UNESCO held a Regional Consultation on Education about the Holocaust and on Genocide

Minister of Education, Alberto Sileoni

  • May 7 and 8, 2013

The first session of a two-day regional consultation on education about the Holocaust and on Genocide was held at the Sarmiento Palace of the Education Ministry of Argentina. With representatives from Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, El Salvador and Uruguay participating, the event provided a forum for participants to debate and exchange experiences regarding the importance of awareness, respect for human rights and transmitting the memory of tragic historical events to future generations in order to prevent genocide from being repeated.

Alberto Sileoni, Education Minister of Argentina, said, “Forgetting will not make the memories or the victims of these humanitarian atrocities go away. That is why we must look to the past to strengthen our remembrance. School is one place where the axiological memory of a nation is formed, and one value to be communicated is living together with diversity. A discriminatory gesture can plant the seed of a massacre, and the task of a school is to transmit happiness about living alongside each other.”

Jorge Sequeira, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), emphasized that, “Teaching and learning about the Holocaust in any part of the world is not only about looking at a specific event of the past. It is part of a global effort to prevent future atrocities. In this context, commemoration is merely the first step to sustain educational efforts in order to produce dialogue between the past and the present. Argentina is known for its valuable leadership and work in this area. The challenge before us is to continue these important debates in this region, and we are counting on the nation of Argentina as a key actor and leader for this task.”

Panellists from Canada, South Africa, Germany, the United States, Guatemala and Argentina participated in the regional consultation on education about the Holocaust and genocide, organised by UNESCO, the Ministry of Education of Argentina and the National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. The event aimed at fostering cooperation between UNESCO and the Member States in the area of education about the history of genocide and mass atrocities, especially the Holocaust, in order to put these topics in the countries’ curriculum throughout the region.

In addition to representatives from participating countries, education executives from civil societies in Argentina were in attendance, as well as members of the local chapter of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the Buenos Aires Holocaust Museum, Sherit Hapleita, Generations of the Shoah, the Anne Frank Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, B’nai B’rith and members of the provincial Education and Memory Network chapters of Córdoba, Chubut, La Pampa, Río Negro and Tucumán.

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