UNESCO Chairs and experts on genocide education commit to closer international cooperation

(Reposted from: UNESCO. June 21, 2024)

On 3 and 4 June, a meeting co-organized by UNESCO and the University of Southern California UNESCO Chair on Antisemitism and Genocide Research gathered experts on genocide education and prevention from Armenia, France, India, Iraq, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States at the USC Capital Campus in Washington DC.

In the spirit of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, UNESCO Chairs and academics in the process of applying for a UNESCO Chair accreditation discussed emerging research priorities and established synergies for future collaboration. The group put important emphasis on international cooperation, with notable reflections on integrating more diverse perspectives and intersectional approaches in genocide-related research and teaching.

As a direct outcome of the two-day meeting, participants agreed to establish an informal network of UNESCO Chais on genocide education and prevention, providing a stronger basis for future collaboration and engagement.

The critical role of education in mitigating drivers of genocide

Genocides and their legacies affect societies across all regions with devastating consequences. The timely prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes is therefore at the core of UNESCO’s mission to contribute to sustainable peace. Education is central to this endeavor considering its ambivalent potential to fuel or build resilience against genocidal propaganda.

UNESCO advocates for education that addresses key drivers before violence erupts. This includes strengthening awareness for the causes and consequences of genocide and educating against hate speech, identity-based discrimination, and violent extremism. At the same time, UNESCO supports education approaches that crucially deal with violent pasts and their legacies and provide a forum to increase knowledge and exchange about how past violence continues to affect present societies. 

UNESCO strengthens related education policy programmes in support of genocide education and prevention through its global programme on Global Citizenship and Peace Education. UNESCO Chairs are key partners in developing and advancing related guidance, training, and pedagogies to support teaching and learning towards more peaceful societies, actively committed to the promotion of human rights and civic engagement.

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