Roundtable: Working Towards a Global Agreement to Reduce Divisive Stereotyping in School Textbooks
(Education and Employment in a Global Market)

Friday, July 14, 2017: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
Clarity (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Jo Ritzen, United Nations University - MERIT
Moderators:  Jo Ritzen, United Nations University - MERIT
Speakers:  Marin Been, Maastricht University, Sarah Clarke, Pen International and Bram Rooijackers, Conflict and Education Learning Laboratory

Education, either in its content or in the decision to withhold it, has often been exploited by parties in a conflict. The potentially harmful role of education and textbooks was discussed at the Dakar Forum in 2000 and was a pivotal factor in the decision to increase support for education in conflict-affected areas. Today, delivering impartial and quality education in areas of conflict is regarded as a key strategy for promoting peace and development. It has the potential to overcome past divides, build trust between former “enemies,” and help pupils develop positive expectations for the future. Textbooks, as the primary tools of basic education will play a crucial role in delivering quality and impartial education, as they often reveal the deeper (or hidden) social and political curricula of a society, including its fault lines. This is especially true for history, geography, and social studies textbooks, which play a role in shaping how children perceive themselves versus others. This roundtable brings together experts in the fields of development economics, education, neuroscience, and law to examine and debate the need for a global agreement to reduce “divisive” stereotypes in school textbooks. Topics under discussion will include: Why are divisive stereotypes in school textbooks harmful? How do we recognize and identify such stereotypes? Why is a global agreement necessary and what international, regional, and national legal precedence would such an agreement draw upon?