First Class of Change-Makers Graduate from Salzburg Global-Inspired Program to Tackle Extremism




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Oct 30, 2017
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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First Class of Change-Makers Graduate from Salzburg Global-Inspired Program to Tackle Extremism

Students take part in pilot program to combat extremism and promote pluralism in Africa Students from Thabo Secondary School outside the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre Picture: Catherine Boyd

School pupils in Johannesburg, South Africa, have become the first graduates of a Salzburg Global-inspired program to promote pluralism and tackle extremism in Africa.

Students from Thabo Secondary School recently became the first to complete the Change Makers Leadership Program, a project which grew out of Salzburg Global during Session 564 - Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism.

The Change Makers Leadership Program was one of several projects designed at the session. It is currently being piloted in South Africa and Rwanda and could expand across other African countries in 2018.

The Program, created by Salzburg Global Fellows Tali Nates, Richard Freedman, Freddy Mutanguha, and Mubigalo Aloys Mahwa, focuses on students aged between 15 and 18.

During these sessions, students develop the skills required to challenge extremism and encourage social cohesion. The students learn these skills by examining the past, using case studies from the Holocaust, the Genocide in Rwanda, and Apartheid in South Africa.

The Program addresses several themes, including history, genocide, consequences, and peace-building. Different concepts such as critical thinking, empathy, trust, and personal responsibility are also emphasized.

Speaking earlier this year, Nates, director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, said they planned to “bring our experiences to politicians, education policymakers, media, and civil society leaders.”

A final report of the program will be presented at Salzburg Global next week during Session 589 – Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism.

This session will involve discussions on how to scale up pilot projects designed during Session 564. Projects will be further refined and modified for implementation elsewhere. Participants will also come away with new resources and leadership tools to increase their efforts to combat rising intolerance and to promote peace within their own societies.

Both Session 589 and 564 are part of Salzburg Global’s multi-year Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program, which has been held in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum since 2010.

The Program initially began by working with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a multilateral organization of mostly Western European and North American countries to promote Holocaust education and remembrance. Through a series of global and regional gatherings, the Program has gone onto expand its outreach by engaging with participants from more than 40 non-IHRA countries on six continents, many of which had a recent experience of mass atrocities.

Salzburg Global Seminar has created a network of individuals and NGOs across these countries and strives to help them extend their collaborative work, allowing practitioners to identify cross-regional strategies to empower institutions and individuals with tools for ethical education, peaceful conflict resolution, and pluralistic societies.

The Program is beginning to facilitate support to practitioners’ work through the Program’s expanding network, whereby a bottom-up approach can inform and influence effective public policy both in the participants’ countries and in western countries striving to address the same issues and to determine what methodologies or tools can be leveraged in different contexts.

The pilot projects launched as a result of Session 564 were made possible thanks to the support of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, with additional support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.