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Chair's Blog


Learn more about the activities of IHRA Chair Dr. Mario Silva in his latest blog post below.

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New Post – 1 October 2013

I started my European journey in London and had a good opportunity to discuss IHRA’s upcoming agenda and priorities with the incoming UK Chair, Sir Andrew Burns.  Following my visit to the UK, I went to Geneva and later held meetings at the Permanent Office in Berlin. 

Shortly afterwards I was in Tallinn and had an opportunity to meet with the Minister of Culture for Estonia, Estonia’s Head of Delegation to IHRA, Ambassador Malle Talvet-Mustonen, and members of the Estonian delegation.  I also took part in a panel discussion along with the US Head of Delegation, Douglas Davidson, on “Lessons of the Holocaust: from Klooga and around the World” organized by the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.  Estonia should be congratulated for opening a new outdoor exhibition at the Klooga Holocaust Memorial Site.

Next I went to Belgrade and met with members of the Serbian delegation to IHRA organized by the Serbia Head of Delegation, Ambassador Sladjana Prica, at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  While in Belgrade I also had the opportunity to meet with members of the Jewish community.

From 20-22 September, I participated in the IV World Litvak Congress, which brought together many Holocaust survivors and their descendants to Lithuania.  During this occasion I had the chance to meet with the Lithuanian Head of Delegation, Neris Germanas, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is a busy time for the Lithuanian government given that they hold the EU Presidency. 

My next journey was to Ljubljana to meet with Slovenian Head of Delegation Eva Tomic and the Slovenian IHRA delegation.  I also had a good meeting with Ambassador Dragoljuba Bencina, Director General for Global Issues and Multilateral Political Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I then traveled to Bratislava for a meeting with the Slovakian Head of Delegation, Ambassador Peter Holasek, who also arranged a meeting with the Minister of Education.  We also met with the Jewish Museum and the Slovakian delegation.

The following day, I went to Bucharest and held several high-level meetings with the Minister of Education and the Minister of Culture as well as the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.  Prof. Dr. Michael Shafir and Felicia Waldman, Romania’s Head and Deputy Head of Delegation, provided me with the opportunity to see parts of the Jewish Bucharest (Unirii area).  I also visited several institutions, including participating in a class that teaches the Holocaust at Benjamin Franklin High School and visiting the Elie Wiesel National Institute.

I next went to Kiev to participate in the ceremony for the commemoration of Babi Yar.  The event was organized by local NGOs.  It is always emotional when attending a ceremony with survivors and eyewitnesses at a site with such a terrible history.

Tomorrow I will be a keynote speaker at the conference “Jewish Life and Antisemitism in Budapest” organized by the Tom Lantos Institute.  I will end my journey in Copenhagen, where the Queen and Prime Minister will attend a ceremony at the Royal Theatre Ceremony for the “1943 Conference: Reaction to Holocaust.”  

I am very much looking forward to returning home and welcoming IHRA delegates to the Toronto Plenary from 6-10 October.