Alexander Boroda: "UNESCO chose our Tolerance Center to help migrants adapt in Europe"
The Days of Tolerance have been celebrated in the world for over 20 years. Tolerace means a system of humanistic principles that should define relations between ethnic groups, religions and groups of people. It is especially important for multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Russia. Leaders of religious communities play an important role here, particularly the Jewish community. According to the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, "today, Russia has a complete understanding between the leaders of different religions and common parishioners of synagogues and mosques. We are proud that there is a friendship with Islamic leaders, muftis. We have complete understanding – any issue is discussed, and there are even projects that we carry out together."
The Director General of the Jewish Museum, the Tolerance Center and the Federal Scientific and Methodological Center of the Psychology and Pedagogy of Tolerance, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Alexander Boroda, told Vestnik Kavkaza about what educational projects in the field of education of tolerance will be implemented in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus.
- What can you tell about today's work of the Jewish community in the North Caucasus in the framework of its tolerance program?
- We will also hold events in the North Caucasus in the framework of the Days of Tolerance in Russia. We have prepared programs for all schools of Russia and particularly the North Caucasus in cooperation with the National Affairs Agency. We are in the process of negotiating with the departments, the ministries of education of the North Caucasian republics, discussing the creation of special tolerance programs for this region.
I believe that increasing the level of tolerance in the North Caucasus will require a lot of time and effort. The leaders of the North Caucasian republics understand this subject correctly, what they lack is, perhaps, an educational resource, or our support in the creation of the warm atmosphere that existed in the days of the Soviet Union in the North Caucasus, in the Caucasus and other national republics in general. Of course many things have changed in the republics of the former Soviet Union and Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. So we think that it is very important to teach about tolerance, especially in the North Caucasus.
Alexander Boroda also said that the Tolerance Centre was opened together with the Jewish Museum in November of 2013. It was necessary, considering the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional nature of Russia, the social problems and the Soviet legacy. "It's not just national and religious tolerance, it is also various social aspects, tolerance towards people with disabilities, physically inactive population groups, and so many other aspects of tolerance, associated with the social environment, the educational environment, various youth groups. We created a new interactive form of teaching various aspects of tolerance, we formed interactive content, created various tolerance lessons on its basis, they passed certification," Boroda stated. According to him, this center cooperates with the Moscow Educational Department and the Ministry of Education of Russia in order to hold lessons and create textbooks for schools. "We try to look at our task more broadly, we try to work not only with young people and students, but also with different youth groups, movements of sports fans, preparing certain programs for them," he said.
He called the cooperation with UNESCO a breakthrough in the Center's work. "UNESCO Director General Irina Georgievna Bokova came to our Tolerance Centre. We have signed a framework cooperation agreement, initiated programs on various aspects of tolerance and intolerance. Two weeks ago UNESCO hosted a conference on the issues of adaptation of migrants, and the organization chose our Center to prepare programs on the adaptation of migrants in Europe. And not only in Europe. We will prepare programs for lessons on tolerance in six languages for 10 thousand schools of the world associated with UNESCO, located in 181 countries. It is certainly a very important beginning of our fruitful work with UNESCO, it is an assessment of our way and approach to teaching tolerance," he noted.
He is sure that the fact that the Tolerance Center was chosen as UNESCO's partner in teaching the basics of tolerance for migrants is associated with Russia's experience in their adaptation. "The Russian representative to UNESCO, Eleanor Mitrofanova, stated that Russia is the second country in the world in terms of the number of constantly arriving migrants. There is no social tension, no social unrest, no open negativity towards migrants. There are, perhaps, certain problems, on which we are actively working. It shows the country pays attention to the process of the integration of migrants into the existing cultural and social environment. We also make a contribution to this work," he stressed.