print this page

Mémorial de la Shoah and USHMM Convene International Symposium on Genocide Prevention


The Mémorial de la Shoah in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will convene an international symposium to assess governments' current capacities to effectively respond to genocide and mass atrocities and to recommend strategies to enhance international cooperation.

The symposium, attended by leading genocide prevention and human rights officials and experts from around the world, will consist of focused panels examining core issues in genocide prevention, including the latest policy initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic, current threats of mass atrocities, and prospects for greater international cooperation. It will take place at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris on November 15, 2010.

The meeting is being held under the patronage of Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France, who will deliver the closing keynote address. Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, will deliver the opening address.

"Never before have two Holocaust memorials convened a symposium of this magnitude that will highlight to governments worldwide the importance of genocide prevention," said U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. "The systematic murder of six million Jews began after eight years of Nazi rule and escalating persecution. The Holocaust was not inevitable and neither is genocide today. We are proud to be working with our French partners to bring together many of the world's leading experts on this critical topic."

"The Mémorial de la Shoah is pleased to join with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in organizing exceptional symposium on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities," said Mémorial de la Shoah Director Jacques Fredj. "Our two institutions, in their respective countries, have led an indefatigable effort both in researching and transmitting the history of the Holocaust. Because other genocides have taken place in the world since the Holocaust, we are working to ensure that the knowledge of one of the most singular crimes in the history of Europe teaches us lessons for the present and future.  The international perspectives represented during the symposium and the high-level participants will make clear, I hope the need for urgent action to prevent genocide and mass atrocities."


Among the speakers are the senior human rights and mass atrocities prevention government officials from Europe and the U.S. They include Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes; Francois Zimeray, French Human Rights Ambassador; Markus Löning, German Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid; and Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland.

In addition, a number of experts will gather to discuss current threats of mass atrocities.  They include Francis Deng, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Salih Mahmoud Osman, Sudanese lawyer and human rights advocate; Louise Arbour, President of the International Crisis Group; and Michael Abramowitz, Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's genocide prevention program; and Piero Fassino, European Union Special Envoy for Burma/Myanmar.

The symposium is inspired in part by the Genocide Prevention Task Force convened by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. Institute of Peace and The American Academy of Diplomacy. One of the recommendations in the Task Force's final report, Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers, issued in December 2008, included increasing international cooperation on genocide prevention.

The gathering is being held in cooperation with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, the Institute of High Studies on Justice in Paris and the United Nations Regional Information Center in Brussels.

The Shoah* Memorial, which was opened to the public on January 27, 2005, is the largest research, information and awarenessraising centre in Europe on the unprecedented history of thegenocide of the Jews during the Second World War. This museum, documentation centre and place of remembrance, offers an exceptional set of documents and numerous activities inorder to contribute to a better understanding of this period in history.

(*Hebrew word for "catastrophe.")


A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum's permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit .

Lieu / Location:

Auditorium Edmond J. Safra

Mémorial de la Shoah

17, rue Geoffroy-l'Asnier

75004 Paris, France