Author: Elizabeth A. Cole
Year: 2017
Full Citation: Cole, E. A. (2017). No legacy for transitional justice efforts without education: Education as an outreach partner for transitional justice. (Studies on Education and Transitional Justice). International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).
Resource Type:
Overview: This paper explores a third, quite broad area of interaction between transitional justice and education—what is known in the transitional justice field as "outreach". Given the complex challenges that transitional justice faces as a politically difficult process, practitioners must be aware of the limit to which education, especially formal education, can be a collaborator in transitional justice processes. They cannot afford to understand education merely as a tool, nor should their hopes for education as a solution to many of transitional justice’s outreach challenges be unrealistically high. Education as a field has a distinct normative value and a social function that places it on par with, not subordinate to, transitional justice and similar projects to promote justice and human rights. It also faces constant challenges and limitations, particularly in many of the often resource-poor contexts where transitional justice works today. Only by recognizing these limitations can transitional justice assess and share the power of education for the goals it aims to achieve (p. 1).
  • In Sierra Leone, a Revolutionary Focus on Children and Tentative Engagement with the Education Sector
  • Transitional Justice Experts in the Education Space
  • Engaging with Teachers and Transforming Pedagogy
  • Creation of Materials for Teaching and Learning
  • Engaging Students and Young People in Truth and Memory: Justice Projects Inside and Outside the Formal Education System, via Schools and Civil Society
  • Development of Extracurricular Sites of Learning
Findings: It is apparent that the creation of parallel institutions, museums, sites of conscience, and education-focused nongovernmental organizations may offer the most longevity for outreach. It is critical that museums and sites of conscience have strong education programs for teachers, students, and the public and that they are able to interact with the school system, including, if possible, teacher-education programs. These sites have the added value of being sites of learning for different social groups, not just students. They can offer a wide array of activities: internships, competitions, student exhibitions and curatorship projects, activities for parents or grandparents and children, films, performances, and clubs. They can also have a virtual presence through their websites, which enable them to reach beyond live audiences for their work. Transitional justice institutions themselves, such as Liberia’s truth commission and both the ICTY and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have been developing their own legacy plans—Liberia’s truth commission for an enduring, interactive web presence (in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology) and the ICTY and ICTR for archives (p. 21).

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