“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
Ambassador Karel de Beer, ITF Chair, is starting a new blog to share the work and activities of the Chairmanship. To read his first post, please click below.
Ambassador Karel de Beer's Blog
Netherlands Chairmanship 2011
25 March 2011
After taking office on March 8 in Berlin, I travelled to Buenos Aires to meet the Argentinean ITF colleagues there.
As in most of the other countries I visited, I met with the Head of Delegation, other delegates, experts, and - in this case - also with the Jewish community.
The Argentinean Government takes the implementation of its ITF membership very seriously. My colleague Ambassador Dorosetz, Head of Delegation, convenes meetings of the ITF delegation every month. Some years ago, the Minister of Education introduced a new curriculum on Holocaust education. The subject of the Holocaust is alive in Argentina and that was clear in all my discussions.
What I noticed here, as well as in many other countries, is that a country's recent history plays an important role in how one perceives the role of the ITF. In Argentina the military dictatorship of the seventies was mentioned regularly and the work of the ITF functions as an "opening" in discussions on their national history. The project with young military cadets implemented by the Anne Frank House in Buenos Aires is illustrative of this.
Notwithstanding the dedication of the Argentineans, a number of challenges remain, like the implementation of the government's education policy and the efforts to counter antisemitism. The briefing from the ITF Ambassador convinced me that Argentina sets an example in taking the membership of the ITF seriously.
Understandingly, it was too early for Argentinean comments on my White Paper. However, Deputy Minister d 'Alotto - whom I met in the afternoon - was very pleased that the White Paper included the Review Proposals that the Argentine delegation (among others) had proposed in Haifa.
Last week, I contacted a number of international organizations to inform them about my intention to improve and intensify cooperation with partner organizations. I have invited them for an exchange of views in June in Amsterdam. To facilitate this discussion the PO will make an inventory of the activities and areas of the organizations that are closely related to the ITF. To this end I have asked the international organizations to provide some input for this inventory.