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

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New Post – 4 November 2013

Turkey is one of five IHRA Observer Countries and one of our most active.  Although I have been to Turkey before in another capacity, this was my first visit to Ankara and I was accompanied by our Executive Secretary, Dr. Kathrin Meyer.   I appreciated the high level program that was arranged by Turkey’s Head of Delegation to IHRA, Ambassador Ertan Tezgor.  The program included meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Education Council, the Minister of Education, and several members of Turkey’s expert IHRA delegation.

Following our visit to Ankara, Dr. Meyer and I travelled to Istanbul to attend an International Seminar on Holocaust Education, where I delivered the opening remarks.  The seminar was held at the Galatasaray University and was organized by the Aladdin Project with support from IHRA and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The seminar had excellent speakers and I congratulate the Aladdin Project for their work.

While in Istanbul I also spoke at the Holocaust Studies Program for Turkish Academics organized by Yad Vashem and the Aladdin Project with the support of IHRA.  I look forward to seeing further results from the next stages of this project. 

During our meetings, Ambassador Tezgor indicated Turkey’s interest in moving forward in the membership process and I indicated that Canada welcomes this initiative.  Full membership for Turkey will only strengthen IHRA’s work on Holocaust remembrance, research and education.

Following the seminar, I was off to Portugal.  Several high-level meetings were arranged for me, including with two Secretaries of State, Jose Cesario and Berta Cabral, as well as with the Deputy Speaker, Mota Amaral.  I also met with the Portuguese Head of Delegation to the IHRA, Ambassador Carlos Pais and with Ambassador Rui Macieira, Political Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

These meetings provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the relationship of IHRA with Portugal and hopefully help the government to advance toward full membership.  While in Lisbon, I also participated at a signing ceremony for a Protocol between le Mémorial de la Shoah and the Gulbenkian Foundation on Holocaust education, investigation, and memorialization.  The event included an education seminar with an excellent panel and I was honoured to give the closing remarks at such an important undertaking.