Event Details

Special Convening

Protecting the Future of Holocaust Memory in an Era of Rising Antisemitism

Free to the public 
September 06, 2023 @ 3:00 pm | Free to the public


Join leading experts, prominent scholars, and international diplomats to examine how existing legal mechanisms, international policies, and cooperation can be strengthened and expanded to meet the fundamental challenges of our time.

Following the devastation of the Holocaust and World War II, global leaders united to establish an ambitious new framework that prioritized human rights and the rule of law, and aimed to prevent systemic antisemitism and unchecked aggression.

But the post-war structures that championed democratic values have given way to new realities, as evidenced by the current increase in antisemitic violence, Holocaust denial and distortion, as well as growing mistrust in democracy and the rule of law around the world.

Special guests include the Rt Hon Lord Eric Pickles, the U.K.'s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, and Ellen Germain, the U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. The panel discussion will be chaired by Dr. Robert J. Williams, the Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Chair of the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation.

This event is co-sponsored by USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future.  


Speaker Bios:

Ellen Germain

Ellen Germain assumed her duties as Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues on August 23, 2021. She is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.  Ms. Germain served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2018-2021. Her previous positions include director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (2015-2017), head of the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow, Poland (2012-2015), and postings as deputy political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (2007-2008) and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York (2008-2012) where she was responsible for issues relating to the Middle East, East Asia, and nonproliferation.

In Washington, DC, Ms. Germain has also held positions in the offices of Russian Affairs, Israel-Palestinian Affairs, and Maghreb Affairs. Her other overseas tours were Tel Aviv, London, and Moscow.  She joined the Foreign Service in 1995.

Ms. Germain was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Hunter College High School and holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University, an M.A. in English from Columbia University, and an MPhil in computer speech and language processing from Cambridge University.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Germain worked as a computer programmer and then as a science journalist. She speaks Bosnian and Polish, has studied Russian, and thinks she still remembers some French and Hebrew.

Rt. Hon Lord Eric Pickles

Lord Pickles was appointed Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues in September 2015. He works closely with a wide range of Holocaust academics, survivors, and educational and social organizations in the United Kingdom. Along with the former Labour Cabinet Minister, Ed Balls, he co-chairs the U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial Foundation. First elected to Parliament in 1992, he retired as MP for Brentwood and Ongar at the 2017 general election. He was previously Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Dr. Robert Williams

Dr. Robert Williams is the Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. In addition, he is an Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, and on the steering committee of the German and US government-funded Global Task Force Against Holocaust Distortion. Previously, he was deputy director for international affairs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, deputy head of scholarly initiatives at the museum, a member of the US delegation to the IHRA, and the long-time chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial.

He has played several leadership roles in international initiatives focused on Holocaust, antisemitism, and extremism issues. Robert regularly advises international organizations and governments on these and related topics, has led major initiatives on access to archives, and helped establish the US-German government dialogue on Holocaust issues. His research specialties include German history, US and Russian foreign policy, propaganda and disinformation, and contemporary antisemitism. He recently completed a co-edited, 40-chapter volume for Routledge on the history of antisemitism and is preparing a separate monograph on the political and cultural rehabilitation of perpetrators of the Holocaust and other mass atrocity crimes.

Dr. Williams’ research specialties include German history, U.S. and Russian foreign policy, propaganda and disinformation, and contemporary antisemitism.

His latest co-edited book, The Routledge History of Antisemitism, will be published in September 2023. He is also working on a separate monograph that focuses on the political and cultural rehabilitation of Holocaust perpetrators.

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Start: September 06, 2023 / 3:00 PM
Cost: Free to the public
price: Free to the public