On the 11th of December 2023, we held a Silk Roads Workshop for teachers from various schools located within the State of Berlin. The workshop was titled ‘The New Silk Roads: Transregional Perspectives’ and it lasted from 1500 until 1800. Ulrike Cordier* and John Njenga Karugia organized the workshop at the Institute for Asian and African Studies Institute at the Humboldt University of Berlin.
PhD candidate Swaleh Kadara, emphasizes a point during his lecture at the Silk Roads Workshop.
The objectives of the Silk Roads Workshop were: to introduce the teachers to the research we conduct within the research consortium of the De:Link // Re:Link research project; to discuss various research results from our individual research projects and to discuss how to integrate our research results within the teaching about the New Silk Roads amongst other topics in schools. Some of the teachers in attendance are actively teaching about various aspects related to the New Silk Roads while some attended out of interest to learn more about the New Silk Roads.
Four researchers made presentations on various aspects of their ongoing research focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Swaleh Kadara focused on the Chinese-funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Railway in Kenya and its impacts, Muhammad Zaman and Hifza Irfan presented on the Chinese-funded Gwadar Port in Pakistan, road safety and smart cities in Pakistan and John Njenga Karugia presented on infrastructures of memory along the New Silk Roads and the European Union’s Global Gateway infrastructure initiative.
In the course of resultant intense discussions, a key issue that emerged was the challenge of how to teach students in a manner that presents them diverse information about current globalization topics such as the New Silk Roads and the Global Gateway coupled with analytical tools on how to approach such topics and reflect about them from various perspectives.
During the workshop, the teachers had an opportunity to peruse through a selection of books, journal articles and newspaper articles that specifically deal with the New Silk Road and various topics related to it. The teachers received a bibliography with key references to literature on the Belt and Road Initiative and the New Silk Roads. Another Silk Roads Workshop for Teachers will be held on the 11th of March 2024.
*Ulrike Cordier, who co-organised this ‘Silk Roads Workshop for Teachers’ is an experienced teacher from Germany with a lot of international expertise having taught in Germany and also in China, Kenya, The Netherlands, Kazakhstan, and Uganda.