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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 – 5 July 2013

I have just returned from the first Canadian Plenary in Berlin where we approved a multi-year project that will identify effective approaches to teaching and learning about the Holocaust.  In addition, in line with Canada’s goal of raising awareness of IHRA and increasing membership, a number of special guests attended, including from Ukraine, Albania, Australia and South Africa.

Following the Plenary, I had an opportunity to meet with our Permanent Observers for discussions on how to better work together.  I’m grateful for all wonderful suggestions and I look forward to our further cooperation as partners in combating Holocaust denial and antisemitism. 

A few days later I was off to speak at the Annual General Meeting of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and was honoured to speak with the two amazing teachers, Kayla Dominelli  and Gerry Chidiac, recipients of the 2013 Kron Sigal Award.  Their strong commitment to teaching students about the Holocaust and its important lessons for humankind is truly remarkable.

By the end of the week I was travelling to Ukraine to attend the inaugural dinner of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Medal awarded to Jim Tamerty for his work in fostering Ukrainian-Jewish relations.  Mr. Tamerty was appointed by Minister Jason Kenney to the Canadian Advisory Council for the 2013 IHRA presidency.  The Canadian Parliament honoured Metropolitan Sheptytsky in 2012 for his courageous actions during World War II – he was responsible for saving over 160 Jews – as an example of enduring commitment to fundamental human rights.  I also met with Ukraine’s Minister of Culture, Dr. Leonid Novokhatko, regarding further cooperation between IHRA and Ukraine.

I returned to Canada via Paris, which gave me an opportunity to visit Mémorial de la Shoah and meet with officials at the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah,  Father Patrick Debois,  and France’s Head of Delegation, Ambassador Francois Zimeray.  To further enhance our relationship with our Permanent Observers, I met with the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.  We had a good discussion relating to the current program they have on the Holocaust and how to reach out to non-IHRA states. 

Upon my return to Canada I was the keynote speaker at a Canadian Society for Yad Vashem education conference in Toronto, “Then and Now,” which aims to enhance and strengthen the quality of Holocaust education across Canada.