It is said that history repeats itself. Facing History and Ourselves is an NGO seeking to prevent some of history’s worst atrocities by educating students about them.
The organization provides teachers around the globe with the resources to teach their students about atrocities of the past and the choices made by individuals surrounding them. It is through education that they aim to “promote the development of a more human and informed citizenry.”
The project began in a classroom as a History course that taught students about the events leading up to the Holocaust. Since that first course, the project has expanded to cover a broad spectrum of topics, including civil rights and immigration. The number of educators involved has reached 90,000, and the resources are being used in 150 countries.
Educators are provided with lesson plans, resource books, and workshops to assist in their teaching. Some lesson plans and resource books are provided for free, whereas others must be purchased. The materials can also be “loaned” by affiliated educators.
Teachers become affiliated with the organization through workshops. The workshops range from single-day to week-long courses and provide teachers with the information required to teach the course material. These professional development courses are held both online and across North America and focus on specific historical events, such as the Nanjing atrocities or the Holocaust.
Grants are awarded to educators who wish to use the materials to set up their own projects. These projects range from redesigning curriculums to bringing together Protestant and Catholic classrooms in Northern Ireland.