On March 9, 2011, in the conference hall of the Holiday Inn Hotel, a Youth Leadership Forum entitled as Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow – Together Facing the Future took place, organized by the president of the Youth Club, Olivera Jovanova.
Participants from various student organizations in Macedonia and abroad took part in the Forum, as well as representatives of religious communities and political parties. The president of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), Benjamin Zagzag, and the president of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), Oliver Worth, participated in the Forum, as well as representatives of the Jewish communities of Thessaloniki, Belgrade and the Republic of Macedonia.
We were honored to welcome Rabbi Andrew Baker to open the forum by addressing the participants, and then the president of EUJS talked about the importance of the Holocaust Memorial Center and the notion of tolerance.
Tolerance is no easy thing to master in this world. However, we must never become tolerant towards the intolerant.
What we need today is a sense of unity against the intolerant. We need to learn from the Holocaust that our actions are being watched and assessed. Any weakness in this unity will be scrutinized and abused. The global unity that faces evil must be absolute to face the dangers of today and defeat the intolerant. We can not repeat past mistakes.
The president of WUJS also addressed the participants and emphasized: Of course when we remember those Jews, we remember not only the fact that they were Jewish, but they were people whose descendants would today be citizens of Macedonia. Their loss was the loss of all of us, not only the Jewish community, but of the modern nation of Macedonia, and humanity as a whole.
The president of the Youth Club, Olivera Jovanova presented the Jewish Community, the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia and the Memorial Center, and emphasized the joint effort of all citizens of the Republic of Macedonia in building Memorials of this kind.
The Holocaust Memorial Center is not just another museum in the city, it is not just another place of gathering, neither just another cultural monument nor a center of events. It is something that our parents have built together. Mine and yours – ours!
The second part of the Forum was an open discussion on various topics, such as the importance of the Memorial Center, opportunities for cooperation between the organizations that participated in the Forum, and education in relation to the Holocaust in Macedonia and abroad. Also, different initiatives for cooperation between youth and student organizations from Israel and Palestine were discussed. Moreover, the participants provided suggestions related to the Memorial Center, such as organizing group student visits, and activities on the occasion of the International Holocaust Day in the Center, such as debates and discussions.
The presence of the president of WUJS at the Forum made it possible for the Youth Club Anachnu to apply for full-fledged membership to this organization, which will provide the Club with the right to vote under the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.