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More than 700 Educators from 52 Countries to attend Yad Vashem Conference on Holocaust Education

2 July 2008

More than 700 educators from across the globe will participate in a unique international conference, Teaching the Shoah: Fighting Racism and Prejudice at Yad Vashem that opens Monday, July 7, 2008. Participants from 52 countries as varied as Rwanda, South Africa, Poland, Germany, Greece, Turkey, China, Japan, Korea, The United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, the Ukraine, Serbia, Australia and the United States will attend the conference. The largest educators conference in Israel on Holocaust, the central theme will deal with teaching the Holocaust in a multi-cultural society. The three-day conference will serve as a forum for dialogue among educators dealing with the challenges of Holocaust education in countries with large multi-ethnic populations.

The conference will take place from July 7-10, 2008 at Yad Vashem and the Jerusalem International Convention Center. It will address three topics: racism and antisemitism in the 19th and 20th centuries, Holocaust education in a multi-cultural classroom, and the legacy of the survivors for celebrating Israel in its 60th year.

Participants from around the world will conduct 164 educational workshops in English, Spanish, Russian and French, during the conference. Topics will include: teaching the Holocaust in Rwanda, the challenge of Holocaust education for students with a Muslim background, using the diary of Anne Frank to combat prejudice in the classroom, teaching the Holocaust in Germany in a multi-cultural classroom, Greek students attitudes toward others and teaching the Holocaust and genocide in Europe today - the challenge of anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

As a result of the pedagogical questions raised by hundreds of teachers from around the world who come to us for seminars, the need arose to place the theme of Holocaust education in a multi-cultural society at the core of the conference. We hope that the three days of the conference will provide hundreds of educators with the tools necessary to deal with the challenges of teaching the Holocaust in their countries, said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem.

The unprecedented response that brought 700 educators to the conference is a result of the awareness that Holocaust education is vitally important for shaping a future generation, and strengthens the commitment to the struggle against antisemitism, racism, and prejudice - widespread phenomena in multi-cultural societies, remarked Dorit Novak, Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem.

Among the speakers at the conference will be Professor Yuli Tamir, Minister of Education, Yitzhak Herzog, Minister of Social Affairs, MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, Former Minister and MK Natan Sharansky, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Professor Yehuda Bauer, Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem, Professor Omer Bartov, Brown University, USA, Artist and Holocaust Survivor Samuel Bak, Prof. Dina Porat, Tel Aviv University, and the Hon. Daniel Rafecas, Esq., Federal Judge, Argentina.

The opening ceremony will take place on Monday, July 7, 2008 at 20:30 at Yad Vashem, in the presence of Education Minister Professor Yuli Tamir, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and International School for Holocaust Studies Director Dorit Novak. The keynote speaker will be Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, who will speak on The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors: Jewish and Universal Implications.

The conference is being supported through the generosity of the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation and the Asper Foundation.

The conference program (pdf)