European Summer School on “Prejudice, Genocide, Remembrance”

Date: 5 – 10 July 2015

Country: Hungary

Budapest_Tom_Lantos_InstituteSecond European Summer School 2015 gathered 25 civil servants, educators, journalists, churches and civil society representatives from the Council of Europe member countries. Organised by The Tom Lantos Institute (Budapest), the Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Education and Psychology (Budapest), and CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (Brussels), the School combined substantive education with skills training employing a multidisciplinary approach that complements Holocaust education with human rights training.

The principle goal of the training was to develop understanding of the ways collective memories of traumatic past events shape inter-community relations in the present. Furthermore, the training situated prejudice and genocide in the context of human rights and democratic values.

“In Central and Eastern Europe one reason for the spread of anti-Semitism and anti-Romani racism is the weak socialisation of democratic values and human rights in the midst of civil society”, says Louise Métrich, Programme Manager. „The Summer School teaches human rights norms and skills encouraging young people to become active in preventing and countering racism and in  promoting respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.”

Budapest_Tom_Lantos_Institute_2Among the lecturers were prominent experts on the issues such as identity, Holocaust, the Roma genocide, countering anti-tsiganism, reconciliation, transitional justice, human rights, minority rights:  Robin Sclafani of CEJI, Mónika Kovács of Eötvös Loránd University,  Andreas Zick of Bielefeld University, Germany, Arie Nadler of Tel Aviv University.

Media Diversity Institute’s Milica Pesic, run a workshop on freedom of speech and the media, using the opportunity to introduce MDI’s new project – Get the Trolls Out! This project is designed to engage European youth to counter and combat Anti-Semitism.

“As eyewitness memory of the Holocaust recedes in Europe, young people are especially vulnerable to dangerous ignorance and indifference about anti-Semitic attitudes that are still very much with us”, said Pesic when introducing the project.

At her workshop Pesic in particular focused on encouraging the participants to see the difficulties and challenges when drawing the line between freedom of expression as a fundamental right to be enjoyed by all citizens regardless their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, language and their right  not to be discriminated against.

“Journalists are struggling with this on daily basis when reporting on any kind of discrimination, hate speech or derogatory language. To make a right decision takes thinking and understanding of these issues. And it takes, and this is what is often forgotten, sensitivity towards media consumers and communities media and journalists serve”, said Pesic.

The Summer School was supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.