Holocaust Education Beyond Canada's Border

April 19, 2022

Community Update

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Moroccan teachers participating in an Unpacking Intolerance program earlier this month, hosted by FSWC in partnership with the Mimouna Association.

Earlier this month, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) held its second training program with Moroccan teachers, Unpacking Intolerance. This program came as part of FSWC's partnership with the Morrocan-based Mimouna Association, which was established last year in a joint effort to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate, promote peaceful coexistence and advance Holocaust education.

Since the first program, which was delivered in February, more teachers have joined us to participate in Holocaust and antisemitism education. The participants include educators who teach from elementary school through to university/college.

The educators have learned about the Holocaust and techniques to teach this topic to their students as well as explored antisemitism outside of the Holocaust, making links from historical myths and tropes to modern-day manifestations. This month's content was rooted in conversations about how to implement this learning in classrooms. The teachers participated in discussions, reflecting on the topics and sharing resources.

The third program, The Holocaust and North Africa + Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust in Arab Land, will be taking place on May 5, 2022.

Mehdi El Bayad, Mimouna Program Director, and Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO, issued the following statements:

"'The history we teach our children must include a pluralist range of opinions and stories, it must present humanity’s greatest moments, as well as its darker ones,' HM King Mohammed VI - grandson of late HM King Mohammed V who saved his Jewish citizens under the Vichy regime - has addressed in a message to a UN round table back in September 2018. This is the tradition that is guiding Mimouna's work on the Holocaust since 2011 in Morocco. This work has been intensified thanks to the FSWC-Mimouna training for trainers programme, a great opportunity to fill in the education gap among a target mainly composed of teachers in different levels of education. This fruitful partnership makes the Moroccan side benefit from FSWC tens of years old experience in approaching sensitive topics and providing the right tools to educate younger generations. FSWC has also been open about including the North African perspective regarding the Holocaust and the Muslim Jewish collaboration during WWII. This helped the teachers feel more concerned about the topic. We thank FSWC for their cultural and linguistic open-mindedness."

- Mehdi El Bayad, Mimouna Program Director

"We are beyond thrilled to be delivering such critical educational programs through this partnership with the Mimouna Association, as part of our goal to build bridges and deliver Holocaust education both in Canada and beyond our border. The participants have been incredibly enthusiastic and receptive as they've gained the knowledge and tools to further lessons on the Holocaust and antisemitism in their classrooms. These programs are just a stepping stone in FSWC and Mimouna's ongoing collaboration efforts."

- Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO