» Teaching on the history of the Holocaust, other genocides and mass violence in the region: capacity building s...
08.09.2016 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

Teaching on the history of the Holocaust, other genocides and mass violence in the region: capacity building seminar and meeting of the Latin American Network

Both activities will take place at the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles, United States of America.

Senior managers in charge of history teaching, curriculum revision and teacher training in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay will participate on 9 and 11 September in a meeting of the Latin American Network for Education on the Holocaust and other Genocides and in a capacity building seminar on these topics.

Member States participating in the UNESCO Latin American Network for Education on the Holocaust and other Genocides will meet at the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Headquarters on 9 September 2016 thanks to the work of the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education at USC. The meeting will review actions taken in the region to foster education on the Holocaust, genocides and mass atrocities.

The Network was founded in 2014 in Costa Rica with a view to enhance regional dialogue on Holocaust education, genocide prevention, and dealing with difficult pasts through education. The Network stimulates national activity and gives rise to regional programmes conducted under the guidance of UNESCO and in partnership with organizations providing expertise in the field, such as Yad Vashem (Israel) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The meeting in Los Angeles will notably include the participation of representatives of Yahad-In-Unum (France) and of Yad Vashem (Israel). It will serve to discuss recent actions taken within the Network and present new educational, academic and cultural initiatives that could be expanded at regional level.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France.

Capacity building

The meeting of the Latin American network will be followed by a capacity-building workshop for specialists at Ministries of Education of 8 countries of Latin America. This workshop is organized by the Shoah Foundation of USC and will take place on 10 and 11 September, in the same place.

The seminar “Teaching about the History of Genocide and Mass Violence” will cover history teaching, curriculum revision and teacher training, and will focus on teaching methods in the classroom, with emphasis on the use of survivors’ testimonies. It will also cover challenges pertaining to teaching about genocides in a comparative perspective, and include discussions on the relevance of Holocaust education in Latin American contexts.

The seminar will be conducted by education specialists and academics of the USC Shoah Foundation and guest presenters from the Iberoamericana University (Mexico), the Jewish Museum of Chile and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (United States of America). The programme will also include a visit to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

“Teaching about the Holocaust is an excellent starting point to raising the awareness of young people of the dangers of propaganda, hate speech and demonization of the other”, said Karel Fracapane, UNESCO specialist in Education about the Holocaust based in Paris. He noted that “the Nazis are gone but extremist ideologies based on racism and antisemitism live on, and their potential is deadlier than ever”.

Elspeth McOmish, specialist at the Regional Bureau of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) highlights that “UNESCO’s work in the field of Holocaust and genocide education resonates strongly in Latin America, and serves as a guidepost to deal with difficult pasts that may not yet have been the object of much attention in education.” She adds: “By analyzing and drawing lessons from history, young people develop an understanding of how they can combat prejudice and violence, as responsible and active global citizens.”

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