Fellows Collaborate to Tackle Extremism in Africa




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Feb 24, 2017
by Denise Macalino
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Fellows Collaborate to Tackle Extremism in Africa

Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism session launches new initiative Fellows of Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism

Eighty years since the first Jewish detainees were murdered in the Dachau Concentration Camp, and 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?

Salzburg Global’s 2016 Session, Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism, brought together participants from countries recently troubled and recovering from the effects of mass, targeted violence. South Africans Tali Nates and Richard Freedman and Rwandans Freddy Mutanguha, Mubigalo Aloys Mahwa, left the session with a hopeful answer to tackling extremism through education. Facilitated by Salzburg Global Seminar, they have created this course to counter extremism and promote pluralism by learning from the difficult past through the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and Apartheid in South Africa.

The aim of this collaboration is to build resistance to violence and help students develop the skills to challenge extremism. Their course is currently being piloted in South Africa and Rwanda, and if evaluated successfully, will be launched in a number of other African countries. Fellows Tali Nates, Richard Freedman, Freddy Mutanguha, and Aloys Mahwa are utilizing connections formed at Salzburg Global to reach audiences beyond South Africa and Rwanda, and to bring their program to scale. Tali Nates, Director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, stated that with the help of Salzburg Global, they plan to “bring our experiences to politicians, education policymakers, media, and civil society leaders.” By engaging specialists from multiple sectors, they plan to create lasting, positive impact for students around the continent.

Salzburg Global is able to continue this kind of positive work thanks to our generous donors, who believe in our mission. This collaboration, and further initiatives started at Salzburg Global would not be possible without our partners and funders. We’d like to express our gratitude to the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the Bosch Foundation, which supported the Fellows mentioned in this article.