27th Annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide

Montreal, March 28, 2019. Vanier College is pleased to announce that the 27th Annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide will take place April 1-5, 2019, under the theme Fact, Fiction, or Propaganda. The Honorary Chairmen for the event will be Eric Bissell (Holocaust survivor) and his son, Marc Bissell (Vanier graduate, Honorary Consul-General for Austria). Cosponsors for the event include the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Foundation (also a co-coordinator), The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Hillel Montreal, and LEARN Quebec. 

Vanier’s symposium, which began as an event organized by former Vanier Humanities teacher Dr. Neil Caplan and Naomi Kramer (Director of the current Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Foundation), has grown exponentially over the years. Today, more than two decades later, the mission of the symposium remains the same: to sensitize students and the general population to the horrors of the past while also focusing on genocide, discrimination and prejudice taking place in the present in order to promote the moral responsibility that all people have towards one another. 

With an underlying message to promote peace, social harmony and mutual respect among diverse peoples, it is extremely fitting that an event like the Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide has been taking place at Vanier College. Vanier is proud to be one of the most culturally diverse educational institutions in North America with students from over 90 different nationalities. Since its inception in 1970 Vanier has been a leader in terms of promoting the protection of human rights and fostering multicultural and ethnic harmony throughout our campus.

Promoting awareness of the Holocaust and Genocide helps to highlight the personal responsibilities that citizens bear to combat antisemitism, racism and all forms of bigotry and hatred whenever and wherever it happens. 

Vanier is proud to have been able to raise awareness of these issues over the past two decades and we remain committed to supporting the Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide in the future. 

The weeklong event will feature lectures and guest speakers, as well as Holocaust survivor testimonials, and a Holocaust and Genocide Commemoration Service, on Wednesday, April 3rd at 12:00. The list of speakers includes the following. 

Dr. Olaf Glöckner: “Modern Anti-Semitism and Right-wing Populism: Two Serious Threats for European Civic Society”, April 3 at 1:30- 3:00. Dr. Olaf Glöckner is a writer and Senior Researcher at the Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European-Jewish Studies in Potsdam (MMZ). He is also Lecturer at the Historical Institute and at the Department of Jewish Studies at Potsdam University. 

Professor Irwin Cotler: “Defending Political Prisoners as a Looking Glass into Resurgent Global Authoritarianism, Democracy in Retreat and the Criminalization and Protection of Fundamental Freedoms” April 2nd at 1:00-2:30 Professor Irwin Cotler is Founder and Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. 

Dr. Nora Gold: Reading from her book Fields of Exile on April 1, at 12 pm in the STEM Centre. Dr. Nora Gold received her BSW from McGill University then her Masters and PHD in Social Work from the University of Toronto. From 1990-2000 she was a tenured professor at McMaster University. She then left full-time academia to pursue fiction writing. Since 2000 Gold has been an Associate Scholar at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE), at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. 

Professor Frédéric Mégret: “What Can Be Done to Stop Genocide?” April 2 at 11:30 Frédéric Mégret is an Associate Professor of Law at McGill University where he was made a William Dawson Scholar in March 2015. He held the Canada Research Chair on the Law of Human Rights and Legal Pluralism from 2006 to 2015. Professor Mégret is the author of “Le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda” and is currently co-editing the second edition of “The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal” (Oxford University Press, 2014) with Professor Philip Alston.

Tamara Starblanket Sponsored by the Indigenous Circle Wednesday, April 3 at 3:30 – 4:45 In her recently released book, “Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the State”, Starblanket examines how genocide is focused primarily on breaking the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous Peoples’ national identities from parents to children by the forcible removals. She outlines the extent of the destruction, and the forcible indoctrination by means of massive and widespread death by disease and dilapidated living conditions, torture, forced starvation, forced labor, and sexual predation. 

Shaparak Shajarizadeh “Freedom of Choice”, Monday, April 1st at 10:00, Sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights Iranian officials arrested Shajarizadeh in Tehran in late February 2018 for removing her headscarf to protest compulsory hijab laws and sentenced her to 20 years in prison. She is now living in exile in Canada. Named one of the 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2018 by BBC, Shajarizadeh has become one of the leading figures of women’s rights in Iran and is currently seeking asylum in Canada. 

Beryl Wajsman: “Fact, Fiction, or Propaganda”, Wednesday, April 3rd at 10:30 Beryl Wajsman is editor-in-chief of The Suburban Newspaper Group and founder and president of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal. He holds two law degrees from McGill University and has spent over thirty years combining the worlds of politics, community activism and media.