Textbook: World Affairs in Foreign Films

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Mc Farland Publisher

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“World Affairs in Foreign Films: Getting the Global Picture” (McFarland Publishing, 2011) is based on Dr. Seret’s “Global Classroom” that she created in the United Nations where students learn about foreign cultures and world events through the medium of film.

The textbook uses 13 award-winning films to introduce students to global concepts.

The films come from different continents and represent important geopolitical areas: Osama (Afghanistan); Persepolis (Iran/France); Water (India); Beijing Bicycle(China); Tokyo Sonata (Japan); Tsotsi (South Africa); Hotel Rwanda (Rwanda); War Dance (Uganda); Central Station (Brazil); March of the Penguin (Antarctica/France); The Counterfeiters (Austria); Pearl (U. S. A., Chickasaw Nation).

Each film catapults discussions in 8 academic subjects: World History, Geography, Economics, Government, World Literature, Media, Creative Writing, Music and Art. The multi-disciplinary pedagogy is innovative and encourages critical thinking and group activities.

There is nothing so visual, so engaging, so true to life as film to transpose students to worlds they’ve never known before.



Teaching Global Education to High School Students


. Our Curriculum, World Affairs in Foreign Films, 2nd edition for High School, offers teachers and students the opportunity to experience foreign cultures through the power of film.

. The overall mission of our pedagogy is to use film as a catapult to better understand international events and diversity of people around the world.

. Students are visual learners and feel comfortable in front of the screen.

Seeing is believing, and a film can transport viewers to a foreign country and culture as it is today.

. We highlight that the visual text, film, is narrative and parallels literature so students can “read” the film, ask questions, research and investigate diverse arguments, analyze and synthesize a problem, come to conclusions, and then share and communicate ideas.

. Film increases retention and memory, especially when it is linked to written literature, as our textbook, World Affairs in Foreign Films for High School.

. Students in High School are ready to be introduced to Global themes. They have time in their curriculum for this content, and they are of the age to make educated links to the real world.


  1. Global Education: Prepares students to become global citizens and understand what that means by using film that reflects current events.
  2. General culture: Offers content about different religions, philosophies, customs, laws, governments, art, literature, music, foreign languages, etc.
  3. How to think and learn: Gives stepping-stones to the process of learning through fact collecting processes that encourages cogent reasoning skills and serves as a model for future learning.
  4.  Promotes Diversity: Foreign film has the ability to show diversity in a subtle way on the screen: the diversity of protagonists, societies and ideas.

TEXTBOOKWorld Affairs in Foreign Films, 2nd edition, High School and College

D.O.E. VENDOR NUMBER for Books and curriculum for World Affairs in Foreign Films for High School, International Cinema Education, # INT 735587; 10/5/11



. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/World-Affairs-Foreign-Films-Getting/dp/0786464720



WRITTEN: World Affairs in Foreign Films for High School, Textbook

. Endorsed by Department of Education.

. Satisfies and aligns to Social Studies Scope and Sequence Units for  and 8th grade and High School

. Activities are available to link and connect to Common Core Curriculum (CCC)

for English Language Arts, 6th-8th grades

. Multi-disciplinary, inter-related format that offers content through nine academic perspective and lenses: World History, Geography, Economics, Civics, Citizenship and Government, World Literature, Creative Writing/ Critical Thinking, Media Studies, Music or Art, and Technology.

. Each film and film chapter includes activities for groups, research, homework, community outreach, and bibliography of corresponding books.

. Lists of  primary and secondary source material related to each film



. There are 19 FILMeds © that correspond to the 14 films in the textbook, using a multi-disciplinary format of geography, world history, human rights, edited version of the film, overview of geo-political region, and questions for further discussion.

. With 5 Ford Foundation grants, and accessibility to briefing rooms at the United Nations through the NGO (International Cinema education), we have created and implemented FILMeds ©.

. This is a new digital approach of using film clips and images to analyze an award-winning film that can be seen on the screen/ computer to teach students about international events.

. Students can access the FILMeds© on their own – at home, in the classroom, in the library – and hone their technology skills.

. The digital concept of  FILMeds© has never been created or used before.

Praise from Students who have participated:

. “Part of the reason why I enjoy these movies, is because they are real. I learned that it is possible to change the world with a single voice and it inspires me to join in the effort to fight global problems. This program has helped me grow as a student and individual.”

.“We got to travel to places we would never ordinarily go to. The idea of learning through film is the best part of the class. You’re learning without realizing it. I had a lot of fun.”

. “Taking this class is absolutely an eye opening experience. I felt that these movies helped me understand better than any teacher or person, what life is like in different countries. I started to understand issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

. “I feel, at times, in school I’m never really challenged how I should be, but this program does it for me. It was a year full of challenges, new experiences and lessons that made us aware about the truth of what is happening around the world.”

. “For the first time, my mind opened to foreign cultures and stimulated me to learn like I never did before. I got to express my opinions freely. I will remember this class forever.”

. “All these films revolve around thematic struggles that strengthen the universal resilience of the human spirit. After viewing all these films and participating in activities, I better understand this.”

. “I have become more informed in foreign affairs so I can listen to the opposing sides and remain neutral and unbiased. What I take away is a lesson on humanity. If we do not care for each other, then we cannot care for ourselves and will never grow to become better people.”

. “Before taking this course, I was ignorant of the things going on around the world. I’ve learned more about global issues as well as historical events that have happened. I was able to see the events through the protagonists’ eyes.”

. “Throughout the year it has grown into a class that I really enjoy and love to come to. All these films revolve around thematic struggles that strengthen the universal resilience of the human spirit.”

. “This program has been a gift to us.”

From Their Teachers: 

. “My students’ thoughts and ideas enlighten the class and encourage thought-provoking discussion – the kind of discussion a teacher quietly observes and marvels at, while the students reason, reflect, and astonish you with their depth and curiosity. We want to build life-learners, and by teaching kids how to observe their surroundings, how to interpret and analyze images, we can foster awareness on so many levels. I am seeing such great results in my students and I am truly grateful to be a part of this program.“

. “My students were moved and I believe forever changed because of these films. One of the most remarkable aspects of this program is that my students are learning so much, not only through the films, but also through their peers.“

. “Our student population is submersed in visual imagery. Why not help students to see – see the people around them, see the world around them, see themselves?”





                   Book One of the Series, TRANSYLVANIAN TRILOGY

The Gift of Diamonds is an exciting tale of intrigue featuring Mica, a determined and passionate seventeen-year-old girl fleeing Communism in 1965. Taking the reader on a riveting ride from Romania to Hungary to America as she escapes with rare, colored diamonds, Mica takes risks and faces many obstacles until she becomes autonomous in New York at twenty years old. It is then that she is finally able to fulfill her promise of bringing her parents to America. However, in order to complete her journey, she must return to Transylvania where her story begins in the Prologue, twenty-four years later in 1989, to complete her quest and find peace.


The story begins in communist Transylvania in 1965. Mica, an aspiring actress realizes that her covertly political parents have been arrested by the Secret Police. Escaping alone at night in a perilous journey, she crosses the border and seeks political asylum in the American Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.


On her own for the first time, Mica learns to be self-reliant. She translates documents and learns secrets about Fascism, Communism and the beginning stages of terrorism involving Ceausescu and his nuclear business partners. She is torn between revealing these truths or keeping them secret for fear of repercussions. But she is never free of the secret that the diamonds she escapes with were owned by Auschwitz prisoners and may have passed through Dr. Mengele’s hands. She fears they are blood diamonds – cursed.


With help from Embassy officials in Budapest, she applies for a visa to the U.S. Her goal is to use the diamonds as a vehicle to secure her safe passage to America, and then for her parents. But until she gets to her uncle in New York and sells her diamonds at Sotheby’s, she experiences high-risk adventures, spying, rape, and even a medical crisis. It is at the end of her voyage, that Mica finally finds redemption and peace.


Readers’ Favorite has reviewed and praised it:


. The Gift of Diamonds is written in language that is flawless. I loved the well-crafted and strong themes, the well-written international setting, and the political ideas explored in the story. But what had me going from page to page is the deft treatment of the protagonist — she is real, genuine, and sophisticated.


. Roberta Seret’s prose is fantastic and I was delightfully moved by the evocative character of the writing. The descriptions are gorgeous and the author leads the reader into the psyche of the protagonist with intelligence. The setting is well written, and the contrast between the horror that Mica is running from and the hope of liberty in the US is mesmerizing. The Gift of Diamonds is cinematic, an engaging story that I would love to watch as a movie.