, and engages students in a discussion on defining terrorism. It can be completed in one to two periods.

Lesson Two - Causes of Terrorism examines some possible sources of motivation for terrorism. Central to the exercise is to show students that terrorism can emerge from a variety of motivations. Lesson two can be completed in one class period.

Lesson Three - Responses to Terrorism engages students in a creative problem solving exercise to examine a range of possible responses to terrorism. Students are also asked to evaluate the utility and consequences of their stronger ideas. This exercise can be completed in one class period.

Supplemental Internet materials are also available.

Download the Teaching Guide

The guides are in PDF format. To view or print them you need Adobe Acrobat. The software can be downloaded for free from Adobe's web site.

Teaching Guide on International Terrorism: Definitions, Causes and Responses (166K)

Web Based Materials on Terrorism

Latest Publications

Megan Chabalowski on USIP’s Peace Teachers Program

Megan Chabalowski on USIP’s Peace Teachers Program

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By: Megan Chabalowski

Young people are hungry for examples of people working for peace in some of the world’s most violent conflicts, and they are curious about ways they too can make a positive difference. Megan Chabalowski explains how USIP’s Peace Teachers Program provides educators with the in-depth training and resources needed to incorporate peacebuilding into their classrooms and communities.

Education & Training

How Women Are Using Technology to Advance Gender Equality and Peace

How Women Are Using Technology to Advance Gender Equality and Peace

Monday, July 15, 2019

By: Danielle Robertson; Mena Ayazi

From Afghanistan to Sudan, women in conflict areas are increasingly turning to technology to build peace and reduce gender inequality. Just as smart phones and mobile internet facilitate key functions of daily life, they also bring the world women’s voices once confined to the home or marketplace. It is a development with tremendous promise that the international community needs to support by widening access to technology, reducing social barriers to it and providing training that boosts proficiency.

Gender

Scott Smith on the Afghan Peace Process

Scott Smith on the Afghan Peace Process

Thursday, July 11, 2019

By: Scott Smith

Following unprecedented talks between Taliban and Afghan leaders this week, which have provided renewed hope for peace, the Taliban claimed credit for an attack in Ghanzi province. Scott Smith says Afghanistan is now exhibiting “one of the usual paradoxes of this stage of a peace process … where both parties, as they begin to talk more, they begin to fight more.”

A Foot Forward for Peace in Afghanistan?

A Foot Forward for Peace in Afghanistan?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

By: Scott Smith

Taliban and Afghan representatives agreed early this week to a basic, albeit non-binding, roadmap for intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at ending the 18-year war. Since the U.S. resumed direct talks with the Taliban last September, the two sides have focused on the withdrawal of foreign forces and the steps the Taliban will take against terrorists on Afghan soil. Meanwhile, intra-Afghan talks on a political roadmap have yet to get off the ground. After months of seeming stasis, this week’s Doha meeting has injected renewed hope. USIP’s Scott Smith looks at what happened this week, what it means for Afghan women, and the next steps in the peace process.

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes

Kathleen Kuehnast on Women in Conflict Zones

Kathleen Kuehnast on Women in Conflict Zones

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

At a recent USIP event, Nobel laureate Nadia Murad discussed her efforts to end sexual violence and human trafficking—two criminal practices that Kathleen Kuehnast says “have been institutionalized and militarized.” To disincentivize these human rights abuses, Kuehnast says we must reinforce that these heinous but often lucrative practices are “not a livelihood—this is criminality.”

Gender; Human Rights

View All Publications