Education for Reconciliation in Rwanda: Creating a History Curriculum After Genocide

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Education for Reconciliation in Rwanda: Creating a History Curriculum After Genocide, Sarah W. Freedman, Harvey M. Weinstein, Timothy Longman from the Human Rights Center University of California.

"The work of this project built upon the findings from two prior grants to the Human Rights Center. The first, “Communities in Crisis: Justice and Social Reconstruction in Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia,” funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation was a project to examine the processes of social reconstruction and reconciliation in countries that had experienced ethnic cleansing and genocide. The principal focus of the project was to look at the role of retributive justice in the rebuilding of societies. During the course of this three- year study, we increasingly became aware of the importance of the schools, both in the events leading up to the violence and the possibilities inherent in education as one pathway to rebuilding communities that practice tolerance, respect human rights, and contribute to the development of a social identity that transcends ethnic group affiliations. This led to our second grant, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, “ Intrastate Conflict and Social Reconstruction: Education for Reconciliation” that focused specifically on how community stakeholders in the same countries – students, parents, teachers, school administrators – viewed the role of schools and the teaching of history. This work is described in detail in our book, “My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity”, published by Cambridge University Press in February 2005. In 2003, we applied to the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to address the challenge of teaching history in Rwanda, a country that had placed a moratorium on teaching its youth about the past. As we indicated in our proposal, “Countries recovering from violence are often unable to reach consensus on how to interpret the catastrophic events that have befallen them." [1]

US Participants [2]

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