The International School for Holocaust Studies
Seventh International Conference on Holocaust Education, June 12-13, 2010
Background Information About the Speakers
Dr. Yitzchak Arad, born in 1926 in Lithuania, is a historian and retired IDF brigadier general. A veteran of the Nazi-era Jewish resistance movement, he has researched, lectured, and published extensively on the Holocaust. Dr. Arad served as the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate for twenty-one years (1972-1993). He remains associated with Yad Vashem in an advisory capacity. Dr. Arad continues to be involved in research and publishing. His works have been translated into several languages. His book The Holocaust in the Soviet Union won the 2009 National Jewish Book Award for “Writing Based on Archival Material.”
Professor Yehuda Bauer was born in Prague in 1926. He earned his doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1960. From 1995-2000, Professor Bauer served as the Chair of the International Institute of Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem. From 1998-2005, Professor Bauer also served as the Academic Advisor to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (ITF) and since 2005 he has served as its Honorary Chairman. Professor Bauer is currently an Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem, the author of many Holocaust-related books and articles, and lectures all over the world.
Dr. Leonidas Donskis was born in 1962 in Lithuania. He earned a doctorate in Humanities/L.H.D. (Philosophy) in 1990 from Vilnius University and a second doctorate in Social and Moral Philosophy from University of Helsinki in 1999. He has served as a professor at the University of Klaipeda, Lithuania, and authored many articles published in academic journals as well as essays on historical, cultural and political topics. Dr. Donskis currently serves as a Member of the European Parliament.
Shulamit Imber is the Pedagogical Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. She has more than twenty-five years of teaching experience, has developed the educational philosophy of the School and has advised in the design and development of numerous Holocaust-related teaching units in a variety of languages. She is a member of the Israeli delegation to the ITF, and has lectured on methods and techniques in Holocaust education around the world.
Professor Alain Finkielkraut was born in France in 1949. He has published a number of works on the public's betrayal of memory. Professor Finkielkraut then addressed post-Holocaust Jewish identity in Europe with the book, The Imaginary Jew. Seeking to promote what he calls a duty of memory, Finkielkraut also published The Future of a Negation: Reflexion on the Genocide Issue and later his comments on the Klaus Barbie trial, Remembering in Vain. Professor Finkielkraut is a world-renowned essayist, philosopher and author of a number of books and continues to be one of France's leading public intellectuals.
Roman Frister was born in 1928 in Poland. During the Holocaust, he survived a number of Nazi forced labor and concentration camps including Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau. After immigrating to the State of Israel, Mr. Frister became a prominent columnist and editor for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz. In 1990, he helped found a school for journalism in Tel Aviv that was later incorporated into Tel Aviv University. Mr. Frister has authored a number of books on Holocaust-related topics.
Aleksander Kwasniewski was born in 1954 in Poland. A co-founding member and first chairman of the Social Democratic Party of the Republic of Poland, he served as President of the Republic of Poland from 1995-2005. During his presidency, he advanced Poland’s membership in both NATO and the European Union. His vision was actualized with Poland's ascension to the European Union in 2004. As president, he confronted the issue of Poland’s national past, significantly contributing to a dialogue between Polish, German, Jewish and Ukrainian peoples. In January 2000, Former President Kwasniewski addressed the participants of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.
YISRAEL MEIR LAU
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was born in 1937 in Pyotrekov, Poland. At age seven, he was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp and immigrated to Israel. In 1993, he was appointed the Chief Rabbi of Israel and served in that position until 2003. Rabbi Lau has published several books including his autobiography, Do Not Raise Your Hand Against the Boy. In 2005, Rabbi Lau received the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and special contributions to society and state. Currently, Rabbi Lau serves as the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, and as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv.
Mr. Moe Levy earned his M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Manitoba and served as Managing Partner within the Manitoba Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism in Canada. Since 1999, he has served as the Executive Director of the Asper Foundation. He is also the Executive Director of the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, one of the major projects being spearheaded by the Asper Foundation. He sits on various boards and devotes his time to a number of charitable causes.
Stjepan Mesic was born in 1934 in Orahovica. Prior to his ten-year Croatian Presidency (2000-2010), he held the posts of the Prime Minister of Croatia, President of the Croatian Parliament and the Mayor of Orahovica. Former President Mesic remains active in foreign policy, promoting Croatia's bid to become a member of the European Union and NATO. Former President Mesic attended the opening of the Yad Vashem Historical Museum in 2005.
Since January 2007, Dorit Novak has served as Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Ms. Novak received her M.A. in education and served in the IDF in various educational capacities, including the head of both the advocacy and culture departments. Before joining Yad Vashem, Ms. Novak directed the pilot administration of the "Welfare to Work" project in Israel, under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. Ms. Novak also launched and managed the country-wide educational non-governmental organization Heznek supported by the Israel Discount Bank Ltd.
Dr. Samuel Pisar was born in 1929 in Bialystok, Poland. During the Shoah, Pisar survived the Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau Nazi camps. He earned a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne in 1953 and later earned doctorates from Harvard and the University of Paris, Sorbonne. He has served as an advisor to the US State Department and US Congress. He is considered one of the most influential trade lawyers of our time and his books, including his autobiography, Of Blood and Hope, have been translated into many languages. He has also written a narration based on his experiences and reflections for Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 ("Kaddish"). In June 2009, “Kaddish” was performed at Yad Vashem accompanied by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.
Professor Dina Porat teaches at Tel Aviv University. She is head of the Stephen Roth Institute and holds the Alfred P. Slaner Chair for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. Professor Porat has published extensively on issues related to the history of the Holocaust and the Zionist movement as it relates to the Jews in Europe during the Second World War and to antisemitism. Currently, she serves as a member of the Yad Vashem Scientific Advisory Board. Professor Porat is currently the Academic Advisor to the ITF.
Gideon Sa'ar was born in Israel in 1966. After his army service, Mr. Sa'ar studied political science and earned an LL.B at Tel Aviv University. He worked as a secretary to the cabinet in 1999 and again in 2001-2002. In the 2003 elections he was elected to the Knesset and was appointed Likud Parliamentary Group Chairman. In 2006, he was reappointed Group Chairman and also became a deputy Knesset Speaker. Mr. Sa’ar currently serves as the Minister of Education for the State of Israel.
Avner Shalev was born in 1939 in Jerusalem. He served in the IDF between 1956 and 1980, reaching the rank of brigadier general. Mr. Shalev graduated from the IDF Command and Staff College and National Security College. After completing his military service, Mr. Shalev served as Director General of the Culture Authority in the Ministry of Education and Culture and Chairman of the National Culture and Art Council. Mr. Shalev has been Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate since 1993. As Chairman, he initiated the establishment of the International School for Holocaust Studies and a new Museum Complex. In 2003, Mr. Shalev accepted the Israel Prize on behalf of Yad Vashem. In 2007, Mr. Shalev was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his efforts on behalf of Holocaust awareness worldwide, and also accepted Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Concord on behalf of Yad Vashem.
Dan Tichon was born in 1937 in Haifa. He served as an officer in the IDF before graduating with an economics and international relations degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1981, he was elected to the 10th Knesset. He served as member of the Knesset Committees on Finance, Internal Affairs, Environment, State Control, Energy, and Sport. In July 1996, he was appointed Speaker of the 14th Knesset. Currently, Mr. Tichon is the Chairman of the ITF.
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