Genocide history seminar in Côte d'Ivoire pinpoints the roots of violence

11 March 2016

A seminar on how the history of genocide and mass violence is taught was organized by UNESCO and partners in Côte d’Ivoire.

The seminar, held in conjunction with the Shoah Memorial and the Ministry of Education of Côte d'Ivoire, brought together experts and state representatives on 7-10 February.

The event was an important first step by the Ministry of Education to integrate the issue into the Ivorian school system. The training familiarized secondary education inspectors and history and geography teachers with content and methods for teaching the history of genocide, in particular that of the Jewish people during World War II and the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

In his opening address Mr. Ibrahima Sangare, adviser to the Minister of National Education, said teaching young people the history of genocide was a way for Côte d’Ivoire to contribute to: "a sustainable way of living together which would consolidate the achievements of a nation still being built." He said the seminar highlighted the mechanisms of violence and hatred and was a priority in Côte d'Ivoire which still faced many challenges to peace and security.

No society fully immune to racism

Mr. Yao Ydo, Representative of UNESCO Office in Côte d'Ivoire, said: " No society is fully immune to racism, anti-Semitism, identity conflicts, political violence".

He reiterated that teaching the history of the Holocaust and other genocides was: "an excellent starting point for tackling difficult issues with students, be it knowledge of the political and social roots of violence, the fight against prejudice and xenophobia, against hate rhetoric, the writing and commemoration of history and their role as future citizens committed to promoting peace and mutual understanding ".

He advocated for a more systematic dissemination of this teaching to better prepare young people to respond to hate speech and avoid the pitfalls of violence.

The three-days of conferences and workshops will lead to the establishment of teacher capacity-building workshops in the coming weeks.

The event took place within the framework of UNESCO's activities to develop the education of the history of Holocaust and other genocides. Many sub-Saharan African countries have recently undergone training organized by UNESCO, the Shoah Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the United States, enabling the development of appropriate projects adapted to educational priorities and the individual history of these countries.

Links