Expert Briefing on Middle East Conflict

Pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School were given a talk about the rise of Islamic State and how it has impacted the UK.

Year 9 pupils have been learning about the geography of conflict in their geography lessons, including conflict in the Middle East. To coincide with this, David and Helen Clamp, who have two children at the School, gave a talk to Year 9 about the complex situation in the Middle East and the rise and development of Islamic State (IS).

David and Helen own DH Clamp Consulting Ltd, an international business security risk consultancy. Their in-depth knowledge of the development of IS, and changes in the Middle East, mean that they were able to explain to pupils, in layman’s terms, the foundations of IS and the impact it is having on the countries in the region and their allegiances.

To begin the talk, pupils were shown a map of where IS currently has an occupational presence and asked them to identify reasons why these territories had been taken over. One of the most fascinating parts of the talk was the slide show depicting the change in control in areas of Iraq and Syria, which made it clear to pupils how rapid the spread of IS has been in these two countries.

But David and Helen took pupils back to the 1600s to show that the issues with IS, and the relationships between the different Middle Eastern countries, date back centuries, are deeply rooted, and have strong connections to differing beliefs within Islam.

Will Clark, a Year 9 pupil present at the talk, said “It was very interesting comparing how things were then and how they are now. Islamic State seems to have changed the Middle East a lot and it’s good that we now know why.”

David and Helen made the topic relevant to pupils by bringing it closer to home. They explained that the British government, as well as the British Islamic Council, oppose and condemn IS and their radicalism. However, a few British citizens have chosen to fight for IS, making this a very important issue that the British government is currently having to manage.

Helen, whose son Iain is in Year 9, explains why she came to do a talk on such a topical subject, “I knew they were doing geography of conflict and I felt it was important that pupils know what’s going on with Islamic State.”

Head of Geography, Ms Vaughan, said, “It was a fascinating talk that furthered our knowledge of a complex situation. The unrest in the Middle East is not only relevant to the curriculum but to wider society, and something that our pupils should be aware of.”

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