The IHRA currently has 31 member countries, two liaison countries and 9 observer countries. The national government of each country forms a delegation, generally consisting of leading educators, academics and representatives of museums and memorials. Many delegates also have specific areas of expertise, for example the genocide of the Roma; antisemitism and Holocaust denial; and other genocides and crimes against humanity.
The Chairmanship of the IHRA is held each year by a different member country on a voluntary basis. The Chairmanship hosts the IHRA plenary meetings up to twice a year in its country. The Plenary is the official decision-making body of the IHRA, consisting of the Head of Delegation from each IHRA member country, and responsible for adopting recommendations and decisions made by IHRA experts.
These experts meet in specialist Working Groups and Committees in the days leading up to Plenary Session, and work together remotely on multinational projects throughout the rest of the year. The unique composition of the IHRA means it is uniquely placed to take the lead on issues related to Holocaust education, research and remembrance in the international political arena.
Working Groups and Committees
The IHRA’s network of delegates is divided into four Working Groups. The Academic, Education, and Memorials and Museums Working Groups are each tasked with following developments in their respective sectors, identifying priority areas and making recommendations to the IHRA Plenary regarding how the IHRA can most effectively make an impact. The Communication Working Group is dedicated to ensuring that IHRA’s output reaches its target groups of policymakers, educational practitioners, representatives of museums and memorials and scholars.
In addition to their core affiliation to these Working Groups, delegates also bring their expertise to IHRA’s specialized Committees. The Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial and the Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity are issue-focused standing committees that bring together experts from a range of different professional backgrounds and countries to recommend multidisciplinary solutions to persistent challenges.
Other, more temporary IHRA Committees form to coordinate specific IHRA initiatives, such as the “Seeking Protection” blog or the multi-year research project examining teaching and learning about the Holocaust.
On 6 March, Italy assumed the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The IHRA Chair is Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin. Born in Venice in 1949, Ambassador De Bernardin was a career diplomat from 1973-2014. He has served in Kinshasa, Paris, and Ottawa and was Ambassador to Israel from 2004-2008. From 2008 - 2010 he was Deputy Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was Director General for Political and Security Affairs from 2011-2014. A biography and photo of Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin are available in the IHRA Press Kit.
Honorary Chairman and Advisor to the IHRA
The IHRA has an Honorary Chairman, Professor Yehuda Bauer, and an Advisor to the IHRA, Dr Wichert ten Have. The Honorary Chairman and the Advisor to the IHRA are available to consultant with and guide the IHRA Chair, Executive Secretary and working group members on key content issues. Biographies and photos of Professor Yehuda Bauer and Professor Wichert ten Have are available in the IHRA Press Kit.