Education is a powerful tool in promoting tolerance and mutual understanding, representatives of education ministries and institutions said at a meeting organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), UNESCO and the Council of Europe in Paris on 5 November 2012.
The meeting brought together participants from OSCE participating States to discuss educational initiatives that can be used to raise awareness about the need for social cohesion and respect for diversity.
During the meeting, ODIHR presented its Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education to UNESCO’s network of educators. The publication was developed by ODIHR in co-operation with the Council of Europe and UNESCO.
The participants discussed how the Guidelines can be used in educational settings.
“The publication is a practical tool designed to assist educators in identifying manifestations of anti-Muslim prejudice in schools and to provide recommendations on how to counter them,” said Taskin Tankut Soykan, ODIHR Adviser on Combating Intolerance against Muslims. “In fact, the strategies and approaches set out in the Guidelines can be used as a basis for addressing any form of intolerance.”
Robin Richardson, Co-Chair of the London-based Insted Educational Consultancy, said that the Guidelines are easily applicable to educational settings in different countries: “The examples of good practices from various regions can inspire teachers to develop new activities to promote respect for diversity and encourage critical thinking among students.”
The meeting is a follow-up to a discussion held in Vienna in September 2012 on countering intolerance against Muslims through education for societies in transition.