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.
- 70th Anniversary Observance of Kristallnacht (10 November 2008)
- Saving Succeeding Generations (26 June 2008)
- From Kristallnacht to Today: How do we Combat Hatred?(8 November 2007)
- The United Nations and the Response to Genocide (14 September 2006)
- Holocaust Awareness and the Prevention of Genocide (12 May 2006)
70th Anniversary Observance of the Kristallnacht pogrom
Panel discussion: “Nowhere to turn”
(10 November 2008)
The pogrom against the Jews of 9 and 10 November 1938 symbolized the shattering of Jewish life in Germany and marked the intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would lead to mass murder of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. In order to observe the 70th Anniversary of what is now known as the Kristallnacht pogrom, the Outreach Division’s Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme organized a panel discussion on the theme "Nowhere to turn" on 10 November 2008 in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters.
From left to right: Professor David Engel, Gary Phillips, Professor Pan Guang, Professor Alizabeth Newman, Her Excellency Ms. Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, Eric Falt, Director of the Outreach Division, DPI
The briefing was moderated by Eric Falt, Director of the Outreach Division, and featured six panelists. Following the opening remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka, Professor David Engel (Maurice Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University) provided the audience with an historical perspective on the Kristallnacht pogrom.
Gary Phillips, who witnessed the Kristallnacht pogrom in Berlin when he was 16, shared his personal testimony. As China was one of the few countries where Jews could find a safe haven following the pogrom, the event also profiled Jewish emigration to Shanghai, and Professor Pan Guang, Dean of the Centre for Jewish Studies of Shanghai presented the Jewish Ghetto of Shanghai. Professor Alizabeth Newman, Director of Immigrant Initiative and Instructor at CUNY School of Law outlined the populations at risk and the factors affecting immigration policy. The keynote address was delivered by Her Excellency Ms. Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, who addressed the impact of the Kristallnacht pogrom, its lasting effects an the lessons that this history offers today.
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.
The 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.
Following 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.
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.
The 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. 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.
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.
The 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).
The 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.
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).
Speakers 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".