Summer Academy on Dealing with the Past through Education


From 15-20 August 2016, the Nuremberg Academy held a Summer Academy with a focus on Education with the title “Education in the Aftermath of Conflict: Learning from the past?” The week-long Summer Academy explored the role of education in the aftermath of conflict. Building a dialogue among professionals and practitioners from post-conflict countries and Germany, it seeked to understand how different educational approaches—history education, human rights education, and peace education — interrelate with one and other in post-conflict settings and how they can be relevant for societies facing legacies of conflict and repression. A report on the Summer Academy will be made available in fall 2016.

In the aftermath of conflict and repression various approaches to education have evolved in the different countries and regions. In Germany, for example, history education was a crucial factor contributing to societal transformation after the Second World War. In Latin America, human rights education remains a key tool for civil society groups who importantly contributed to shape the processes of transition from dictatorship to democracy in different countries of the region. In other societies, notably those that are overcoming an internal conflict, the emphasis is often on peace education, including conflict resolution, which is often linked to human rights education. Despite different underlying theories and traditions, these educational approaches overlap in many aspects and they often share the same goal: to contribute to a peaceful and just present and future. The Summer Academy in Nuremberg brought together education professionals from different countries to explore in detail these issues, as well as to inspire one another and to exchange best practices.

Taking place in Nuremberg, a city symbolic both for the rise and the fall of the Nazi regime, the Summer Academy drew on this specific location in numerous ways. Parts of the program took place in the historic Courtroom 600, in which the Nuremberg Trials were once held, and participants visited the infamous rally grounds, which were built by the National Socialist Party for propaganda purposes. Throughout the program, however, these specific historic aspects were discussed in a wider, international framework that is relevant for all participants. 

The overall goal of the Summer Academy is to promote exchange and dialogue between professionals from the formal education system and those from non-formal education initiatives, as well as across different countries and regions. Participants were given the space to talk about their own work and the organizers made sure to leave enough free time for informal conversations. 

By organizing this Summer Academy, the Nuremberg Academy hopes to provide opportunities for inspiration for participants’ further work in their own settings. At the same time, the debates that took place at the Summer Academy feed into the work of the Human Rights Education Unit at the Nuremberg Academy, and may contribute to the development of future human rights education projects. The Nuremberg Academy plans to hold a Summer Academy on Education annually and one objective of this year’s initiative is also to create a network of educators active in the different education fields.