From 27-28 May the IHRA Chair, Szbolcs Takacs, and the IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr Kathrin Meyer, carried out a visit to Kiev, Ukraine.
Ukraine was one of the original participants of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in the year 2000 when then-Prime Minister Victor Yuschenko attended. IHRA has tried to stay in close contact with Ukraine since the Forum and has made a number of outreach visits to the country over the last 15 years.
IHRA would like to welcome Ukraine as an observer country to the Alliance and it is hoped that the current visit can encourage closer cooperation.
During the visit a roundtable took place entitled "The education of Holocaust remembrance: new approaches" at the Kijevo-Mogiljanska Academy where the opening speech was given by Mr. Takács. In Kiev the IHRA Chair had the opportunity to meet Mr. Andriy Vitrenko, Deputy Minister of Culture, responsible for European Integration, and Mr. Likhovyi, First Deputy Minister of Culture as well as some representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The IHRA delegation also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Iosif Zitsels, President of the Congress of Minorities of Ukraine, and Mr. Anatoliy Podolskiy, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies- an institute which has received IHRA funding over the years- and Anna Lenchovska, USC Shoah Foundation’s international consultant in Ukraine. During the meetings the IHRA Chair emphasized how much importance IHRA gives to the cooperation between governments and NGOs and encouraged Ukraine to strengthen these relationships.
Ukraine has openly and frequently expressed its readiness to focus on Holocaust research, remembrance and research and to work to preserve the memory of the past. IHRA hopes that observer status would allow IHRA to support Ukraine in these efforts, both with funding and with academic and educational support.