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How does education about the Holocaust advance global citizenship education?

UNESCO has commissioned a paper entitled “How Does Education about the Holocaust Advance Global Citizenship Education?” to demonstrate how teaching and learning about the Holocaust and genocide can meet key learning objectives and provide added value to GCED, highlighting the potential to mainstream education about the Holocaust in this framework. This paper supports UNESCO’s Policy Guide on Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide, informed by the Organization’s longstanding work in education about the Holocaust and genocide and Global Citizenship Education (GCED).


Through GCED, UNESCO aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world. "Working towards this goal requires both institutional and individual commitments”, expresses Doyle Stevick, the author of the paper and Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina. “Effective education can empower students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to advance and sustain this effort."  For UNESCO, this implies providing learners of all ages with the cognitive, behavioural and social-emotional skills that strengthen their resilience against violent extremism and forms of group-targeted violence and empower them as responsible citizens. Education about the Holocaust and genocide can align with this understanding of GCED.


GCED and education about the Holocaust are historically linked and deeply interconnected, though they may vary in overall orientation, scale and scope explains Doyle Stevick in the paper.  “Education about the Holocaust and genocide and GCED both teach us that we all have a responsibility to act against injustice, whether in our own communities or in the global community.”


The paper shows that the Holocaust’s historical significance and universal implications can provide an entry point to inform a longer process of dealing with the past. “People who study the Holocaust in places that are grappling with their own historical traumas often recognize commonalities that help them begin to engage their own experiences in new ways”, explains Doyle Stevick, underlining the global relevance of education about the Holocaust.


The paper provides a critical examination of research regarding the contribution of education about the Holocaust to GCED’s three domains of learning, including examples of good practices, a terminology overview and an extensive bibliography. The paper is available via APCEIU’s GCED Clearinghouse.