Paris, 11 June— UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Rabbi Marvin Hier, today opened an exhibition on the history of the Jewish people in the Middle East, at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters.
Entitled People, Book, Land: The 3500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land, the exhibition presents an overview of Jewish life in the Middle East from Biblical times to the present through some 30 illustrated panels and texts. It was co-organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and sponsored by the Permanent Delegations to UNESCO of Canada, Israel, Montenegro and the United States of America.
“UNESCO is the first United Nations’ agency to host an exhibition on the links between the Jewish people and the Holy Land. In doing so the Organization is confirming its role as a universal platform for intellectual cooperation and intercultural dialogue,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at the opening event.
“We have waited a long time for this day,” said Rabbi Hier. “This is truly an historical occasion because it is the first time in the history of the United Nations, through its educational arm, UNESCO, that the UN have co-sponsored an exhibit.”
Some 300 guests attended the opening including Maurice Levy (CEO, Publicis); Baron Eric de Rothschild; Roger Cukierman (President, Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France); Rivka Zell (MidWest Chair of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Member of American Israel Public Affairs Committee in the US Congress); Ambassador Yossi Gal, (Israeli Ambassador to France).
The exhibition will remain open until 20 June.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization based in Los Angeles. Since its founding in 1977, the Centre has drawn on the lessons of the Holocaust and applied them to the analysis of contemporary issues relating to intolerance. The Centre is an official UNESCO NGO partner and is accredited with several other international organizations including the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Organization of American States (OAS), Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO) and the Council of Europe.