Director-General of UNESCO pays tribute to laureates of Holocaust Essay Competition

Director-General of UNESCO pays tribute to laureates of Holocaust Essay Competition
  • © Simon Wiesenthal Centre

On 7 July 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, welcomed at the Organization’s Headquarters young Russian and Estonian laureates of the annual Holocaust Essay competition organized by the Russian Holocaust Foundation.

The ceremony took place in the presence of Mrs Beate Klarseld, Dr Ilya Altman, Director of the Russian Holocaust Foundation, and Dr Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesental Centre.

Noting that this ceremony coincided with the holding at Headquarters of the World Conference on Higher Education, the Director-General emphasized that it was crucial for UNESCO to promote awareness of the Holocaust through quality education at all levels, as specifically requested by Resolution 61 unanimously adopted by UNESCO’s 34th General Conference in October 2007.

“Our objective is to increase the dissemination and knowledge of Holocaust education pedagogies, teacher training and learning materials through action in our domains of competence”, said Mr Matsuura. “Since the adoption of resolution 61, UNESCO's work in this area has expanded through cooperative projects with, in particular, Yad Vashem, the Shoah Memorial of Paris, the French Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and the United Nations Holocaust Outreach Programme. We must bring together concerned stakeholders in the promotion of Holocaust education and remembrance and address all forms of racism discrimination, anti-Semitism and intolerance, which may contribute to the prevention of future genocides”, he added.

“UNESCO has come very far and very rapidly on the issues of memory, heritage and education related to the Holocaust. As shown with great talent by the laureates in their dissertations, one can use the historical events of the Holocaust to reflect on values such as mutual respect and cross cultural understanding. I am confident that UNESCO, including within the framework of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures in 2010, will continue to contribute to this important task and give utmost weight to the development of a culture of peace and intercultural understanding, by linking Holocaust education with human rights and quality education”, concluded the Director-General.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 136-2009
  • 09-07-2009
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