Forty members of the Ronald S. Lauder Fellowship from 19 countries gathered in Brussels and Paris from May 29th to June 2nd to meet with members of the European Parliament, representatives from the European Commission, policymakers from NATO, ambassadors from UNESCO, and leaders of the French Jewish community during WJC’s inaugural Diplomacy Summit. Participating in the delegation were the first three cohorts of Ronald S. Lauder Fellows; previous Diplomacy Summits were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The gathering kicked off in Brussels where the Fellows met with policymakers from the European Commission and European Parliament to discuss the rise of antisemitism, the value of young leaders on the world stage, and the importance of bridge-building and dialogue.
These meetings were followed by a dinner hosted by the Fellows with Jewish partner organizations based in Brussels. In attendance were representatives from B’nai Brith International, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), and many others. The last day in Brussels was spent at NATO headquarters, where the Fellows met with key policymakers and discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the role of NATO on the international stage, and how NATO assesses crises.
The following day was spent at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. The fellows met with the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Permanent Delegation of Israel to International Organizations Yaron Gamburg, with whom they discussed Israel’s role on the international stage. The Fellows then met with Austrian Ambassador to UNESCO Claudia Reinprecht, who was instrumental in the removal of the antisemitic Aalst carnival from the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The Fellows also met with policymakers at UNESCO from whom they learned about the partnership between the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO to combat Holocaust denial and distortion. The day concluded with a meeting with Mr. Robert Ejnes, the Executive Director of CRIF—WJC’s affiliate in France—who spoke about the history of the Jewish people in France and provided an overview of the state of antisemitism in France and how the Jewish community is responding to it.
The Summit concluded with a discussion about the role of young Jewish leaders and the importance of a thriving international network to connect them.