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Kenney announces Holocaust education award

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Jason Kenney lights a memorial candle in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Toronto offices of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem on Jan. 27.

TORONTO — Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has announced the creation of a new award for Canadian Holocaust educators.

Kenney took part in a Jan. 27 memorial candlelighting and wreath-laying event hosted by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem in Toronto as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

His ministry has established a one-time, $5,000 award in 2013 for the middle school or high school teacher who best exemplifies instruction on the historic genocide.

 The Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education comes as Canada gets set to chair the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), starting in March and running until it cedes the chair to a new holder in 2014.

Former Liberal MP Mario Silva will be the chairperson during Canada’s term.

The award money will be given with the understanding that it “be reinvested in Holocaust education” at the winner’s school.

“The top three finalist teachers will have their best practices and learning materials published on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website as a resource for Canada’s education community,” the ministry said in a statement.

The award winner will be announced at the IHRA Conference – formerly the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research – in Toronto in October.

“The Holocaust stands alone in the annals of human evil. It has important lessons to teach all of us, universal lessons that must not be forgotten,” Kenney said at the Jan. 27 event.

“I encourage teachers to support this award and nominate themselves or a teacher they know who is committed to Holocaust education and whose teaching philosophy and approach has a measurable impact on students.”

For details on the nomination process and requirements, visit cic.gc.ca/holocaust-award.

“Education is a key pillar of Canadian society’s outreach to the community. It is very gratifying to see the government of Canada recognize excellence in Holocaust education since educating our youth in this crucial period of history has incalculable benefits,” Fran Sonshine, national chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, said at the ceremony.

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