Addressing antisemitism through education in Moldova

The importance of combating antisemitism through education in Moldova was the focus of a roundtable discussion organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Chisinau on 18 July 2017. The event brought together some 20 Moldovan Government and Parliament officials, international experts, and representatives of academia and the Jewish community to discuss effective approaches to education on antisemitism in Moldova’s specific context. During the discussions, participants underscored that the best approach is one that systematically incorporates such study in the national curriculum.

“When young people are educated on the importance of tolerance and mutual respect, this helps create an inclusive and cohesive society, enriched by the contribution of all its members, including the Jewish community,” said Ambassador Michael Scanlan, Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova. “The Moldovan Government has taken real steps to this end, and now is the time to ensure the lasting impact of its commitment to improving understanding and ensuring an open and honest discussion of history, including the history of the Holocaust in Moldova.”

Participants noted the Government’s recent efforts to further Holocaust commemoration and education in Moldova. This includes Parliament’s July 2016 Declaration adopting the findings of the 2004 Elie Wiesel Report and, subsequently, the adoption of an Action Plan of concrete measures to strengthen the study and remembrance of the Holocaust in Moldova. They also welcomed a recent decision to entrust oversight of the Action Plan’s implementation to Parliament’s cross-party Human Rights Committee as an important step.

“Every OSCE participating State has a specific local context, and this must be reflected in school curricula to ensure effective education about the Holocaust and address anti-Semitism,” said Jan Henrik Fahlbusch, ODIHR Adviser on Combating Anti-Semitism. “Together with the OSCE Mission to Moldova, ODIHR will continue to support the Moldovan Government by sharing best practices and providing appropriate teaching materials dealing with the challenges of antisemitism.”

This event was organized as part of the ODIHR project, “Turning Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism”, funded by the German government, and follows ongoing efforts by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and ODIHR to assist the authorities in increasing awareness and understanding of the Holocaust in Moldova. To this end, in June 2016 the Mission facilitated the participation of government and civil society representatives at plenary meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Moldova is one of IHRA's eleven Observer Countries and ODHIR is one of IHRA's seven Permanent International Partner organizations.

Image: Ambassador Michael Scanlan (l), Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, listens as Jan Henrik Fahlbusch, ODIHR Adviser on Combating Anti-Semitism, speaks at a roundtable discussion in Chisinau on effective approaches to combating antisemitism through education in Moldova organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and ODIHR, 18 July 2017. (OSCE/Liubomir Turcanu)