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2016

Session 564

Overview

Eighty years since the first Jewish detainees were murdered in the Dachau Concentration Camp, the world is still grappling with the question of how the Holocaust was able to happen. In the decades following, the political slogan “Never Again” has rung hollow in societies affected by other 20th century genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda. The questions remain:  How can genocide be deterred? Can the lessons from the Holocaust and other genocides serve as a theoretical and practical barrier to the possibility of future generations committing mass atrocities? What can the global community learn from the international application of Holocaust education to help us understand how to prevent violence in the future? What practical role can Holocaust education play in societies still grappling with difficult legacies of mass violence and genocide?

Scholars, educators and policy makers argue that Holocaust education can be an effective tool for educating students and the general public about the importance of protecting democracy and human rights, preventing racism and anti-Semitism, and promoting mutual respect between people of different races, religions, and cultures. 

Since 2010, Salzburg Global Seminar has implemented the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention program in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Through a series of global and regional gatherings, the Program has engaged participants from more than 30 countries, the majority of which are non-Western countries outside the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and many of which have a recent experience of mass atrocities. The Program has established a network of individuals and NGOs across these countries, and strives to deepen and extend their collaborative work, allowing practitioners to identify cross-regional strategies to empower institutions and individuals with tools for ethical education and peaceful conflict resolution.

Beginning with this session, and extending over the next three years, we will continue to focus on increasing the capacity of institutions with educational missions in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa that are using the lessons of the Holocaust to combat extremism, prevent genocide and promote pluralism.  The program encourages participants to examine the history of the Holocaust as an example of what can happen when hatred goes unchecked, and to search out contemporary connections, including the role played by anti-Semitism and intolerance in the participating countries.

Participant Profile

This meeting brought together a group of institutions (e.g. schools, museums, remembrance sites, etc.) seeking to maximize their impact on combatting extremism in specific countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, where recent mass atrocities and/or discrimination have made their countries particularly susceptible to a rise in extremism that threatens their communities, regions, and the world.  We also included participants from European countries with large and growing populations of non-European migrant backgrounds in which there have been problems of intolerance.  Participants provided a statement of intent illustrating the sort of strategy for institutional development that they intended to work on through their participation.

Session Format

Participants have exchanged expertise and have drafted plans to advance their institutions’ development. These plans have been linked to considerations of longer term strategies to counter extremism and decrease the likelihood of violence.  Highly interactive methodologies have encouraged participants to learn from the example of the Holocaust as well as from other atrocities, to react to and build upon one another’s plans.

Outcomes and Impact

Peer advisory visits to participating countries in the year following this meeting will connect educators, activists, and others dedicated to preventing mass atrocities and genocide to advance knowledge exchange, test institutional development plans, and design long-term institutional strategies to combat extremism and its consequences. 

Participants will benefit over the long-term by becoming part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s network of leaders from civil society organizations, educational institutions, memorial and commemorative sites, museums and other specialists in the area of Holocaust education, genocide prevention, and counter-extremism.

For more detailed information, please contact the Program Director, Charles Ehrlich (cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org).