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IHRA Handover Ceremony


BERLIN, 2 March 2017 - On 7 March 2017, Switzerland assumed the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The outgoing Chair Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu of Romania handed over the Chairmanship to Ambassador Benno Bättig of Switzerland. The handover ceremony, which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, took place at the Embassy of Switzerland in Berlin. The event was opened by Swiss Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Christine Schraner Burgener.

Following the speeches by Ambassador Constantinescu and Ambassador Bättig, the IHRA publication “Research in Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust. A Dialogue Beyond Borders” was presented by the Chair of IHRA’s Education Research Project, Prof. Monique Eckmann. The publication is the third in the IHRA series and focuses on educational research, seeking to carry the field of teaching and learning about the Holocaust beyond anecdotal reflections and moral arguments. Read Ambassador Bättig's speech

Among the key achievements of the Romanian Chairmanship in 2016 was the adoption of an IHRA working definition of antisemitism and a conference on refugee policies from the 1930s to the present-day, held together with the Holy See.

The Swiss Chairmanship has outlined a number of priorities for its chairmanship year, including education, youth and social media. Those priorities are meant to strengthen the efforts concerning “Teaching and learning about the Holocaust" through new media channels, frequently used by young people.

The handover ceremony was closed by a musical performance by Karsten Troyke and Daniel Weltlinger. After the event participants had the opportunity to view the photo exhibition “The Last Swiss Holocaust Survivors” by the Gameraal Foundation. 

Switzerland became a member of the IHRA in 2004. More information about Holocaust education, research and remembrance in Switzerland can be found on the IHRA website

The Swiss Chairmanship will host two IHRA Plenary meetings during the course of the year, in Geneva in June and in Bern in November.  An overview of the Swiss chairmanship priorities and media coverage of the chairmanship can be found on the website of the Swiss Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in English, French, Italian, and German.

A press release on the handover ceremony has been issued by the FDFA. 

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance unites governments and experts to strengthen and advance Holocaust education, remembrance and research worldwide and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration. 


Image: Swiss Embassy Berlin Berlin © EDA

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Laura Robertson

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