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Mar 28

MAR 28

3:30 PM–8:00 PM


CIVIC EDUCATION IN THE US & FRANCE: Confronting Hatred and Threats to Democracy

3:30 PM–8:00 PM    Teachers College, Cowin Auditorium, 525 W. 120th St.


CIVIC EDUCATION IN THE US & FRANCE: Confronting Hatred and Threats to Democracy

The conference will explore the teaching of civic education in France and the United States within the larger context of citizenship, identity, and immigration. How do our schools--institutions charged with preparing students to be civic participants--confront racism, discrimination, antisemitism, and extremism? This conference will bring together educators from France and the U.S. to discuss how to improve civic education and better prepare our youth to be tolerant and engaged citizens, capable of safeguarding our democratic institutions against the dangers of hatred and racism. By comparing how our schools deal with hatred and threats to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic, new ideas and solutions can emerge.

3:30 PM-5:00 PM: Filmmaker Isabelle Wekstein-Steg will present “Les français, c'est les autres,” her inspiring and moving documentary about how immigrant-descended youth in a Paris banlieue feel about their identity, discrimination, and hatred. One of the teachers and students will also attend the conference. Moderated discussion at 4:30 pm.

OPENING REMARKS by HENRY M. LEVIN, Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Senior Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), and Board member of the African Diaspora Project. He is also past-president of the Comparative and International Education Society.

Panel 1, 5:15 PM-6:30 PMLegal scholars Patrick Weil (Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Historian at Université de Paris I and Founder of Libraries without Borders) and Michael Rebell (Executive Director of the Center for Educational Equity and Professor of Law and Practice at Teachers College and Columbia Law School) will address the long-term issues that make the teaching of civic education problematic in the US & France, and, as constitutional scholars, compare & propose remedies. Moderated by Martine Rubenstein, President of LICRA-US, former journalist at Le Figaro, and former European director of the Trilateral Commission.

Panel 2, 6:45 PM-8:00 PM: Teachers from two high schools in the Bronx & a Paris suburb, TC Alumna Mika Kinoshita and Samia Essabba (visiting with 10 of her students from Paris), will discuss their efforts to improve civic education in the classroom & report on the 2-day joint conversations held between their high school students on issues of identity, citizenship, and belonging. Samia Essabba will discuss how she, as a Muslim teacher, feels compelled to teach about the Holocaust to combat antisemitism in the Muslim community in France. French Education Attaché Fabrice Jaumont will discuss dual-language and heritage-language programs and issues of citizenship and belonging in both France and the US. Moderated by Historian Samuel E. Abrams, Director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and author of Education and the Commercial Mindset (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Co-sponsors: LICRA - US Branch (League Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme—France's oldest and most prestigious human rights organization), The Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, and The Vice President’s Office for Diversity & Community Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia.
Supporters: Columbia University's Alliance Partnership, European Institute, and Maison Française, and the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French)—NY Metropolitan Chapter


CIVIC EDUCATION IN THE US & FRANCE: Confronting Hatred and Threats to Democracy