The organizers of the Festival of Tolerance have recognized that care for the young is the most significant segment in the development of a democratic society, especially at the present time when we witness a rise in violence among the young, discrimination, social injustice, between peers and towards individuals of different nationality, religion or race. This prompted us to inaugurate in 2009 a new educational programme - Educational Mornings.
Through a multimedia and multidisciplinary approach, the lectures offer an educational experience through which pupils and students can understand which events brought about the Holocaust, one of the most tragic episodes in the history of the world. It is exactly the model of educating the youngest that starts the development of understanding and tolerance, the fundamental principles needed for healthy socialization to function. Together with students, Holocaust survivors talk about the injustice of the Nazi regime and stimulate an open dialogue and appeal to cooperation of cultural, educational and government institutions. Through discussion and exchange of opinions the young come to understand that accepting diversity and respecting differences is the only right way of living in a modern world.
The current social events (the refugee situation, intolerance, women’s rights) increasingly reveal certain socio-cultural antagonisms and the need to speak out about the injustices and so insisting on the dialogue and cooperation of the whole community in the fight against discrimination is one of the main goals of the 10th Festival of Tolerance.
Pointing out to oversights in the integration process, such as insufficient readiness for the actualization of a truly pluralistic society, the sluggishness of institutions in completing those goals, lack of basic tools for building and developing an integrated community, leads to starting social dialogue and encourages other festivals to speak out about these important and current issues. For us at the Festival, which saw the need for such public contents and initiated the opening of dialogue, it is a great honor and recognition of the effort that we made year after year with an aim to develop a truly tolerant society in every meaning of the word.
Since 2009 more than 17,000 students have participated at Educational Mornings. It is a programme that is active throughout the year via several workshops and projects. So far it has been held 55 times in 14 Croatian cities, in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Austria, which hardly any other institution in Croatia that educates the public about the Holocaust can boast.
By introducing film media as a platform for education, each year selecting a feature film or documentary of high artistic and educational value, the young expand their knowledge of the Holocaust in a manner that they can easily understand, after which the platform discussion is open. We are proud of their reactions, as they readily admit that before the programme they knew very little or almost nothing about the Holocaust and that after the film and the lecture they talk about completely different learning experience. This is exactly what gives us strength and motivation to speak out further about the social problems of today and continued propagation of the need for dialogue at all levels, starting with those that are the pillars of a healthy democratic and pluralistic society.
Look at the clip from the lecture: The lecture of Mr. Mirko Ilić, illustrator, graphical designer and lecturer has filled the halls for past three years, and the number of participants and interested visitors grows every year.
Frank Stern has perfected himself in holding lectures using short films, which stories and visual power he considers extremely important tools for teaching and reaching younger generations, and opening new dimension to teaching history and emotional identification.
Check out a part of the lecture: Branko Lustig, a Holocaust survivor and president of Festival of Tolerance, will hold a lecture about his own experience from the concentration camps of Nazi regime. It must serve as a warning to the future generations.