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About the USA - Virtual Classroom
Newsletter for English Teachers

Economic Integration: Opportunities and Challenges
In the past 20 years, no two parts of the world have experienced economic integration faster and more intensely than the U.S. and EU. The economic relationship between Germany, Europe's largest economy, and the United States is one of the most important in the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. The first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that respect for human rights and human dignity "is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world."

“First Lady of the World” - Eleanor Roosevelt
A passionate champion for human rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was appointed by President Harry S. Truman in 1945 to serve as a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly. In April 1946, she is appointed chair of U.N.'s Commission on Human Rights, the committee that would draft and endorse the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Literature: John Steinbeck
December 20th marks the 40th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s death. - “No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962 [see column]. Today, [forty] years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.” (Penguin)

In Focus: World AIDS Day
U.S. doctors first noticed an outbreak of a peculiar immune deficiency disorder in 1981. Three years later, researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the National Cancer Institute in Washington isolated the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Since it was first identified, HIV has claimed more than 25 million lives. Although no cure has been found, anti-retroviral treatments have improved over the years, and it is estimated that more than 33 million people around the world are now living with HIV. ( December 1 st, World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global epidemic. This year marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day and while treatment and education on HIV/AIDS have come a long way, there is still much more to be done.

Webchat Station: Global Forum: Using Technology to End Violence - Thursday, Dec. 4, 14:00: Facebook, Google, YouTube, MTV, Howcast, Columbia Law School, the U.S. Department of State and Access 360 Media are bringing the leaders of 17 pioneering organizations from 15 countries together with technology experts Dec. 3–5 in New York for the first-ever conclave to empower youth against violence and oppression through the use of the latest online tools.

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U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany /Public Affairs/ Information Resource Centers    
Updated: December 2008