Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, addressing the first official International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA), in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, the United States Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, hosted the first official International Holocaust Remembrance Day observation in the Gulf on Thursday, at the academy’s premises.

The event featured remarks by Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, Nickolay Mladenov, Director of Research and Analysis Department, AGDA, Amir Hayek, Ambassador of Israel to the UAE, Sean Murphy, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the US and Tad Stahnke, Director, International Educational Outreach, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi said: “We would like to mark this International Holocaust Remembrance Day as an occasion to pay our respects to the victims of the Holocaust, and an occasion to pledge, as an international community, to be reminded of this crime that shook all of humanity, and resulted in atrocities that no peace-loving person will accept. The Holocaust was a crime against humanity that had far-reaching consequences and cannot be condoned.”

She stressed the importance of the resolutions adopted by the United Nations in the past years, which aimed to raise awareness about the Holocaust and reminding the world of it. “Humanity should stand in solidarity to prevent such crimes from taking place in the future. The onus lies on us, all the peace-loving countries and people, to commemorate the innocent lives that were lost in these horrendous events and to inform the world of the catastrophe that befell them.”

She pointed out that it’s thanks to the vision of the country’s wise leadership that the UAE has become a beacon of hope to establish tolerance, brotherhood and peaceful co-existence in the world. “We value the importance of logic and reason to promote tolerance and move away from the cycle of violence. We believe in spreading the message of religious tolerance that encourages love and harmony and calls for respect of one and all,” she said.

Mladenov said: “AGDA is honoured to co-host this special event, to honour and commemorate the millions of lives lost during the second world war. This gathering is a reminder to re-commit ourselves to the battle against genocide, extremism, hatred, intolerance, and racism – that unfortunately still takes place, right before our eyes.”

He told AGDA’s students: “Your roles as future diplomats not only mean you will have the honour to serve your country’s foreign policy objectives, strengthen its relations and build bridges of peace, dialogue and cooperation with the international community – but also – to use the righteous spirit within you, to stand up for humanity.”

Murphy said: “It is an honour for the US Embassy to join the UAE Ministry of Culture, the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The UAE’s leadership to promote interfaith tolerance and coexistence set the stage for today’s important event. Today is also a day to educate and keep real the promise of ‘never again’.”

Stahnke said: “The Holocaust’s timeless lessons about the dangers of extremism, intolerance, and hate resonate with people worldwide.”