From the roots of intolerance, education yields empathy and knowledge
The mission of The Foundation for Genocide Education is to work with governments to ensure that genocide and the steps leading to it are taught in high schools in Canada and the United States. We are on a committee with the Quebec Education Ministry which is developing a guide on genocides that will be used by teachers in various disciplines. The government is funding this guide, along with professional workshops for educators. Learn more about us by watching this interview on CTV News.
The Holocaust, the genocides in Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Darfur, and the cultural genocide of our First Nations peoples – the past century has proven to be a challenge for peace and tolerance.
The world has not learned the lessons of these atrocities, and so they continue to occur today in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar and Sudan, as shown in our video on the urgency of genocide education. Hate and intolerance are on the rise worldwide and even here in Canada. How can we stop this cycle of hate and violence? Education is the answer.
The Foundation for Genocide Education was created as an outgrowth of a presentation that educator and film producer Heidi Berger gives to high schools, community groups and symposiums throughout Canada and the U.S. This interactive video presentation focuses on genocide and its precursors, hate and racial intolerance, using the video testimonial of her mother who survived the Holocaust.
Despite positive feedback, Heidi discovered that large numbers of students – and educators – had little to no knowledge of genocide. Some students were graduating not even knowing what the word genocide means!
When a teacher urged her to ‘do something about this’, Heidi decided to create a foundation to pressure the government to include genocide education as a mandatory part of the high school curriculum. We are now a team of eight staff and volunteers working to realize Heidi’s vision.
is an award-winning film producer and professor of communications at Concordia University, based in Montreal, Quebec. She is the creator and head of the Foundation for Genocide Education.
In 2009, Heidi used her skills in film production and education to create a compelling, 50-minute interactive video presentation chronicling her late mother’s experience during the Holocaust. The presentation touches on the dangers of intolerance and racism, which can escalate into genocide.
Heidi speaks to English and French high schools, university students, community organizations and symposiums throughout Quebec, Canada and the United States. The students’ emotional reaction to genocide—and their shocking lack of knowledge on the subject— motivated Heidi to start the Foundation for Genocide Education to educate new generations to prevent future atrocities.
"I really appreciated Heidi Berger's presentation. I realized that discrimination towards the Jews didn't only happen in Europe, but also in Quebec, where I live, and it really affected me."
Grade 10 Student
"Young people need to know what can happen and be educated about the worst. Learning to stop it when we see the signs should be taught at an early age."
- Safet Vukalic
Survivor of Bosian genocide
"People should know that we are living the first steps of genocide in our daily lives. We are there… let us stop it."
- Jean-Claude Rancourt
High School Teacher