On 8 October, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, inaugurated the UNESCO Chair at the Camp des Milles, in Aix-en-Provence (France), entitled "Education for Citizenship, Human Sciences and Shared Memories", in the Presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, the Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira.
"The will that drives us all is the same, we must teach and transmit, ignore nothing to be able to be and feel responsible," said President François Hollande, emphasizing the global historical approach to the site dedicated to the prevention of genocide.
Welcoming the establishment of the UNESCO Chair, the President said: "I want to make this a national site for training and citizenship through memory. These places are intended to present the memory of all citizens, to unite us not divide us."
The Director-General congratulated the Chairman and Founder of the Foundation Camp des Milles, Alain Chouraqui, for the creation of this new Chair.
"The effort of memory and education of this Chair is at the heart of UNESCO's work to convey the history of the Holocaust, as pillars of the fight against all forms of racism and anti-Semitism," said Ms Bokova. “Transmitting history is not turned to the past - it is an effort to warn the living, help everyone recognize the mechanisms of hatred and he warning signs of violence and discrimination."
This new Chair will strengthen a network of over 250 UNESCO institutions dedicated to scientific research and international solidarity.
It is the fourth Chair specialized in teaching the history of the Holocaust, citizenship and the prevention of genocide, with the Chairs of Krakow in Poland, of Rutgers University of New Jersey in the United States, and the University of Southern California. This network constitutes the framework of an international effort for education for global citizenship.
During the event, the Director-General commended France for its efforts to protect cultural diversity in the Middle East, for the protection of heritage, and its work conducted in the country to combat racism and anti-semitism.
"The force of weapons alone will not defeat this fanaticism - we must also win the battle of ideas, and respond with more culture, more education," said the Director-General.
"Peace, to be sustainable, must be based on dialogue, on the sharing of cultures that allows mutual understanding. This new Chair embodies this vision, it resonates at the heart of UNESCO's mandate and inspires us to continue," she concluded.