28.09.2016 - Education Sector

Canada supports UNESCO’s project to promote Holocaust education globally

© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Chilean, Lithuanian, Namibian and Rwandan educators during a workshop at UNESCO/USHMM 2016 International Conference on Holocaust Education

Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, has announced that his country will provide 600,000 Canadian dollars to support UNESCO for a joint-programme with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to promote education about the Holocaust and other genocides worldwide. The announcement was made at the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September, as part of Canada’s contribution to promote international peace, human rights and sustainable development.

Canada’s support will allow UNESCO and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to launch a 5-year programme designed to advance learning about why and how the Holocaust and other genocides can happen as a component of the educational efforts of countries where such learning can be further developed. UNESCO and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will therefore work with Member States to foster knowledge of the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, in order to help young people to become critical thinkers more active in rejecting antisemitism, racism and other forms of prejudice that can lead to group-targeted violence whether at national or local level.

Stepping up response to violent extremism

“I warmly welcome this support that comes at a critical time, one that calls for stepping up our response to violent extremist ideologies, including Antisemitism. Education that cultivates critical thinking and respect for human rights and cultural diversity, equipping educators with the tools to teach the history of the Holocaust and its underpinnings is the best response to prejudice and hatred,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “This contribution will strengthen our work to integrate knowledge of history and the prevention of genocides into national education systems, through policy guidance and capacity building initiatives, including with the Holocaust Memorial Museum.”

The programme will consist in a strategy comprising 4 main components: producing guidelines for policy-makers; building the capacity of education stakeholders to develop country-specific initiatives that will contribute to the institutionalization of Holocaust education with relevance to local context and priorities; providing grass-root support to these initiatives; and initiating research to provide education stakeholders with knowledge about best pedagogical and policy practices.

The partnership builds on UNESCO’s efforts to promote global citizenship education, and its specific mandate on education about the Holocaust, and on the Museum’s long-standing work to ensure the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding and relevance, notably for the young generations.

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