Bulgaria

Flower blooms in Bulgaria

A flower blooms in the shadow of a pot just outside of the 2021 TOLI Seminar in Bulgaria.

TOLI has organized Holocaust and human rights education seminars for teachers in Bulgaria since 2015, in partnership with the American University in Bulgaria, the Shalom Organization, the Central Israelite Religous Council of Bulgaria, and the Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance.

Each year between 35 and 45 teachers from across the country have the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned lecturers, to interact with survivors, and to think creatively and collaboratively about how to teach the Holocaust and social justice. The seminar includes interactive workshops focused on identity, stereotypes and prejudice, intercultural relations, and human rights as well as lectures about antisemitism, Nazi propaganda, the Holocaust in Europe, and the fate of the Jews in Bulgaria and Bulgarian-administered territories. A visit to the Sofia Synagogue and a kosher dinner offer insight into Jewish life and traditions, while the last day of the seminar is dedicated to teaching methods and to developing an action plan for putting the lessons of the seminar into practice.

The seminar aims to increase the quality of Holocaust and human rights education in Bulgaria. The program provides a rich opportunity to integrate national and international approaches in teaching about these topics and to understand the contemporary relevance of this important part of modern history. The methodology of the seminar is learner-centered, based on the principles of experiential learning and a human rights-based approach to education. Two teachers from the first cohort in Bulgaria were selected to work as co-facilitators of the seminar. They attended the TOLI seminar in New York City in June 2016 and were further prepared to contribute to organizing and facilitating the program upon their return to Bulgaria.

The objectives of the seminar are to:

  • Develop participants’ awareness of historical and current dialectical discussions concerning the Holocaust and other instances of social injustice
  • Develop teachers’ understanding of the impact of stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination at the individual, group, and society level
  • Deepen teachers’ understanding of Jewish life before and after the Holocaust
  • Increase appreciation for innovative, student- centered teaching methods, including extra- curricular activities and partnerships between schools and other institutions and organizations
  • Promote an interdisciplinary approach to Holocaust and human rights education

Mini-Grants

Graduates of the seminar have the opportunity to apply for a mini-grant to support a project related to Holocaust education and social justice. The grant consists of financial support and continuous mentorship throughout the school year. Every year, about 15 educators from Bulgaria use a mini-grant to implement local projects with their students.

Contact

For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact info@tolinstitute.org

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)