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The Silk Roads -Yesterday and Today

An NCTA seminar for middle and high school teachers was offered in both Seattle and Tacoma.

The Silk Road was not one road but a great network of trade routes, which linked China to Europe and all the lands in between. Products were traded, but ideas and beliefs, techniques and works of art were also transmitted, which shaped the civilizations that flourished along the way. In the seminar, teachers followed the ancient footsteps of merchants, monks and warriors. Teachers also learned about the Silk Road’s history and examined contemporary Silk Road “explorers” such as Yo-Yo Ma and President Xi Jinping.  China’s president recently proposed a $900 billion “new Silk Road” trade/investment plan.

This seminar was offered in Seattle and Tacoma.

Seattle Dates were: Thursdays, February 1, March 1, March 15, April 19, 2018

Tacoma Dates were: Wednesdays, January 31, February 28, March 14, April 18, 2018

Time was: 4:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m.

Seattle Location: Roosevelt High School   Tacoma Location: Stadium High School

In order to cover this enormous topic in 20 short hours, the seminar covered the major themes of Silk Road history and its significance today. Topics included:

  • The role of merchants, monks, and warriors
  • Significance of trade
  • Spread of religions
  • The development of powerful military forces and empires
  • Diffusion of technologies and artistic motifs
  • Geopolitics today
  • China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt

Through readings, movie clips, class discussion and lesson plans, teachers gained the knowledge necessary to support students’ education about the historical and continuing significance of the great Silk Road. Teachers explored the Silk Road from its ancient camel routes to its 21st-century high-speed train tentacles. Tese Wintz Neighbor, China specialist and long-time teacher seminar leader, facilitated.

Teachers who finished the seminar received a $100 stipend, 20 OSPI clock hours (free) or two 400-level UW credits (for a fee of approx. $225), and a subscription to Education about Asia.

This seminar was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center (EARC) in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington with funding from a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).