Kyiv Mohyla Academy hosted the International Roundtable “Remembering the Holocaust”

On May 27, 2015 the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy hosted the International Roundtable entitled “Remembering the Holocaust: education practices and ways of development in modern Ukraine. It was arranged by the Hungarian Embassy in Ukraine, the International Renaissance Foundation, the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies, the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies.


The Roundtable was dedicated to the beginning of the Hungarian Presidency in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This organization is an intergovernmental body that provides support for national and international projects for research, teaching and perpetuating the memory of Holocaust victims. Thirty-one countries are full members of the IHRA with an additional eight states holding an observer status. Ukraine intends to become an observer member of the IHRA.


In Independent Ukraine the processes of teaching and perpetuating the memory of victims of the Holocaust have intensified. This, as well as the problems and challenges associated with these processes, were mentioned in the welcoming speech by Dr. Serhiy Kvit, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Mr. Szabolcs Takacs, Chairman of the IHRA, Dr. Yevhen Bystrytsky, Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation, Mr. Csaba Laszlo Pap, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine, Dr. Tetiana Yaroshenko, Vice President of Kyiv Mohyla Academy for Science, Mr. Joseph Zissels, Co-President of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine, Dr. Vitaly Chernoivanenko, President of the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies, and other distinguished guests.


The Roundtable participants were Ukrainian and Hungarian scholars, university professors, school teachers of history and social sciences, representatives of public organizations engaged in non-formal education, and graduate and undergraduate students. In several sections the cultivation of the Holocaust in formal and non-formal education, especially the approaches and possibilities of public institutions and civil society initiatives were discussed. The speakers shared their views on the difficulties encountered in teaching the Holocaust in schools and universities, as well as the use of various techniques and approaches in their work. On a particular interest, there were reports of the representatives of non-formal education and community organizations of the various projects on the history of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma. Attention was drawn to the presentations of the Hungarian guests, including Dr. Andrea Pető from the Central European University in Budapest. Their experience and approaches were analyzed by Ukrainian colleagues in terms of the possibility of using ideas for their own educational activities.


Separately, it was raised a question about the place of the Roma genocide in general context of the history of World War II in Ukraine and the integration of the national tragedy of the people of Ukraine into European narrative.


International Roundtable has become a regular opportunity for the representatives of various educational institutions and non-governmental organizations to share experiences, discuss the issues of teaching the history of genocide, promoting tolerance and a better understanding of current processes in Ukraine on the background of the today’s conflict in Ukrainian East.


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