Lemkin's seminar for diplomats
In the months of October and November, two subsequent editions of Raphael Lemkin’s seminar were held in the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. The seminar is addressed to diplomats and middle management government employees from around the world. It was organized by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) in cooperation with the United Nations and the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust (ICEAH).
The aim of the seminar organized since 2008 is to draw the attention of its participant to the issue of genocide, together with its political, economic and humanitarian consequences. This year, over 50 representatives of such countries as Argentina, Georgia, Laos, Malaysia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Venezuela took part in the event. It is worth mentioning that the October edition of the seminar was addressed exclusively to the representatives of Latin America.
“Hundreds of national and regional programs protecting the groups of people at risk of mass crimes have been the outcome of seminars held so far”, said Tibi Galis, Executive Director of AIPR. “It is crucial that the seminars are held at the Auschwitz Memorial Site, as the power of this place provides the participants with support necessary to get involved in difficult political actions connected with preventing genocide”, continued Galis.
At the Memorial Site, participants of the seminar were introduced into the topic of genocide, in particular its mechanisms, basing on the tragic history of Auschwitz. Sessions were led by Tibi Galis and Dr. James Waller from Keene State College, AIPR Academic Programs Director. The program included also lectures presented by Museum specialists: Piotr Setkiewicz, Ph.D. and Alicja Białecka. During the lectures, seminar participants had the occasion to learn about the history of former concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as about the ideas how to commemorate its victims. The knowledge was then developed during a study visit, when seminar participants could among others visit blocks 2 and 3 of the former Auschwitz I camp, the interiors of which remained almost intact since the liberation of the camp.
“The voice of former prisoners of Auschwitz, who say “never again” to the crime of Holocaust and genocide, I hear it clearly again, when the participants of Raphael Lemkin’s seminar come to us. These people, high-rank state officials and diplomats, are particularly responsible to prevent further cases of genocide and mass crimes in the world” – these were the words of Andrzej Kacorzyk, the ICEAH Director. “I am truly convinced that the powerful experience of authenticity of the place and the truth on human suffering included in documents and survivors’ accounts will result in their courageous and wise decisions”, added Kacorzyk.
Fred Schwartz, philanthropist from New York, founder and President of AIPR, is the sponsor and initiator of Raphael Lemkin’s seminars.