print this page

UK and Canada Mark Chairmanship Handover in Greece


The British Ambassador John Kittmer and the Canadian Ambassador Robert Peck co-hosted an event at the British Residence in Athens.

Following Canada'’s active and dedicated leadership, the UK assumed the annual Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on 25 February. The handover between Dr Mario Silva (Canada) and Sir Andrew Burns (UK) was officially carried out at a ceremony in Berlin.

On 26 March 2014, the British Ambassador, John Kittmer, and the Canadian Ambassador, Robert Peck, co-hosted an event at the British Residence, in the presence of representatives of the Jewish community, the Greek State, the diplomatic corps, academics and the media, to mark the handover and draw attention to the work of Holocaust remembrance in Greece. In their short addresses the two Ambassadors looked back at the achievements of the Canadian Chairmanship and outlined the priorities for the British leadership.

The British Ambassador John Kittmer said: ”Here in Greece, I hope that the UK Chairmanship can be a focus of inspiration and support to efforts by the Greek people in general and the Jewish Communities of Greece in particular to continue to understand and commemorate the terrible reality and legacy of the Holocaust in this nation, where so many had their lives so terribly wrenched from them.”

The Canadian Ambassador Robert Peck added: “”As a legacy of Canada'’s Chairmanship of the IHRA, I am proud to have collaborated with the Jewish Museum of Greece, the Jewish Community of Ioannina, the Municipality of Ioannina and the New Media Lab of the Stavros Niarchos Chair of Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver for the development of an iPhone app entitled Ioannina'’s Jewish Legacy: Yesterday and Today. This app will bring the history and tragedy of Ioannina’'s Jewish Community to Greece and the world as well as serve as a tool to promote they city’'s history as an important tourist destination.”

During the event the documentary ’No place on earth’ by Janet Tobias was screened. The film describes the story of the longest uninterrupted underground survival in recorded human history, with five Jewish families spending nearly a year and a half in pitch-black caves to escape the Nazis in southwestern Ukraine.

On 28-29 March the British and Canadian Ambassadors also joined other members of the diplomatic corps in attending the commemorative events at Ioannina to mark the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jewish community of Ioannina. In the framework of these events the British and Canadian Embassies have co-sponsored two photography exhibitions.