On January 26, UNESCO led the UN community’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, reaffirming its commitment to expand Holocaust Education and to fight Anti-Semitism. A moving nighttime ceremony attended by nearly 500 UNESCO permanent delegation officials, members of the public, and prominent Israeli government representatives culminated a week of events highlighted by a youth conference on rejecting violent extremist propaganda.
Director General Irina Bokova used the platform to energize its large international network of ministries of education, museums, and historical sites to use teaching about the history of the Holocaust as an effective tool to prevent anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance and violent extremism today.
Chargé d’Affaires Hegadorn participated in all events and expressed the United States’ continued strong support of promoting Holocaust Education worldwide, saying “we need dynamic new tools to bring education about Holocaust historical sites to students worldwide – for those who can’t travel to Poland, Washington, D.C., or Paris – to ensure the memory of the victims is honored by future generations.”
The United States initiated the UNESCO Holocaust Education program in 2011. Currently, the U.S. Mission to UNESCO has partnered with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Institute of International Education, the United States Institute of Peace, Facing History and Ourselves, and other NGOs to implement “PeaceWorx,” a public-private partnership (PPP) to Prevent Violent Extremism Through Education. This initiative develops innovative open educational resources to distribute through educator trainings and accompanying events that aim to build a global network on preventing violent extremism through education and train educators to use the resources effectively. The digital education modules will use historical examples from the Holocaust and adopt the principles of Global Citizenship Education to help youth assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, and secure world.