» UNESCO joins global gathering of Jewish leaders
13.06.2016 - Education Sector

UNESCO joins global gathering of Jewish leaders

UNESCO took part in the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum, one of the world’s largest gatherings of Jewish community leaders to present its work on Holocaust education and discuss ways to combat antisemitism.

The event gathered 2500 Jewish communities’ representatives, and political and civil society leaders, from over 30 countries in Washington from 5 to 8 June, 2016.

UNESCO's activities in the field of Holocaust education including recent research on textbooks and curricula and capacity-building, notably in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, were presented as part of the International Jewish Leaders’ Strategy Session panel entitled “The Changing Role of Holocaust Education and Remembrance: A Means to Combat Anti-Semitism and Create International Awareness?"

The forum was also an opportunity to share the outcomes of the UNESCO Conference for International Holocaust Education, jointly organized with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015, which has given rise to initiatives to sustain education about the history of genocides in 10 countries of all regions of the world.

Concern about the rise of antisemitism

Participants expressed concern about antisemitic discourse, the spread of violent extremism in south Asia, and ongoing trends in Europe to revise the memory of the Holocaust in nationalist terms. They also discussed the nature of contemporary antisemitism, which evolves mostly around issues related to the Middle East conflict, and which requires specific focus and measures unrelated to education about the Holocaust.

UNESCO follows international discussions on antisemitism closely. An important recent development is the adoption by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 31 - Member Country intergovernmental body to which UNESCO is a Permanent International Partner, of a "Working Definition of Antisemitism" designed to support policy-makers and education stakeholders in identifying and preventing manifestations of antisemitism.

This year the AJC Global Forum commemorated the 110th year of existence of the American Jewish Committee, founded in 1906 in response to pogroms against Jews in Tsarist Russia. It is now a global organization dedicated to enhancing the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advancing human rights and democratic values.

UNESCO Education about the Holocaust
American Jewish Committee

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