Conference on democratic and human rights education

Organized jointly with CATESCO, it will take place in Barcelona on 18 April

DIPLOCAT and CATESCO will organise on 18 April a conference aimed at educational, social and administration actors on the subject of democratic and human rights education as an antidote to hate speech. The event will take place at the Institute of Catalan Studies in Barcelona between 10am and 5pm and has the support of the Government of Catalonia.

UNESCO recognizes that hate speech is growing towards minority communities, mainly due to the increase in the use of social networks and the emergence of populist movements. In this framework, the conference will analyse with Christopher Castle, Director of UNESCO's Division for Peace and Sustainable Development at the Education Sector, the revision of the 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding,  Cooperation and Peace and Education relatin to Human Rights and Fundamental  Freedoms, recently adopted by all member states in September 2023. The recommendation is a key tool when establishing education standards and promoting lasting peace and human development. The constant and significant changes in the world have shown that this recommendation is not only a necessary tool, but also required a review.

The opening of the event will be conducted by Teresa Cabré i Castellví, president of the Institute of Catalan Studies, Eduard Vallory i Subirà, president of CATESCO and Laura Foraster i Lloret, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT.

The conference will also analyse through round tables and practical workshops with Catalan and international experts the guide published in 2023 by UNESCO, Addressing hate speech through education: guide for policy-makers. The guide claims that educational systems, including institutions and educators, must provide environments of safe and inclusive learning, respectful of human rights and that provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to have critical thinking and the capacity for intercultural dialogue.

A first round table will decode hate speech and the potential risk that education systems have for promoting it, with Carles Fernández Torné, Assistant Lecturer of International Public Law and Transitional Justice at Blanquerna - Ramon Llull University; Cristina Figueras Franquesa, responsible for Verificat Escola; and Karlos Castilla Juárez, Research Coordinator at the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia.

A second round table will explain what is being done and what proposals are available in the educational world to address hate speech. Participants will include Cecilia Barbieri, Chief of Section Global Citizenship and Peace Education at UNESCO; Khrystyna Chushak, Head Programme Coordinator in Ukraine for the European Wergeland Center programme "Schools for Democracy: Supporting Educational Reforms in Ukraine"; Joan Cuevas Expósito, General Director of Innovation, Digitization and Curriculum at the Ministry of Education of the Government of Catalonia; and Anabel Rodríguez Basanta, Head of the Department of Human Rights at the Barcelona City Council.

In the afternoon, the prestigious Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, Kyriaki Messiou, will talk about how to create safe, respectful, inclusive and encouraging learning environments. Afterwards, attendees will be able to participate in one of the four practical workshops in which proposals for democratic education and respect for human rights will be made.

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