The recent tragic events at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh have shocked and sickened all of us who believe in the preservation of a society that is civilised, tolerant and respectful of human rights.
Sadly, however, the horrific acts in Pittsburgh once again remind us that antisemitism is a very real threat and that challenging it whenever, wherever and however it surfaces is paramount. This has to begin with education and we, at the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, firmly believe in its power to root out and eradicate such pernicious beliefs and actions. We work tirelessly to support teachers in their communities to this end.
Year on year our Centre collaborates with thousands of teachers in schools across the country to ensure that young people have the knowledge and understanding necessary to address and challenge extremist, antisemitic views and behaviour. More recently, the Centre also has partnered with the OSCE (Office for Security and Co-operation in Europe) on a pioneering project to develop powerful curriculum frameworks for pre-service teachers. Through these mediums, teachers begin their careers with the knowledge, understanding, and pedagogical tools to address antisemitism in education and challenge it through education. This exciting initiative will potentially be implemented in 57 countries and thus enhance the education of tens of millions of students.
The heart-breaking events in Pittsburgh, the recent rise in antisemitic speech and acts, and the troubling re-emergence of extremist groups in the UK and beyond, emphasise the profound importance of the work that we, and many other organisations, undertake in striving to ensure the maintenance of a more thoughtful, caring and empathetic society. In the troubled socio-political climate of today our collective efforts to stand up to racism, antisemitism and all forms of hatred are more important than ever.
Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to all those affected by these most horrific and appalling acts.