Holocaust Education and Its Effect on UNESCO Policy Guides

Holocaust education- working towards cultivating global citizenship, promoting human rights, and developing a culture of peace and prevention of genocide

cme1.pngThe Holocaust as a topic of study is present to varying degrees in a substantial number of countries, notably European, as well as countries where victims of the Holocaust have sought refuge and others not directly affected.  A recent study by UNESCO and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research found that at least 65 countries specifically mention the genocide of Jews and other crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, in their secondary schools’ social sciences and history curricula. An additional 46 countries provide context (the Second World War and National Socialism) in which the Holocaust can be taught. Teaching about the Holocaust is encouraged by the United Nations, which emphasizes its historical significance and the importance of teaching this event as a fundamental consideration pertaining to the prevention of genocide.

Inspired by the Conference for International Holocaust Education organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in collaboration with the UNESCO in Washington, D.C., a distinguished journal ‘Contemporary Review of the Middle East by SAGE Publications has come out with a special issue on Holocaust Education. The issue aims to strengthen the history of Holocaust and the genocide through pedagogical means. It has contributions from most of the attendees of this conference. With contributions from eclectic mix of scholars, the issue emphasizes on the fact that Holocaust is not an exclusive Jewish, European, or Christian tragedy but a human calamity. This universal message cannot be understood by ‘uniquefing’ the Holocaust. Despite its unparalleled character and magnitude, its understanding cannot be done in isolation.

Supporting the effort to inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust and to prevent future genocides, UNESCO has created an educational programme dedicated to the history of Holocaust. To support this effort, it has recently laid down a policy guide for policy-makers who seek to implement or substantiate the study of the Holocaust within their education systems and, more broadly, the study of genocide and mass atrocities. It describes how and why teaching and learning about the Holocaust can support global policy priorities through education, including cultivating global citizenship, promoting human rights, and developing a culture of peace and prevention of genocide. Articles from the issue on Holocaust education from the journal ‘Contemporary review of the Middle East’ have been taken as one of the references for drafting this document. The articles focus essentially on education about the Holocaust and the decades of research, resources and pedagogical practices demonstrating its effectiveness. Thorough guidance is provided for setting clear, realistic and context-specific learning objectives that promote quality education on the occurrences and history of Holocaust.

The special issue is currently free to read for a limited time.

About the Journal:

Contemporary Review of the Middle East, peer-reviewed flagship journal from the Middle East Institute, New Delhi seeks to publish original research articles that analyse contemporary Middle Eastern developments in the fields of security, politics, economy and culture. Though the Journal’s primary focus would be on contemporary developments, it would consider persuasive contributions on the region’s contemporary diplomatic and international histories that have evident bearings on the present.

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