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International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance stronger as Sweden hands over Presidency


On 28 February, Croatia took over the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) from Sweden. The main priorities of the Swedish Presidency were to contribute to strengthening the structure of the IHRA and increase the organisation’s impact.

-  The challenges we face are daunting. But there is also progress and hope. It is clear that the IHRA is making an extraordinary impact in the field of education, remembrance and research on the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma. And it is clear that we are inspiring others to follow our lead, says Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Priorities of the Presidency

The main priorities of the one-year Swedish Presidency were to contribute to strengthening the IHRA and increase the organisation’s impact. One of the successes during the Swedish Presidency was the decision to adopt a stable and long-term financing model for the organisation’s activities. The IHRA also adopted a package of measures in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. For example, training material on Holocaust distortion has been translated into Ukrainian and Russian. During the year, Sweden also followed up on the pledges made by the delegations that took part in the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in 2021.

The Swedish Presidency arranged two plenary meetings – one in Stockholm in June 2022 and one in Gothenburg in November and December 2022. In addition to the plenary meetings, Sweden also arranged and took part in several conferences. One example is the International Conference on the Genocide of the Roma and Combating Antigypsyism that took place in October 2022. 

Sweden’s role in the IHRA

Sweden plays a special role in the IHRA as it helped found and launch the organisation. The IHRA is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1998 by former Prime Minister Göran Persson together with US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In connection with the Malmö International Forum for Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, 60 delegations from different countries committed to intensifying their efforts in this area through a number of concrete pledges. One of Sweden’s pledges was to hold the Presidency of the IHRA and follow up on the approximately 150 pledges that were made. These pledges included establishing Holocaust museums and memorials, and taking measures against antisemitism through specific strategies and training initiatives.

Ambassador Ann Bernes was IHRA Chair during the Swedish Presidency from March 2022 to February 2023. Croatia has taken over the Presidency from Sweden.