UNESCO Receives Wiesenthal Centre "Verbe et Lumière" Russian Holocaust Center Essay Winners

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UNESCO Receives Wiesenthal Centre "Verbe et Lumière"  Russian Holocaust Center Essay Winners

Paris, 4 June 2008

UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the 4th Annual Seminar of Laureates in the Russian Holocaust Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe, its affiliated French educational foundation "Verbe et Lumière – Vigilance" and the Russian Holocaust Centre of Moscow.

This year's contest received over 700 submissions from universities across the Russian Federation

In the speech, entitled "Applying the Lessons of the Holocaust" (text attached), the Director-General stated, "The lives of many people in this room were shaped by their personal experiences of the Holocaust. While others were affected less directly, we are all united by a determination that the atrocities committed during that dark moment of human history must never be repeated."

"Last November at our General Conference, UNESCO’s Member States unanimously adopted Resolution 61, requesting me to consult the Secretary-General of the United Nations regarding his outreach programme entitled 'the Holocaust and the United Nations' with a view to exploring, in consultation with Member States, what role UNESCO could play in promoting awareness of Holocaust remembrance through education and in combating all forms of Holocaust denial."

"(...) we are considering developing activities to mainstream Holocaust Education through textbooks, as well as training conferences of coordinators of our Associated Schools Project Network from all regions of the world."

He noted that "this morning’s exchange is therefore both timely and relevant. We must keep alive the memory of the Holocaust and use it as a rallying point for preventive action."

The five winners were:
- Igor Novikov of Moscow State Maimonides Academy, on "The Holocaust and the
Law: Theoretical aspects";
- Evgenia Kaminskaya of Novgorod State University, Law Faculty, on "Holocaust-Denial Legislation in Russian and European Jurisdiction";
- Darya Gryazeva of Herzen State Pedagogical University of St. Petersburg, on "Causes of Interethnic Conflicts and Ways to Overcome Them";
- Alexander Svetlichny of Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow, on "New Sources on Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust: The Case of Musya Pinkenzon";
- Elizaveta Pashkova of Moscow State University of Culture and Arts in Kaliningrad, on "My Letters to Anne Frank".

Their papers were debated by four students from the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris (AGSP) - Patrick Clairzier, Jennifer Wright, Irina Massovets and Anthoula Parianos - led by their Research Director, David Wingeate Pike.

The Russian Holocaust Centre was represented by its President (and only Jewish woman member of the Russian Duma), Alla Gerber, and its Director, Dr Ilya Altman.

Also present were the Baron David de Rothschild, President of the French Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, and Richard Odier of Verbe et Lumière-Vigilance.

The seminar was chaired by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.

Read the speech of Ban Ki-moon, UNESCO Director-General...


Russian Holocaust Center, American Graduate School of Paris and Simon Wiesenthal Centre officials and students with the UNESCO Director-General.

Russian Holocaust Essay Contest winners and American Graduate School of Paris students.
L-R: Dr Graciela Samuels (UNESCO), Baron David de Rothschild, Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, Dr Shimon Samuels.