Chris Lazaris' speech, IHRA Handover Ceremony from Germany to Greece 2021

Ambassador Lazaris’ speech on the IHRA Handover ceremony

Welcome to the Greek Presidency of IHRA and thank you for attending this virtual ceremony. We are starting today, April 1st, 2021 and we shall proceed with the first Plenary, by teleconference, in early June and we are going to hold the second round in early November, this time by physical presence. There will be several significant moments, such as the submission of North Macedonia’s application for acceptance as full member of the Alliance to the Plenary; while other countries, including Cyprus and Brazil, are also applying to join as observers.

The thread running through this Presidency will be “Teaching the Holocaust”, including combatting denial and distortion in the new fields now opened by the Internet. A major event on the subject is being planned for the end of the Presidency, in February- March 2022. But, of course, this is not all and much else will take place in both Greece and abroad.

I am heavily counting upon the support of the Permanent Office and fellow members of the IHRA, but, above all, upon the drive and determination of our home team. I would like to thank the members of our national Representation in the Working Groups, His Eminence Metropolitan of Messenia, Chrysostomos and Messrs. Paul Howell, and Leon Saltiel in the Academic WG, Ms. Jeanette Battinou, Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece in the Museums and Memorials WG, Ms. Vasiliki Keramida and Mr. George Antoniou in the Education WG and Mr. Ioannis Matsis, in the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma.

Many thanks, also, to the Presidency team: my Deputy, Mr. George Polydorakis, Mr. George Psychoyios and Mrs. Eva Konstantinidou; hopefully, more will join us on the way.

A huge word of thanks is owed to our partners, the team of the Ministry of Education, under the direction of Secretary General George Kalantzis.

A final word of thanks, to Alex Papaioannou and his people in the Information Service of the MFA and to our own young technical consultant, Miss Ariadni Coropouli, for the realization of this video.

Of course, nothing could be done, without the political direction and determination of our leadership, Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Deputy PM, Mr. George Pikrammenos and Minister Mr. Nikolaos Dendias, who made our Presidency possible.