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London Plenary


IHRA Chair Sir Andrew Burns announces that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has reached a consensus on several important issues at the UK-chaired meeting in London.

“I am very pleased that the first IHRA Plenary meeting under British Chairmanship, held at the historic Lancaster House in London, lived up to the expectations of those looking to IHRA for ambitious leadership and moral authority in matters of Holocaust education, remembrance and research,” Burns said.  “Every Committee and Working Group engaged with matters of serious substance. Active networking amongst experts and between experts and policy-makers – a core feature of IHRA – meant that the Plenary debates between heads of government delegations on the final day were topical, relevant and action-oriented.”

The IHRA Plenary took decisions to adopt a new grant strategy for 2015-2018, to develop an outreach programme consisting of teacher training and IHRA conferences, and to expand the work of IHRA’s Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity.  Following its successful conference on the genocide of the Roma held on 11 May in cooperation with the Centre for Holocaust Education at IOE London, IHRA also approved a proposal to develop further research in this field.  The Plenary additionally agreed to further IHRA’s multi-year work plan projects focusing on archival access, education research, killing sites, and Holocaust Memorial Days, and to accept the International Tracing Service as IHRA’s seventh permanent international partner. 

IHRA is a consensus-based intergovernmental body comprised of experts from 31 member countries, five observer countries, and six permanent international partner organizations. Its mandate is to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research and to bring political and social leaders together to learn from the Holocaust for the benefit of citizens of member countries and the international public.

As IHRA Chair, the United Kingdom hosted the meetings from 12-15 May in London and several special events held in coordination with local community and government leaders.  The meetings brought together over 200 experts, academics, and policymakers from around the world, representing over 40 countries and international organizations.  Representatives from Albania, El Salvador, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Vatican also attended as special guests.

The United Kingdom was named IHRA Chair on 25 February 2014. The UK will chair IHRA until March 2015.  

The United Kingdom was one of the three founding members of IHRA and an original signatory of the Stockholm Declaration of 2000.  2014 marks the second time the United Kingdom has taken the Chairmanship of IHRA.   

The UK has long played a leading role internationally on Holocaust education, remembrance and research. In 1991 England was the first European country to make teaching about the Holocaust a mandatory part of the history curriculum in state secondary schools, whilst in 2009 it was the first country to undertake extensive national research into Holocaust teaching and learning.  Holocaust Memorial Day has been marked in the UK since 2001, having been inaugurated the previous year by the then Prime Minister. 

The UK has an extensive network of active and innovative organisations working in the field of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.  The UK is also proud to have a large number of Holocaust survivors and refugees from Nazi persecution who made Britain their home.    

The British government remains committed to the principles and objectives of the Stockholm Declaration.  Prime Minister David Cameron launched a new UK Holocaust Commission in January 2014.  The Commission, which will report its findings to the government by the end of the year, will advise the government on an appropriate permanent memorial and education resource on the Holocaust so that future generations can continue to learn its lessons.  Members of the Commission took the opportunity to consult with IHRA delegates during the London meetings.