AP Human Geography classes write letters to foreign governments in hopes of change


Megan Hoenecke

Writing letters to a foreign leader, the freshman AP Human Geography class learns about foreign government’s judicial systems around the world. Through Amnesty International, students voiced their opinions on political prisoners. “We are learning about where there are conflicts and what kinds of government are in different regions of the world along with real world problems that we can help solve,” Boles said.

After studying conflicts due to political indifferences, the AP Human Geography classes wrote letters to foreign leaders in an effort to pressure governments to protect political prisoners and their rights through Amnesty International.

Each student learned about a prisoner that was being held captive without a fair trial. One example was Yiliyasijiang Reheman, a tourist who was taken by the Chinese government and is yet to be released. 

“It was a great feeling knowing that my letter could be seen by an important leader,” freshman Adit Singla said. “The chance that it could possibly help people be freed from prison was a great motivation to write it.”

AP Human Geography teacher Laura Boles feels these letters could have a profound impact on prisoners around the world.

Instead of feeling helpless, it just helps to know that there are certain little things that each of us can do to make the world a better place,”

— AP Human Geography teacher Laura Boles

“Students got to write to people like the president of China and the president of the Philippines,” Boles said. “It makes a difference because these leaders get thousands of letters from all over the world. That’s often enough pressure for them to free a prisoner. It leads to positive change because the students feel like they’re all a part of something bigger than themselves and hopefully not just influence the government’s decision but also raises awareness among students.”

Boles feels that empowering students to have a voice is a life skill that they will carry with them for the future.  

“In their reflections, a lot of them said they felt more powerful writing to governments, and often I feel like in our society, we’re bombarded with a lot of news about bad things that people think are out of their control,” Boles said. “Instead of feeling helpless, it just helps to know that there are certain little things that each of us can do to make the world a better place.”