Routes of Education: The impact of UNESCO’s reeducation initiative

Routes of Education: The impact of UNESCO’s reeducation initiative

Aigul Kulnazarova & Poul Duedahl

This sub-project seeks to analyze the impact of UNESCO’s initiative on reeducation – with special regard to the people of Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1947-48, UNESCO contacted the Allied authorities in order to promote UNESCO’s work in the two countries, due to their role as defeated aggressors. The United States had an obvious interest in the organization’s mental engineering, with the underlying agenda of having UNESCO to promote democracy as opposed to the former fascist and militarist regimes in the defeated countries.

UNESCO offices opened in both countries in 1949, and soon after Japan and West Germany had become members of UNESCO in 1951, a number of other UNESCO institutions were founded – in Japan, the most noteworthy example was the establishment of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations, and in West Germany three specialized UNESCO institutes. In both countries, the new institutions paid special attention to changing the attitudes and general conceptions of the youth, and in both cases, this was done through close co-operation with local and national youth organizations and by spreading knowledge on human rights and mutual understanding.

The shared destinies of Japan and West Germany – both suffering in the wake of the war, both seeing the rise of international organizations as a chance to reconstruct the country as a peace-loving nation, and both establishing and developing a number of highly popular UNESCO institutions and associations – make it fruitful to conduct a comparative analysis of UNESCO’s implementation of its policies there, also to get a glimpse of where the countries’ re-entrance on the international scene differed from one another.

The sub-project aims to achieve its objectives by conducting archival research first and foremost at the national archives in Germany and Japan, whereas the archives of the other selected member states will only be used peripherally to study whether the initiative was of symbolic significance in those countries.

Contact

Contact

Research Coordinator Poul Duedahl

Kroghstraede 1, 9220 Aalborg O, Denmark

Phone: +45 9940 9141
Email: duedahl@cgs.aau.dk