International Conference on Education and the Holocaust
The creation of UNESCO in 1945 came in response to the Second World War and the crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborators. Education about genocide, and in particular about the Holocaust, is at the heart of UNESCO’s aims to foster peace and prevent such atrocities in the future. It contributes to UNESCO and its Members States’ Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action and mandate for Education for Global Citizenship under Target 4.7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015 by the General Assembly. This education can help young people better understand how past atrocities and failures have occurred and what the dynamics are that can lead societies to violence. It helps to sharpen their minds into critical thinkers against discourses that promote hatred and exclusion. As antisemitic, racist, and violent extremist narratives spread through the Internet and on social media, reaching an unprecedented number of young people, this work has never been so relevant.
The International Conference on Education and the Holocaust (ICEH), a joint initiative of UNESCO and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, seeks to advance learning about how and why the Holocaust happened and how extreme violence can erupt in a society. It will gather senior education policy-makers from Argentina, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Ukraine. Participants are organized into country teams of educators, civil society leaders, academics and education ministry officials.
During the Conference, participants work together with international experts, in workshops and round-tables and design projects that help institutionalize or strengthen Holocaust education in ways relevant to their national contexts. The projects are subsequently implemented with the support of UNESCO and the Museum. These country-specific strategies may include curriculum development and revision, creation of educational materials, capacity-building initiatives, cultural projects, academic initiatives and pedagogical research.
The ICEH supports UNESCO’s efforts to promote Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a priority of the Education 2030 Agenda. In this context, it seeks to encourage Member States to provide students with skills to engage in critical enquiry about what makes genocide possible and equip them to recognize the role of human rights and active citizenship today, while exploring past atrocities.
The inaugural ICEH took place in Washington DC in 2015 and gathered educational stakeholders from Chile, Hungary, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and Turkey.
Projects subsequently implemented by the country teams formed by UNESCO and the USHMM have collectively reached over 2,700 learners with the support of 44 different organizations, with some projects attaining international media coverage.
For more information about each of the 2015 country team projects please see our 2015-2017 Achievements and Updates report.
About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. Located among our national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values. With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. And we encourage them to act, cultivating a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens so that they will respond to the monumental challenges that confront our world.
The Conference is generously supported by:
- The Government of Canada
- The Government of Germany
- UNESCO. 2017. Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide. A policy guide
- Carrier, P., Fuchs, E. and Messinger, T. 2015. The International status of education about the Holocaust: a global mapping of textbooks and curricula. UNESCO/Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research - Summary available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian
- Gross, Z. and Stevick, E. D. (Eds.) 2015. As the Witnesses Fall Silent: 21st Century Holocaust Education in Curriculum, Policy and Practice. UNESCO IBE/Springer International.
- Gross, Z., and Stevick, E.D. (Eds.) 2010. Policies and Practices of Holocaust Education: International Perspectives, Vol. 1&2, Prospects 153 & 154, UNESCO.
- UNESCO. 2014. Holocaust Education in a Global Context.
- UNESCO. 2012. Why Teach about the Holocaust? - available in French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Dutch, Fulfulde, Punjabi, Wolof