International conference in Switzerland on research into education about the Holocaust

Bern, Press release, 15.02.2016

An international conference on research into education about the Holocaust is held in Lucerne on 15 and 16 February 2016. It is the first conference organised by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in Switzerland. The event aims to provide an overview of the findings of the latest research worldwide on how the Holocaust is taught. Around 150 people from almost 40 countries will take part in the conference. Switzerland will take up the IHRA chairmanship in 2017.

The University of Teacher Education Lucerne (PH Luzern) is holding an international conference on research into education about the Holocaust on 15 and 16 February 2016. The conference marks the conclusion of a project conducted over several years by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Under the leadership of Monique Eckmann, a professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) in Geneva, an international team has compiled, evaluated and compared research projects on this topic from all over the world in 15 different languages. The aim is to provide an overview of the current research status and to inspire intercultural and international dialogue and knowledge transfer about the Holocaust. This is more vitally important than ever because increasingly fewer eyewitnesses are able to provide personal testimonies of their experiences. A research project addressing this issue with significant Swiss involvement will also be presented at the conference. Prof. Peter Gautschi (PH Luzern) will outline the initial results of the project entitled ‘The Shoah in Everyday Life at School – Historical Learning with Video Interviews with Survivors in a Tablet-based Learning Environment’. This shows that teaching about the Holocaust in schools can be significantly enriched by new media.

Switzerland will take up the chairmanship of the IHRA in 2017 and Ambassador Benno Bättig, Secretary General of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will assume the chair of the IHRA. The international conference represents a prelude in this respect. Two IHRA plenary meetings will take place in Switzerland in 2017, the first in Geneva and the second in Bern.

The purpose of the IHRA is to promote research and education about the Holocaust and to bear in remembrance the victims through commemorations and memorials, in particular in the 31 member countries. This intergovernmental organisation’s institutional partners include the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and UNESCO.
Switzerland plays a very active role in the IHRA’s key areas of activity. In 2003, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Education decided to make 27 January – the day on which the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated in 1945 – a Holocaust day of remembrance in Swiss schools. The FDFA also supported the publication of previously unprinted contemporary testimonies of Holocaust survivors last year.

Address for inquiries:

FDFA Information
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
info@eda.admin.ch

PH Luzern
Peter Gautschi
Tel. +41 41 228 33 54
peter.gautschi@phlu.ch

IHRA
Monique Eckmann
Tel. +41 22 343 78 54
monique.eckmann@hesge.ch


Further information:

Information about the conference
Information about the IHRA and the Swiss chairmanship in 2017


Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs