Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO celebrates the 9th Russian Holocaust Essay Competition Ceremony

“Youth are the symbol of energy and hope, an encouragement to raise the profile of Holocaust and genocide education across the world” says the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, marking the Ninth Edition of the Russian Holocaust Essay Contest, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the Association "Verbe et Lumiere" at UNESCO.

The Deputy Director-General, Mr. Engida Getachew met with four of the five laureates of the Ninth Edition of the Russian Holocaust Essay Contest, organised by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the Association "Verbe et Lumiere," in presence of Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr. Ilya Altman, Director of the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Centre, Mr. Richard Odier, President of the Association “Verbe et Lumière-Vigilance”, Ms. Alla Gerber, Member of Special Chamber and co-Chairman of the Russian Holocaust Centre, Mr. David Kessler, Cultural Counsellor to the President of France, and Fr. Norbert Hofmann, Secretary of the Vatican Commission for Relations with the Jews.

The Ceremony took place in the presence of Ms. Katalyn Bogyay, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Hungary to UNESCO and President of the GeneralConference of UNESCO, as well as Mr. Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, Mr. David Killion, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the United States to UNESCO, Mr. Michael Worbs, Ambassador Permanent Delegate of Germany to UNESCO, Mon. Francesco Follo, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO, Ms. Pascale Trimbach, Deputy Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO, and Mr. Alexander V. Boldyrev, Deputy Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO.
The Deputy Director-General underscored UNESCO’s leadership in the United Nations system on Holocaust Education, recalling its intrinsic linkage to the promotion of human rights, mutual understanding and the fight against all forms of intolerance and violent extremism. He recalled that UNESCO is working across the board to support Holocaust education, referring to the workshop held in September 2012, for Sub-Saharan Africa Member States in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by a seminar in May, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, exploring the best ways to address the history of the Holocaust and genocide in national contexts.

He noted UNESCO’s work to accompany states in introducing the subject into their curricula, such as Senegal, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guatemala, to name a few.He also referred to the partnership between UNESCO and the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr Adama Dieng.

UNESCO was also applauded for including the Pages of Testimony Collection, Yad Vashem Jerusalem, 1954-2004 as well as the Archives of the International Tracing Service on the Memory of the World Register this June.

The ceremony also featured presentations by the laureates of abstracts of their respective essays addressing specific dimensions of the Holocaust, from the media to youth during the Holocaust.