Yad Vashem Conference 2014

Team members from the Centre for Holocaust Education joined over 400 Holocaust educators from over 50 different countries at the ninth International conference on Holocaust Education convened by the Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Education, Jerusalem.

Entitled Through Our Own Lens: Reflecting on the Holocaust from Generation to Generation, the conference engaged delegates in educational, intergenerational and multicultural dialogue on how we preserve the legacy and grapple with the challenges of Holocaust education in the years to come.

Speakers included historians such as Professor Yehuda Bauer and Professor Daniel Goldhagen, leading educators such as Shulamit Imber and survivors such as Serge Klarsfeld in a series of keynote lectures, break out seminars, roundtable discussions and semi structured conversations between survivors, first and second generations. Avner Shalev, Chairman Yad Vashem Directorate, remarked in his opening address that in contrast to other historical events that become less relevant to our present lives at time passes, the Holocaust grows in significance and relevance every year. He remarked ”The Holocaust resists being a history”. The challenge he went on to say, is how we educate about it alongside the changing needs of the generations. Shulamit Imbar, Eliraz Kraus and Shanai Lourie gave an overview of the new Israeli Holocaust Curriculum which sought to address some of the challenges.

IOE’s Professor Stuart Foster and Paul Salmons gave a detailed picture of Holocaust education in England’s schools its CPD programme and revealed some of the latest findings that are emerging from the current research project of a sample of 7,000 young people. They gave indication of some of the things we are beginning to learn about what young people actually make of this complex and emotionally challenging subject; what they think and know about the Holocaust and the relationship between their knowledge of the Holocaust and other areas of their lives. It was the only session of its kind, drawing a large audience and stimulating many questions and new lines of discussion.

Yad Vashem, through the generosity of its supporters was able to offer sponsored places at the conference for 10 teachers from our Beacon School and MA programme. This dedicated group of teachers was able to broaden their knowledge, expand their networks and disseminate information about the different initiatives they are working on with us at the IOE. For most of them it was the first time visiting Israel and Yad Vashem staff members were exemplary hosts, ensuring that despite the conflict going on around us, delegates felt safe, and reassured at all times and able to enjoy a truly inspiring conference.

‘This MA Module, and the visit to Yad Vashem, have challenged and intensified further my teaching and understanding of the Holocaust. I have enjoyed every aspect of it’.
Sara Costa

Image © Kevin Matthews

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Ruth-Anne Lenga together with some of the teachers from the IOE Beacon School and MA Programmes