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This activity has been designed to engage students in Years 5 and 6 with issues facing unrecognised states around the world, and to encourage them to think differently about global governance. It explores communities that are excluded from the formal international system and raises questions around statehood. It offers an opportunity for students to develop public speaking skills, group work and critical thinking. The activity is designed for students in in Years 5 and 6 but could be adapted for KS3 students

The instruction sheet includes guidance on how to run the lesson. This activity is designed to be deliver in a 1 hour lesson. Also included are four information sheets for students to use during the activity. These cover four communities: Kurdistan; Somaliland; Taiwan; and Tibet.

The activity can be downloaded from the downloads box. Additional resources are also available.

About the authors

Dr Fiona McConnell is Professor of Political Geography at the University of Oxford, and tutorial fellow in Geography at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Her research looks at how communities officially excluded from formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft. She has undertaken research on the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in India, and worked with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation on the barriers faced by stateless communities in engaging with diplomacy, particularly at the UN, and the innovative strategies they use to make their voices heard. 

Dr Liam Saddington is a Teaching Associate in Human Geography at the University of Cambridge and a fellow and Director of Studies in Geography at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. His research focuses on the geopolitics of climate change concerning small island states and rising sea levels, exploring how the relationship between territory and statehood is being reimagined in low-lying atolls. 

These materials have been developed by Prof. Fiona McConnell (University of Oxford) and Dr Liam Saddington (University of Cambridge), and the UNPO Secretariat. Funding for trialling these materials was provided by a Ray Y Gildea Jr Award from the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). These materials have been developed in conjunction with a simulation activity for KS5 students. This activity enables teachers to run role-play debating exercises on issues of environmental justice, human rights and conflict resolution ( Loosely based on Model United Nations simulations, the activity sees students represent non-state actors through the ‘Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation’ (UNPO;


File nameFiles

File type



What is a country Instruction Sheet for Primary Schools


589 KB

What is a country Instruction Sheet for Primary Schools (1)


61 KB

Information Sheet: Kurdistan


49 KB

Information Sheet: Kurdistan (1)


563 KB

Information Sheet: Somaliland


39 KB

Information Sheet: Somaliland (1)


548 KB

Information Sheet: Taiwan


602 KB

Information Sheet: Taiwan (1)


187 KB

Information Sheet: Tibet


686 KB

Information Sheet: Tibet (1)


182 KB

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