UNESCO Mexico & UNESCO Associated Schools focus on Education about the Holocaust and Genocide

30 March 2018

The UNESCO Mexico Office participated in a meeting of UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) State coordinators in Mexico that took place from 15 to 16 March 2018 in Monterrey, Mexico. Organized by the Mexican Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (CONALMEX) and the Secretary for Public Education, the reunion set a focus on education about the Holocaust and genocide.

The theme is in line with the values and principles promoted by ASPnet, including fundamental rights and human dignity, respect for diversity and international solidarity.

During the meeting, UNESCO’s Policy Guide on Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide was presented to the participating coordinators of the 310 UNESCO ASPnet member- and 395 “ASPnet collaborating” schools in Mexico. Further topical input was provided by the exhibition “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda”, on display on the conference premises. The exhibition was originally created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in cooperation with The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, to explain how the Nazi party used innovative propaganda techniques to come to power through elections and then drive the country to war and the systematic murder of 6 million Jews in Europe. The exhibit is a tool to help young people better evaluate the messaging they receive, in particular online and through social media.

In this context, Adolfo Rodríguez, education specialist from the UNESCO Mexico Office presented UNESCO’s publication Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?, and highlighted how dealing with such cases of violent pasts relates to the broader role of education in promoting peace, tolerance and contributing to the prevention of violent extremism.

In a dedicated session on the second day of the meeting, Yael Siman Druker, from the Ibero-American University in Mexico City, presented on “Holocaust, Genocide and Global Citizenship”. Yael Siman Druker has been part of the two Mexican national teams that participated in the 2015 and 2017 International Conference on Education and the Holocaust (ICEH), jointly organized by UNESCO and the USHMM. The conference trains and supports education stakeholders in their efforts to advance education about the Holocaust through the development of initiatives tailored to their respective national contexts.

As outcome of the 2015 ICEH, the Mexican national team has implemented a two-day academic conference at the Ibero-American University in cooperation with the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City in fall 2016, published an educational handbook for teachers and piloted a bi-national teacher training program with Chile.

The 2017 team builds on the success of this first series of projects. Over the course of 2018, the team plans to cooperate with the Mexican Ministry of Education and experts from selected Mexican universities and institutes to continue to advance education about the Holocaust and genocide in Mexico.

Mexico has been increasingly advancing its efforts towards strengthening Education about the Holocaust and genocide in Mexican schools and higher education institutions. Since 2014, Mexico is a member of the UNESCO Latin American Network on Education about the Holocaust.