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Promoting Intercultural Dialogue and a Culture of Peace in South-East Asia through Shared Histories
an article by UNESCO office in Bangkok

UNESCO Bangkok is bringing together leading history experts and educators from South-East Asia to explore the feasibility of developing shared histories for the sub-region.



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Throughout South-East Asia, history, culture and heritage have increasingly been sources of conflict rather than cooperation. Cultural assets in particular have been exploited for political purposes and made the source of international rivalries in recent years, resulting in what media outlets have dubbed “culture wars”.

Some of these conflicts are grounded in the way past events are taught in schools and the lingering influence these lessons have on the mindsets of young people. Improvements in the way history is taught could play a vital role in promoting mutual understanding and peace among future generations.

These issues will be explored at the forum, “Promoting Intercultural Dialogue and a Culture of Peace in South-East Asia through Shared Histories”, to be held from 16 to 17 September at the UNESCO Bangkok Office.

The forum will enable historians, anthropologists and educational scientists from the sub-region and beyond to identify common intellectual ground for developing shared South-East Asian histories. The recommendations that result are expected to guide the development of a long-term project to produce materials for history education in South-East Asia that promote peace and mutual understanding.

The meeting is organized by UNESCO Bangkok in close co-operation with the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding under the auspices of UNESCO (APCEIU) and funded with the generous support of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF).

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History books, Can they be changed to reflect culture of peace instead of history of wars?

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This report was posted on September 30, 2013.