By Madeleine Mogavero ’21
Dr. Kimberley’s first-year classes have been taking part in a mock Berlin Conference. The Berlin Conference was a meeting in 1884 between several European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. These European nations met to plan the colonization of Africa. In the first year Humanities classes, students split up into these different countries and represented them in the mock conference. Students spent time coming up with strategies, alliances, and treaties with other countries participating in the Berlin Conference. Then came time for the dividing of Africa.
Each country had power cards and force cards based on the country’s economic power and military power. Different classes used different methods for dividing up Africa. Some auctioned off countries, while others made deals with opposing countries. The conference got heated at times, but the students learned the importance of diplomacy throughout the game.
“In seeing how Europe took over Africa like it was a trivial thing, done from afar, increased my understanding of the system of inequality that was put in place through the conference. It put perspective on the way that the world is today, not having recovered from this system,” said Cara Buchanan ’21. When we return from spring break, we will take a look at the colonization of Africa from Africa’s point of view.