Table Topics “Educational ‘Aid’ during the Cold War”
The table Educational ‘Aid’ during the Cold War, hosted by Corinne Geering (Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen) and Constantin Katsakioris (Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies) will discuss the “world educational revolution” and how questions of education and culture were used for political purposes.
Corinne Geering says that in the decades following WWII, the internationalisation of educational and cultural policy reflected the will for common action just as it was characterised by conflict. As one of the major players in this field, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committed itself to granting access to education for everyone, diminishing illiteracy, and providing books and information worldwide. During the Cold War, this led to disputes over the question of what knowledge should be accessible to whom and where such access is provided by whom and how. What stance did Socialist countries take on these questions? Where did East and West disagree? And ultimately, how were education and culture used as tools for geopolitics?
The first three decades after World War II are, according to sociologists of education, the period of the “world educational revolution”, states Constantin Katsakioris. The Global Cold War, he argues, played a significant role in the expansion of education. Without the Cold War, for instance, the educational aid of the Soviet Union and of the other communist countries towards the Third World would not have existed. The training of thousands of African, Asian and Latin American students in Soviet universities is one of the most fascinating chapters of the world educational revolution, says Constantin. The table Educational ‘Aid’ during the Cold War is going to discuss its origins, evolution, and its impact on a number of postcolonial countries. It will also inquire on the students’ political and cultural activities, experiences, and trajectories.