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December 7, 2021
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MAE: Passage of working definition of anti-Semitism, significant achievement of Romania’s IHRA chairmanship

The passage of a working definition of anti-Semitism is the most significant achievement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) under its one-year Romanian chairmanship that started in March 2016.

On March 7, the Romanian chairmanship of IHRA expired, with the moment being marked in a ceremony in Berlin, Germany, at the headquarters of the local Embassy of the Swiss Confederation as Switzerland took over the chairmanship for the next year, Romania’s Foreign Ministry (MAE) said Wednesday in a press statement.

In a speech to the ceremony, ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu (photo L) summarized the achievement of the IHRA chairmanship of the last year. Three priorities – consolidating Holocaust education, encouraging academic research and combating anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and negative discrimination were included in many projects and actions carried out on the IHRA member and observer states under partnerships with local and international institutions and organisations.

The MAE says in its statement that the activities under the aegis of IHRA Romania have received strong support from Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, particularly to make headways with Holocaust education and the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and negative discrimination.

“Hopefully, the Romanian IHRA chairmanship has contributed toward the consolidation of the mission of this organisation and toward the advancement of its profile in the world. Last year, I dared encourage the IHRA community to undertake a more courageous part in facing current challenges that is part of its mission. Early this year, I was very proud to realise that the IHRA already has the capability of shaping political decisions by imparting knowledge of or remembering the lessons of history, which is so much needed today,” the MAE quotes Constantinescu as saying.

A working definition of anti-Semitism was passed by a plenary meeting of the alliance in Bucharest in May 2016 that was later on formally adopted by the UK Government and it is currently being debated in the US Congress. Also as a first in the IHRA history, cooperation was started with the Vatican that materialised in a first joint conference this February in Vatican on refugees policies since 1930, according to the MAE.

The IHRA is a Berlin-based international organisation of 31 full member states, 11 observer states and seven permanent international partners. It was established in 1998 and it has been operating under a Stockholm Declaration to consolidate Holocaust memory, research and education.

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