Berlin Plenary


A major international project on Holocaust education was approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) at this year’s first plenary session, announced Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. The meetings, held at the Embassy of Canada in Berlin, were led by Canadian Chair Dr. Mario Silva from June 11 to 14, 2013.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten,” said Minister Kenney. “It is essential that the international community work together to advance Holocaust education, remembrance, and research to help combat anti-Semitism and prevent future acts of genocide. Canadians are proud to lead such efforts, in the international arena, over the next year.”

The approved multi-year project will identify effective approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust. Other key decisions included approval for IHRA experts to report annually with recommendations on current issues related to antisemitism and the Roma genocide. Important discussions also took place on defining Holocaust denial and trivialization, candidacies for IHRA membership and future directions for the IHRA grant program.

To advance Canada’s goal of raising awareness of IHRA and increasing membership, a number of special guests attended, including from Ukraine, Albania, Australia and South Africa. The meetings involved expert discussions on other elements of the IHRA multi-year work plan to:

  • Advance research into Holocaust killing sites that lie outside of the major death camps;
  • Improve access to Holocaust-era archival records; and
  • Implement best practices in organized Holocaust Memorial Days.

Special sessions were also held on:

  • Combating antisemitism;
  • Improving the efficiency of IHRA expert working groups; and
  • Increasing cooperation with key international partners -- the United Nations, UNESCO, Council of Europe, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Jewish Conference on Material Claims against Germany.

“IHRA member states are committed to using Holocaust remembrance to fight against antisemitism and all forms of hatred, intolerance and discrimination,” said Dr. Silva.  “This was evident in Berlin, which makes me optimistic about our ability to collectively tackle these challenges.”

Canada became a member of IHRA in 2009 and was appointed Chair in March 2013 until March 2014. The second plenary session will take place in Toronto in October 2013.

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Click here for CIC’s press release.