Concluded

Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future – European Citizens Stand Up in Front of Injustices

The project “Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future – European Citizens Stand Up in Front of Injustices” was coordinated by the Intercultural Institute Timisoara in partnership with Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea from Italy, Tsentar za Mezhduetnicheski Dialog i Tolerantnost Amalipe from Bulgaria and Big Picture Association from Poland. The project was co-funded by the European Union through the Europe for Citizens Programme.

The aim of this project was to raise the awareness about the need to stand up against injustice, to act for human rights and to make sure that history does not repeat itself. Teachers from 4 countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Italy) have been involved in a process aiming at developing their competences to teach about the Holocaust and human rights in an interdisciplinary approach – on the one hand to draw lessons from the past and apply them to present days’ realities, on the other hand to understand the mechanisms for protecting human rights that exist today and how the fact that they did not exist in the past allowed for such atrocities to happen.

The main activities included the organization of 4 national seminars in 2021, in each of the 4 countries involved in the project, and one international conference in Poland, in 2022, bringing together representatives of all the countries involved in the project. Throughout the project, the teachers were supported to develop curricular and extra-curricular activities with their students based on an interdisciplinary methodology that combines Holocaust education with human rights education and intercultural education. The teachers engaged their students in local projects, to research the past and to contribute to a democratic and equitable future. Some teachers engaged in collaboration with teachers from other countries and created opportunities for their students to engage in online peer learning processes. Policy proposals have been submitted to local and national authorities to argue the importance of mainstreaming this interdisciplinary approach.

A Handbook for teachers called Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future. An Interdisciplinary Approach to Holocaust, Human Rights and Intercultural Education developed within this project is available online at: https://www.intercultural.ro/en/handbook-holocaust-hr-intercultural-education/
Teachers can find in this handbook: an argumentation of the need for an interdisciplinary approach of Holocaust education, human rights education and intercultural education; an explanation of the ways in which this interdisciplinary approach can lead to the development of competences for democratic culture; an overview of the methodologies which are best suited for an interdisciplinary approach; a set of educational activities that can be used by the teachers with their students; as well as recommendations for further reading.

Five events have been carried out within this project:


Event 1

Participation: The event involved 32 citizens, from across Bulgaria, primarily middle school and high school teachers.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Blagoevgrad and Sofia, Bulgaria from 12 to 17 July 2021

Short description:  The aim of the event was to offer teachers from across Bulgaria the opportunity to learn, reflect, share and debate about Holocaust and human rights teaching contexts, methodologies and practices. A learner-centred approach, based on the principles of experiential learning and active participation was be used during the seminar. National and international researchers, practitioners presented and worked with the teachers to develop their competences to empower students to become active European citizens.

Participants understood how the Holocaust was carried out starting with dehumanisation, hate speech, scapegoating, discrimination. They drew lessons from the past that can be applied to current situations of injustice and discrimination. A specific action plan for a project with students was drafted by each participant to be put into practice during the school year, involving the local community.

Event 2

Participation: The event involved 32 citizens, from across Romania, primarily middle school and high school teachers.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Cluj, Romania, from 20 to 24 July 2021

Short description:  The aim of the event was to offer teachers from across Romania the opportunity to learn, reflect, share and debate about Holocaust and human rights teaching contexts, methodologies and practices. A learner-centred approach, based on the principles of experiential learning and active participation was be used during the seminar. National and international researchers, practitioners presented and worked with the teachers to develop their competences to empower students to become active European citizens.

Participants understood how the Holocaust was carried out starting with dehumanisation, hate speech, scapegoating, discrimination. They drew lessons from the past that can be applied to current situations of injustice and discrimination. A specific action plan for a project with students was drafted by each participant to be put into practice during the school year, involving the local community.

Event 3

Participation: The event involved 30 citizens, from across Poland, primarily middle school and high school teachers.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, from 17 to 21 August 2021

Short description:  The aim of the event was to offer teachers from across Poland the opportunity to learn, reflect, share and debate about Holocaust and human rights teaching contexts, methodologies and practices. A learner-centred approach, based on the principles of experiential learning and active participation was be used during the seminar. National and international researchers, practitioners presented and worked with the teachers to develop their competences to empower students to become active European citizens.

Participants understood how the Holocaust was carried out starting with dehumanisation, hate speech, scapegoating, discrimination. They drew lessons from the past that can be applied to current situations of injustice and discrimination. A specific action plan for a project with students was drafted by each participant to be put into practice during the school year, involving the local community.

Event 4

Participation: The event involved 29 citizens, from across Italy, primarily middle school and high school teachers.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Padua, Italy, from 29 August to 2 September 2021

Short description:  The aim of the event was to offer teachers from across Italy the opportunity to learn, reflect, share and debate about Holocaust and human rights teaching contexts, methodologies and practices. A learner-centred approach, based on the principles of experiential learning and active participation was be used during the seminar. National and international researchers, practitioners presented and worked with the teachers to develop their competences to empower students to become active European citizens.

Participants understood how the Holocaust was carried out starting with dehumanisation, hate speech, scapegoating, discrimination. They drew lessons from the past that can be applied to current situations of injustice and discrimination. A specific action plan for a project with students was drafted by each participant to be put into practice during the school year, involving the local community.

Event 5

Participation: The event involved 29 citizens, from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Italy

Location / Dates: The event took place in Warsaw and Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland, from 3 to 6 April 2022

Short description:  The aim of the event was to gather teachers and representatives of civil society and public institutions from Romania (7 people), Bulgaria (6 people), Italy (5 people) and Poland (11 people) to share their practices, to discuss about educational approaches for Holocaust and human rights education and to set up a European Network of Holocaust and Human Rights Educators. The Handbook describing the interdisciplinary approach combining Holocaust, human rights and intercultural education, developed in the framework of this project (and available here) was discussed during the conference.

Preparatory activities

A series of preparatory activities were organised in order to carry out this project. The first partners’ meeting took place in person, in Timisoara, in February 2020, gathering 8 representatives from all partner organisations:

–  Intercultural Institute Timisoara, Romania

–  CDEC Foundation, Italy

–  Big Picture, Poland

–  Amalipe, Bulgaria.

The rest of the preparatory activities took place online.

The description of the events organised in this project can be downloaded from here.

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