UNESCO organizes workshops for GAAMAC Africa Working Group

21 February 2024
UNESCO, a GAAMAC Informal Alliance, has organized two online workshops on Strengthening genocide prevention through education in Africa with the support of GAAMAC.

Since 2021, the GAAMAC Africa Working Group has been supporting UNESCO  in the development of a new teaching resource on atrocity prevention education. On 18 January 2024, UNESCO organized an online workshop presenting the final policy brief on “Strengthening genocide prevention through education in Africa” to the group and additional stakeholders representing national education ministries and civil society. The Chair of the Africa Working Group, Justice Jamila Mohammed, delivered the welcoming remarks and stressed how important education is in the early prevention of mass atrocities.

“We have a moral imperative to tackle the precursors of genocide. We need to start with education, changing from a culture of discrimination, intolerance and violence towards a culture of inclusion and peace”. – Justice Jamila Mohammed

This was followed by Alexander Hinton, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University (a GAAMAC Partner) and Edward Kissi, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida, sharing their reflections on the broader role of education in genocide prevention and providing examples from the African continent. Karel Fracapane, UNESCO Section of Global Citizenship and Peace Education, then presented the UNESCO policy brief on “Strengthening genocide prevention through education in Africa”. The workshop was concluded by Idowu Olagunju, Secretary-General of the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, who discussed Nigeria’s plans for a new peace education curriculum.

In the second workshop, organized on 15 February 2024, the spotlight was shed on pedagogical approaches and practices. At this workshop, attendees were welcomed by representatives of UNESCO, the UN Outreach Division of the Department of Global Communications and GAAMAC. Isabel Tamoj, UNESCO Section of Global Citizenship and Peace Education, presented the UNESCO/UN teachers’ guide on “Teaching to prevent atrocity crimes”. The presentation was complemented by additional speakers’ concrete examples and case studies. Denise Bentrovato, African Association for History Education, provided an overview of curricula and teacher experiences in six African countries. In addition, case studies from South Africa and Rwanda were presented by Tali Nates, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, and Freddy Mutanguha, Aegis Trust and Kigali Genocide Memorial, respectively. In total, the two workshops were attended by 88 participants.

The GAAMAC Africa Working Group plans to continue the dissemination of these important teaching resources in 2024.

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