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EMSB Students to Attend Annual Ambassadors of Change Event in Ottawa on May 8

Montreal - Saturday, April 8, 2017

The students – along with school staff and spiritual community animators (SCA) – represent John Grant High School in Côte Saint-Luc, Outreach Alternative High School in NDG, Programme Mile End Alternative High School in Côte des Neiges, and LaurenHill Academy in Ville St. Laurent.

Organized by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, the day-long event will be divided into two parts. First, about 150 students from Quebec and Ontario will meet at the National Arts Centre from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to participate in the Ambassadors of Change Symposium. They will take part in guided group discussions, in which groups of 15 students each will be paired with a Holocaust survivor. The survivor will share their respective firsthand Holocaust experiences in their assigned groups, as the students – with the help of 15 provided questions – will facilitate discussions on the relevance of the lessons that the Holocaust has taught in today’s world, as well as how they can help promote a sense of tolerance and inclusiveness in their own communities.

The event continues at 3:30 p.m. at the Canadian War Museum, with the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony. The students will join a gathering of about 600 people, including survivors and their families, as they take part in a ceremony that helps to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust and the six million Jews who tragically died at the hands of the Nazis, and to instill the values of respect for human rights around the world.

A number of VIPs and dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony. They include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, leaders of the major federal political parties, Members of Parliament, senators, ambassadors, justices from the Supreme Court of Canada, and Israeli Ambassador to Canada Nimrod Barkan, who will deliver the keynote address.

A day-long event like this is important from the point-of-view of remembering the Holocaust, why it happened and how not to repeat the mistakes of history,” said Frank Lofeodo, the EMSB’s Education Consultant for Guidance and Spiritual and Community Animation. “It also encourages to foster a spirit of inclusion, understanding and acceptance.  The Holocaust-related programming that most of our schools do, which includes visits to the Montreal Holocaust Museum and having survivors as guest speakers, helps students realize the message that all people have similarities that bring us together, and that diversity is essential. As well, they can acknowledge that this terrible thing happened, and to make sure that we don’t go down that road again.

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