In Los Angeles, the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, met with Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education. She visited the audio-visual archives of the Shoah Foundation, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The Director General underlined her satisfaction with the deep cooperation led so far with the Foundation in the context of its UNESCO Chair, founded in 2013. It was agreed that the USC Shoah Foundation would work with UNESCO to train Latin American educators, therefore supporting UNESCO’s efforts to introduce further education on the Holocaust into the education systems of this region.
Irina Bokova participated in a faculty workshop with graduate students and faculty members to discuss how to build resilience through education in violent societies. She underlined the need to counter the propaganda messages of violent groups and pointed to the importance of global citizenship education and media literacy. Finally, the Director General had a meeting with Mr Michael Quick, Provost of the University of Southern California.
The visit was followed by a working lunch with Rabbi Marvin Heir and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, respectively Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an NGO in Official Partnership with UNESCO. Ms Irina Bokova shared her concerns about the rise of racism, antisemitism and extreme ideologies and presented actions taken by UNESCO to contribute to fight against it, including the Organization’s programme of Holocaust education and a range of new initiatives to prevent violent extremism.