Student asking a question
Around nine hundred students from secondary schools of Bujumbura participated in educational outreach activities to commemorate the International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, organized and hosted by the UNIC Bujumbura from 27 to 29 January 2015 under the theme “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors”.
This year’s commemoration coincided with the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz –Birkenau camp and the 10th anniversary of the UN holocaust programme. UNIC seized this opportunity to “teach” the students on the reason behind and the relevance of the creation of the UN communication programme on the Holocaust. UNIC also briefed the students on the link between the Holocaust and the founding of the UN Organization.
UNIC got good support from the participating schools. These ones provide the History teachers who could repeat for the students the history of the First and the Second World War and their relation with the Holocausts. The commemoration included briefing sessions, photo exhibits and film screening, as well as debating, discussions, question-and-answer sessions for students, on the issue of the Holocaust.
Not only the students learned many things on the Holocaust that they ignored before, but they also shared the lessons that they learned from this historic tragedy. They could show a real interest on the subject, and this is normal for young people who were born and are growing in a conflict and genocide cycles environment, in the African Great Lakes Region, including Rwanda and Burundi.
UNIC screened the French version of the 8 minute film on the Holocaust and UN Communication Programme, with a recording by the Secretary-General to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the UN Holocaust. UNIC screened also the film entitled,” The path to Nazi Genocide”. UNIC printed the 10 anniversary promotional material and the photos on the Secretary General’s visit to Auschwitz –Birkenau Museum and organized a photo exhibit for students. UNIC NIO guided the visit and provided necessary explanations on the programme.
The activity was an occasion to educate the students about the Holocaust and the dangers of hatred and prejudice. The discussions were focused on the role of the youth in prevention of conflicts, and recommendations were made on how the new generation should be vigilant and never support bad ideologies which can lead to genocide.
All the participating schools appreciated the UNIC initiative to provide leadership and human rights education to their students. They also appreciated the constant partnership of the UNIC and noted the added value of the educational programme on the Holocaust.