Discussion Papers Series, Volume III
by Ms. Cristina Gallach
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
For the past decade the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has mobilized students and educators around the world to never forget the lessons of the past. We are grateful to our many partners who have contributed to this work. In 2015 alone, with the support of our United Nations Information Centres, Holocaust commemorative activities took place in more than 40 countries. The global reach of this important educational Programme is stronger than ever.
Today, the world is being re-shaped by further globalization, migration and climate change. Long-simmering disputes have erupted into armed hostilities and too many people continue to suffer from war, discrimination and other violations of their human rights. Violence and bias, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, are “stark reminders of the distance still to travel in upholding human rights, preventing genocide and defending our common humanity”. The Secretary-General has been clear: “We must redouble our efforts to eradicate the deep roots of hatred and intolerance. People everywhere must unite to stop the cycles of discord and build a world of inclusion and mutual respect.” Indeed, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the founding of the United Nations, let us commit anew to protecting the vulnerable, promoting fundamental human rights, and upholding the freedom, dignity and worth of every person.
These discussion papers are a remarkable and moving demonstration of these values. The collection is the third in this series and one of the many educational tools produced by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. Since its creation in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly through its resolution 60/7, the Programme has developed an innovative approach in all six official languages that includes online and print educational products, DVDs, exhibits, social media campaigns, student video conferences and highlevel events. It also continues to combat Holocaust denial, as called for by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 61/255. I invite you to view a short film on the Programme’s tenth anniversary that is available on its website.
The papers in this volume were written by a diverse group of authors on a wide range of topics, from their distinct personal perspectives. Among the contributors are academics, researchers, and sociologists, the chairman of a world-renowned Holocaust museum, the Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, a Hollywood filmmaker, and a former United Nations intern. They are from Canada, Denmark, Israel, Morocco, Senegal, Serbia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Their articles deal with a fascinating wide range of issues including Holocaust education in Denmark, and in Morocco; the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; music and the Holocaust; rescue; the preservation of former Nazi concentration and death camps; crimes committed against the Roma and Sinti during the Second World War; the post-Holocaust memory of German-Jewish achievements; and the prevention of atrocity crimes.
I encourage you to read and share this publication. While the views expressed by individual scholars might not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations, the writers offer insights that help to raise the level of dialogue, as well as define possible means to curtail human rights abuses. The articles provide an opportunity for deeper reflection, discussion, and will hopefully instil in our readers the desire to take positive action. We look forward to your reactions and continued support for the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.