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Roundtable Discussions

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme organizes a series of interactive roundtable discussions designed to promote awareness of the lessons of the Holocaust and their implications for combating genocide today.  By examining best practices to fight hatred, racism and Holocaust denial, the discussions aimed to mobilize civil society and the international community to help prevent mass violence. 


Interactive Panel Discussion "Saving Succeeding Generations"
(26 June 2008)

webcast Archived video [2 hours and 2 minutes]

The Outreach Division’s Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has collaborated with the United Nations University to organize a two-part series of discussion panels on genocide prevention.

The first briefing, organized by UNU, featured Dr. David Hamburg’s latest book “Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps toward Early Detection and Effective Action", held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on 12 June 2008 in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium.  Other speakers included Robert Orr and Francis Deng. 

“Saving succeeding generations” briefingThe second briefing, an interactive panel discussion, was organized on the theme “Saving Succeeding Generations” on 26 June 2008 in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters. 

This briefing coincides with the sixty-third anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter, which emphasizes the linkage between the goals and values of the Organization and its mandated activities in the areas of Holocaust remembrance and genocide prevention.

Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public InformationFollowing the opening remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka, Jean-Marc Coicaud, Head of the United Nations University’s Office in New York, was invited to share the outcomes of the first briefing held on 12 June 2008 on the theme "Can genocide be prevented?"

The briefing was moderated by Eric Falt, Director of the Outreach Division, and featured six panelists. The keynote address was delivered by Edward C. Luck, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General, who addressed the State’s responsibility to protect its citizens and the role of the international community to prevent mass atrocities.  Robert Rozett, Director of Libraries Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, presented cases of rescue during the Holocaust, emphasizing our moral responsibility towards others.  Joseph Rubagumya, a recent graduate from the School of International Public Affairs at Columbia University, shared his family's experience during the genocide in Rwanda and the impact it had on youth.  

From left to right: Jean-Marc Coicaud, Robert Rozett, Joseph Rubagumya, Daphna Shraga, Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Lawrence Swiader, Edward C. Luck, Eric Falt From left to right: Jean-Marc Coicaud, Robert Rozett, Joseph Rubagumya, Daphna Shraga, Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Lawrence Swiader, Edward C. Luck, Eric Falt

Daphna Shraga, Principal Legal Officer in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, explained the role of international courts in preventing and punishing genocide, crimes against humanity and mass atrocities.  Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Project Director at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)’s Committee on Conscience, and Lawrence Swiader, Chief Information Officer at USHMM outlined useful technologies and demonstrated the Google Earth Satellite Imagery used in their campaign against mass violence.

The briefing concluded with a question and answer session, engaging the audience in a discussion on our individual and collective responsibility to protect those threatened by genocide and other crimes against humanity.

UN Chronicle Article: Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Prevention, ‘UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights Remain Guiding Principles’

Press release: Panel discussion on civil society’s role in support of genocide prevention, on 63rd anniversary of signing of the UN Charter


Seminar "From Kristallnacht to Today:
How do we Combat Hatred?"
(8 November 2007)

webcast Archived video [2 hours and 14 minutes]

Theary C. Seng, Executive-Director of the Center for Social Justice, Camobida speaks to the audienceThe Holocaust and the United Nations outreach programme organized a seminar in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters on 8 November 2007. The panel featured speakers from civil society who shared best practices for overcoming hatred, prejudice and intolerance in society.  The speakers presented strategies to confront racist ideologies and fight hatred on the internet, the responsibility of Governments to protect human rights, the role of regional and local actors and the role NGOs have to play at the grassroots level.

Dr. Edward Kissi answers a question from the audienceDr. Francis Deng, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, delivered an opening message on how hatred can lead to acts of mass violence.  Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, moderated the discussion. 

The panelists included: Federico Villegas Beltran, Director-General of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Argentina; Christer Mattsson, The Living History Forum, Levande Historia, Sweden; Mark Weitzman, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, New York; Theary C. Seng, Director, Centre for Social Development, Cambodia; and Dr. Edward Kissi, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida.

Introduction remarks by Under-Secretary-General Akasaka

Press Release: DPI holding 8 November seminar on Combatting Hatred- Part of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme


Rountable Discussion
"The United Nations and the Response to Genocide "
(14 September 2006)

Archived video [2 hours and 24 minutes]

The "Holocaust and the United Nations" outreach programme organized a roundtable discussion under the theme, "Remembrance and Beyond:  The United Nations and the Response to Genocide" on 14 September 2006 from 6 pm to 8 pm in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at the United Nations Headquarters.

Featuring the participation of Dr. David Hamburg, Chair of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention [pdf, 114KB], the event focused on the historical response of the international community to acts of genocide, and the necessary steps to be taken to confront and prevent such tragedies.

14 september roundtable panelThe round table discussion was moderated by Mr.Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division, and included a statement by Dr. Hamburg on the work of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Committee.  Additional participants included Mr. Olara Otunnu, President, LBL Foundation for Children; H.E. Ambassador Sylvester Ekundayo Rowe, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations; Dr. Helen Fein, Associate at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University; and Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Deputy Director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Picture, from right to left: Craig Mokhiber, H.E. Ambassador Sylvester Ekundayo Rowe, Dr. Helen Fein, Olara Otunnu, Raymond Sommereyns, Dr. Hamburg).

Press release: Department of Public Information to organize Round Table on United Nations, response to Genocide (8 September 2006)


Holocaust Awareness and the Prevention of Genocide
(12 May 2006)

Archived video [2 hours and 55 minutes]

Photo of Genocide Briefing in Trusteeship CouncilThe United Nations Department of Public Information organized a briefing on "Holocaust Awareness and the Prevention of Genocide" on 12 May from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council chamber at United Nations Headquarters. The briefing was intended to facilitate the development of educational curricula on the Holocaust by Member States and to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education.

Photo of Ambassador Gabor Brodi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations Following the welcoming remarks by Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division of the Department, who also moderated the programme, Ambassador Gabor Bródi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations, made an opening statement. Hungary assumed the 2006 chair of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (ITF).

Photo of Genocide PanelSpeakers at the briefingincluded eminent scholars and educators on the Holocaust and related issues of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice. Jerry Fowler, Staff Director of the Committee on Conscience, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, spoke on "The Holocaust and Genocide Prevention"; Dr. Kathrin Meyer, Adviser on Anti-Semitism Issues in the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, spoke on "Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Outreach Activities"; Dr. Helén Lööw, Director of the Living History Forum in Sweden will speak on "National Holocaust Awareness Programmes"; and Shulamit Imber, Director of Pedagogy, International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem in Israel, spoke on "Available Resources for Holocaust Education".

Press release: Department of Public Information to organize briefing on Holocaust awareness, Genocide prevention (4 May 2006)