bookFourth Meeting of the IE Humanities Discussion Series
Thursday, January 30, 19:15, Room 142
“What Did Your Educational System Teach You about the History, Wars and Genocides of Our Time?”

It is a common-place theme that we are today living in an increasingly global age, with people from various regional, national and cultural backgrounds thrown into interaction with one another on a daily basis.  Our own experience at IE, where fellow students come from so many different points on the map and represent so many international experiences of their own clearly testifies to this new reality.  However, the growing interaction of people speaking different languages and carrying different passports does NOT mean that these people see or understand the world in the same way.  On the contrary, people most often represent the vantage point of their respective national and cultural upbringing, transmitted to them through their education: different experiences of and perspectives on the past lead to different understandings of the present and visions of the future.  Hence, what Germans and Russians learn about the meaning and lessons of WWII and the Holocaust differ a great deal from one another, just as both differ radically from what people in the Islamic Middle-East learn about these subjects.  Our goal, given the very different educational experiences of our student body, is to probe what we have been taught about the major conflicts and human tragedies of our time and the implications for present and future, whether in the case of the wars of the last century or the human massacres and genocides of the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, the Japanese occupation, Cambodia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc.  We take it that different visions of the future won’t be reconciled unless our different visions of the past confront one another; IE’s international student body allows us to experiment in that direction and that is the spirit we invite you to our first event of the new year.


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