On 24 April 2015 Szabolcs Takács, Ministerial Commissioner of the Prime Minister’s Office and 2015 Chairman of the IHRA received Ambassadors of the IHRA’s 31 member states and 8 observer states to mark the start of Hungary’s Chairmanship of the organisation and introduces the Hungarian Chairmanship programme.
In his presentation Mr. Takács recalled that Hungary is now chairing IHRA for the second time since the establishment of the organisation in 2000. He emphasized that this also reflects Hungary’s commitment to combating Antisemitism and xenophobia.
The Ministerial Commissioner gave a detailed overview of the programme of the Hungarian Chairmanship for 2015 explaining that the main focus will be on tackling Antisemitism, promoting Holocaust education, the issue of the Roma genocide and increasing the visibility and importance of the organisation.
Mr. Takács stressed that throughout its Chairmanship Hungary will attach great importance to cooperation with other members of the Troika, Great Britain and Romania.
He pointed out that during the Hungarian Chairmanship three large international conferences will be organised on Holocaust-related imagery and language in public discourse; on the Phenomenon of Rising Antisemitism in Western and Central-Eastern Europe; and on the Genocide of the Roma with special focus on the current situation of the Roma in Europe. Hungary will host the two plenary meetings of the IHRA during its Chairmanship: on 8-11 June in Budapest and on 2-5 November in Debrecen.
One of the reasons for choosing the city of Debrecen as the venue of the second plenary was to make the development and visibility of Jewish community and religious life also in Hungarian rural cities more apparent.
Debrecen is also an example of the synagogue renovation programme of the Hungarian Government, Mr. Takács said, adding that another important government initiative is the launch of the Jewish cemetery renovation programme. This initiative will be implemented with the participation of Jewish organisations and the local municipalities and communities, during the course of which an important aspect will be the involvement of students with the aim of raising awareness of the events that happened during the Shoah in their local municipalities.