Owen Pell Presents Work of Latin American Network to IHRA

Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation Board Member Owen Pell traveled to Hungary to present the work of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (the Latin American Network) to delegates at the annual plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on November 4, 2015. The IHRA, with 31 member states and 10 observer states is a leading international organization focused on using Holocaust remembrance and education as a tool for building tolerance and preventing genocide.

Founded in 2012 by 18 participating member states, the Latin American Network is a world leader in state capacity-building with regard to genocide and mass atrocity prevention. The Latin American Network aims to institutionalize a culture of genocide prevention throughout Latin American governments, based on national programs and regional initiatives which are tied to a curriculum on genocide and mass atrocity prevention that has been finalized and approved by all member states. The IHRA has provided generous support for the work of the Latin American Network since 2014, enabling the Network to implement regular programming in the pursuit of unified national policies on genocide and mass atrocity prevention. In 2015, the Latin American Network was awarded the ‘Yehuda Bauer Grant’ by the IHRA. Established in 2013, this grant supports projects that have “a particular emphasis on the multilateral aspect and the significance of the target groups”.

In addressing IHRA’s plenary session, Mr. Pell discussed how the Latin American Network’s programming furthers IHRA’s mission:

Consistent with the work of the IHRA, [AIPR and the Latin American Network] use the Holocaust as a teaching tool in forward-looking genocide prevention. The initial focus of training is the process of genocide – as Professor Yehuda Bauer said earlier this year [at IHRA], using the Holocaust as a warning, not just a precedent in understanding how genocide unfolds, and in then introducing the preventive measures states can take in response to the warning signs of genocide.

In explaining the approach of AIPR and the Network to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities in the Latin American context, Mr. Pell also invoked the words of current IHRA Chairman, Hungarian Foreign Minister Szabolcs Takács:

Remembrance is not only a duty towards the past, but a commitment to the future as well. That is, remembrance is not only the awareness of ‘do not forget’, but also a recognition that there is always hope for reconstruction, and even hope for rebirth in the sense of community.

The full text of Mr. Pell’s address can be found here.

Mr. Pell also had the opportunity to address IHRA’s Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, which develops projects on how best to support those who choose to relate the Holocaust to other genocides and crimes against humanity.  He spoke to the Committee about AIPR’s approach to teaching the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities, highlighting the work of the Latin American Network, the curriculum used at the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar, as well as discussing AIPR’s recent Discussion with Parliamentarians on Pillar II of the Responsibility to Protect, AIPR’s recent Report on National Mechanisms, and AIPR’s role in the recent publication by Cambridge University Press of “Reconstructing Atrocity Prevention”.

To learn more about the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, visit the official website. More information on the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention, Latin America Edition, which is conducted in collaboration with AIPR in its role as Technical Secretariat, is available here. Resources on AIPR’s Latin America Program can be found here.