Ronald S. Lauder Fellows Emma Hallali and Vanina Meyer represented the World Jewish Congress Wednesday at UNESCO’s World Higher Education Conference (WHEC), held in Barcelona, Spain. Addressing the conference virtually from France in a talk entitled "The Role of Higher Education institutions and Students in combating antisemitism on campus,” the two Lauder Fellows addressed the vast damage to a flourishing student life that antisemitism on university campus causes.
Meyer lamented “lack of action of higher education administrations” regarding antisemitism and the inability of students to “participate in an open and respectful dialogue” on a range of issues of interest to the Jewish community. Meyer noted that the lack of a productive dialogue doesn’t only prevent college communities from being enriched through their diversity, but also leads to bigotry against Jewish students.
Agreeing with Meyer, Hallali called on administrators of higher education establishments to adopt the International Holocaust Alliance Working definition of antisemitism and implement it through staff training and support for student initiatives on combating antisemitism.
It is the first time that the World Jewish Congress has participated in the World Higher Education Conference, one of the most prominent events organised by UNESCO. The conference “aims at reshaping ideas and practices in higher education to ensure sustainable development for the planet and humanity.”