More than 1,200 people from across the world registered for participation in the symposium ‘Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion: Lessons for and from Southeast Asia’ on 23-26 November 2021.

The online event was organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in cooperation with the Balac Program of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (Thailand) and the American University of Phnom Penh (Cambodia), with the support of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and Heinrich Boell Stiftung Cambodia. The participants came from all the world’s continents with a majority coming from the region of Southeast Asia.

Over thirty presenters, panelists and moderators from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Germany, Israel, Myanmar, Poland, Russia, Spain, Thailand, UK and US contributed to the debates during the symposium’s four days. Keynote speakers included Professors Yehuda Bauer (Honorary Chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), Teun Van Dijk (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona) and Ben Kiernan (Founder of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University).

Presentations linking the memory of the Holocaust with the history (and the present) of Southeast Asia were delivered by, among others, Dr Verita Sriratana (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University) and Dr Maung Zarni (Documentation Center Cambodia and Free Rohingya Coalition). Sammy Samuels, the leader of the Jewish community in Myanmar (Burma) shared the story of Myanmar’s Jews and his work to commemorate the Holocaust and promote the country’s diversity.

A session on counteracting genocide denial in the frame of interfaith dialogue was conducted by the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Venerable Lablu Barua (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand).

– ‘Thank you to the NEVER AGAIN Association for really making these cross-cultural dialogues possible’ – said Dr Theresa Delangis, the Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Professor in Global Affairs and Humanities at the American University of Phnom Penh.

The symposium was preceded by a series of workshops and meetings for civil society groups, museums and memorial sites’ staff, academics, and faith leaders. – ‘We have a broad network of colleagues and friends, experts and civil society activists in Southeast Asia and beyond’ – said Professor Rafal Pankowski of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in his final remarks during the symposium. – ‘We are going to continue our communication and cooperation.’

The recordings of all of the sessions will be available on the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s website and social media profiles. Future activities in the frame of the project ‘Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion: Lessons for and from Southeast Asia’ include publications as well as a digital exhibition on the subject.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

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