Yad Vashem: The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program
The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies
In April 2002, at the opening session of the International Conference on The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors: The Moral and Ethical Implications for Humanity, The Asper International Holocaust Studies Program was launched at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies. The program is funded by income from a $4 million fund set up by The Asper Foundation which is used for the expansion of programs at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies including: Biannual international conferences, International outreach, professional development and training programs for educators, International seminars for educators from English-speaking countries, and The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (a joint venture between governments and educators dealing with Holocaust denial, racism and xenophobia).
The International School for Holocaust Studies Web site has recently expanded, with several new sites and useful educational material:
New Online Course for Educators: “Life Lessons – Bringing Holocaust History to Your Classroom”
This new online course provides educators with directives in Holocaust history in conjunction with pedagogic tools applicable to the classroom. Participants gain excellent knowledge in the historical aspects of the Holocaust from a multi-disciplinary approach, through use of primary and secondary sources. In sync with Yad Vashem’s educational philosophy, the historical content is explored through examining testimonies, diaries, artwork, literature and photographs, and applying the knowledge to practical educational materials for classroom usage.
Upon completion of the course, participants gain confidence in teaching the Holocaust in their classrooms to a variety of ages through a dynamic series of approaches.
“And Despite it All, I Am Alive” – Educational Journey Beyond the Image
Designed to accompany the newly launched Online Photo Archive, this unique educational site follows the postwar experiences of Holocaust survivors, through use of photographs from Yad Vashem’s archive. These photographs are accompanied by extracts from testimonies and memoirs, and discussion questions for students in the classroom. For the educational website, click here.
New Poetry Teacher’s Guide: “Seven Poems, Seven Paintings – A Teacher’s Guide to Selected Holocaust Poetry”
This unique teacher’s guide is intended for poetry, art and literature teachers interested in a more artistic approach to teaching the Holocaust.
It includes seven Holocaust-related poems, accompanied by original artists’ impressions of these poems. Each poem includes discussion points for the teacher.
International Conference on the Holocaust and Education
In March 2010, the State of Israel assumed the chairmanship of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). As Chair of this unique umbrella organization, including twenty-seven member states and another seven nations who are officially associated with this international body, the Israeli delegation is working in close partnership with decision makers, leading specialists in Holocaust education, and scholars to promote the study of the Shoah and its meaning.
In light of recent debates, reports and statements within ITF circles that have sparked many questions surrounding historical narratives, the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem decided to organize its Seventh International Conference on Holocaust and Education focusing on “Shoah Education and Remembrance in Hindsight and in Foresight: Text and Context,” held on June 12-13, 2010.
This international conference, organized under the auspices of the ITF, was geared for decision makers in the field of education and culture – specifically but not limited to members of ITF delegations – in an effort to gain a deeper perspective on the current challenges of historical memory.
Following the conference, video footage of select presentations was made available on the Yad Vashem website. Recommendations stemming from the conference proceedings will be submitted to the ITF December plenary meetings.
World-renowned scholars, philosophers and leaders were invited to take part in panels and sessions that focused on a number of educational issues, such as:
- What is our responsibility as policy makers and experts in Holocaust education, remembrance and research to uphold the Stockholm Declaration (2000) ten years later?
- How do we commemorate and infuse meaning on various days of Holocaust remembrance on the national and international levels, such as January 27, 27th of the Hebrew Month Nissan and others?
- How do we authorize the teaching about different historical contexts without a competition between the suffering of victims of totalitarianism?
- How is educating about and remembering the Holocaust relevant to young people today who seek to accurately understand what occurred as well as to take responsibility for the truth about the past?