Dr. Moshe Kantor - President of the ECTR
Moshe Kantor is a prominent public figure, international philanthropist and scientist.
He is known worldwide for his dedication to the cause of tolerance and understanding between people and his relentless fight against antisemitism, racism and other forms of intolerance.
In 2005, Moshe Kantor founded the World Holocaust Forum Foundation (WHF), established to support Holocaust remembrance activities for the sake of preserving the historical memory of nations all over the world and preventing future tragedies. The same year, he initiated and organised, in partnership with WHF, the first “Let My People Live!” International Forum in Krakow, Poland, to mark 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since then, the Forum has acquired great support from the European Union institutions and Heads of State as well as high-ranking politicians and distinguished personalities. It has become a tradition to organise the Forum on historical dates and sites related to the Shoah. The Fourth “Let My People Live!” International Forum was organised in 2015 in Prague and Theresienstadt, Czech Republic, in collaboration with the President of the Czech Republic and the President of the European Parliament.
In 2006 Kantor founded the European Jewish Fund (EJF), which focuses on promoting Jewish life throughout Europe by supporting educational and leadership programmes aimed at reinforcing Jewish identity, culture and traditions, especially by re-connecting people with their rich and vital Jewish heritage. The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe founded by Moshe Kantor in 2007 is today the largest non-governmental expert institution of its kind uniting leading world-renowned specialists on non-proliferation of nuclear arms, materials and delivery vehicles.
Moshe Kantor is also the founder and president of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR). Created in 2008, ECTR is a non-governmental organisation composed of former European Heads of State, Nobel Peace Prize laureates and other world-renowned individuals for their achievements in promoting tolerance. From 2008 until 2014, ECTR was co-chaired by Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of Poland. Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has assumed this position since 2015. The ECTR was established to monitor European countries’ adherence to principles of democracy and tolerance and to develop practical initiatives aimed at promoting mutual understanding and reconciliation between peoples and cultures.
In light of rising antisemitism worldwide, he initiated in 2010 the creation of the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry in Tel Aviv University and the Moshe Kantor database for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. The Kantor Center’s team, headed by Prof. Dina Porat since its inception, provides an academic framework for research and awareness raising in three main directions: the monitoring and analysis of antisemitism worldwide; domestic and international legislation for equality; and the evolving developments in contemporary Jewish European demography and culture – all areas in which Dr. Kantor has been investing remarkable efforts, and reached notable achievements, on the national and international levels. The Kantor Center publishes annually the ‘Antisemitism Worldwide Report’ recognised internationally and used by European Union institutions and international organisations as one of the main sources of information and reliable research on the trends, sources and manifestations of antisemitism in the world.
In 2010, Yad Vashem nominated Moshe Kantor as Member of the Directorate. In 2012, Moshe Kantor launched the SACC programme, which deals with the security and crisis management of European Jewish communities. Due to the aggravation of the threat, the programme expanded into a new entity “SACC by EJC” which opened its headquarters in Vienna in 2016.
During the 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) that took place in Budapest in 2013, Moshe Kantor was elected as Chairman of the WJC Policy Council. He was re-elected in the same capacity at the 15th WJC Plenary Assembly that was held in New York in April 2017.
Within the scope of his philanthropic activities he is involved in numerous organisations in the following capacities: Patron and Honorary Life President of Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Patron of Kantor King Solomon School, Patron of the Community Security Trust (CST), Patron of Jewish Care, Patron of Jewish Leadership Council, Member of Royal Opera House Board of Honorary Directors, Sponsor of Royal National institute of Blind People, etc.
Moshe Kantor graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute (1976) and has a PHD in Spacecraft Automatic Control Systems (1981).
Hon. Tony Blair
Chairman of the ECTR Board
Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007. He has been appointed as Chairman of the ECTR Board in 2015 and since then supports the goals of our organization worldwide.
During his time in office, the UK economy enjoyed record growth. His government made major improvements in Britain’s public services, particularly healthcare and education, through a programme of investment and reform.
Britain’s first ever statutory minimum wage was introduced. The Prime Minister led the successful London 2012 Olympics bid; and oversaw the peace process for Northern Ireland. He introduced the first elected Mayor for London, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly.
He was a staunch advocate of an interventionist foreign policy, in particular in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. He trebled the UK’s aid programme for Africa and introduced the first environmental programme in the UK to combat climate change.
Since leaving office Tony Blair has spent most of his time working on three areas: supporting governments to deliver effectively for their people, working for peace in the Middle East, and countering extremism. He has established the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change to work on some of the most difficult challenges in the world today, including how the centre ground of politics renews itself with practical policy solutions.
Bernard-Henri Lévy - Special Ambassador to the ECTR
Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of the foremost philosophers, journalists, activists, and filmmakers in France today. Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a human face, Who killed Daniel Pearl?, and most recently The Genius of Judaism and The Empire and the Five Kings. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. His films include the documentaries Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo, Peshmerga (2016) and The Battle of Mosul (2017). Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racism and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.
In 1981 Lévy published L'Idéologie française ("The French Ideology"), arguably his most influential work, in which he offers a dark picture of French history. It was strongly criticised for its journalistic character and unbalanced approach to French history by some of the most respected French academics, including Marxism-critic Raymond Aron (see his Memoirs).
In the 1990s, Lévy called for European and American intervention in the Bosnian War during the breakup of Yugoslavia. He spoke about the Serb POW camps which were holding Muslims. He referred to the Jewish experience in the Holocaust as providing a lesson that mass murder cannot be ignored by those in other nations.
At the end of the 1990s, with Benny Lévy and Alain Finkielkraut, Lévy founded an Institute on Levinassian Studies at Jerusalem, in honor of Emmanuel Levinas. He is member of nonprofit advocacy group JCall. In March 2006, Lévy was one of twelve signatories of a letter entitled, "MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism."' addressing concerns for free speech and thought in response to violent and deadly protests in the Muslim world related to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy that arose in Denmark.
Jose Maria Aznar - Member of the ECTR Board
José María Aznar is the former Prime Minister of Spain (1996-2004). He was born in 1953, in Madrid, Spain.
He earned a Degree in Law from the Complutense University in Madrid. In 1989, following the re-founding of the Partido Popular (PP), he was the PP candidate for President of the Spanish Government (Prime Minister). The following year he was elected Chairman of the party. He once again headed the list of PP candidates in 1993, 1996 and the year 2000. Throughout these four legislatures, he served as a MP for Madrid. Between 1989 and 1996 he was the leader of the Opposition.
He became President of the Spanish Government in 1996. Following the PP´s repeated success in the year 2000, Aznar was elected again. He held the presidency until the elections of 2004, at which he voluntarily stood down in favour of a new candidate. Throughout his time as President of the Government, he led a significant process of economic and social reform. Liberalization and competition policies, budget control, and rational public spending and tax cuts created almost 5 million new jobs.
During Aznar's time as President, Spain enjoyed its first two reductions in income tax since the advent of democracy. He is the President of FAES (Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis). He is also a Distinguished Scholar at Georgetown University, where he teaches seminars on contemporary European politics at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
He is the Honorary Chairman of the Partido Popular, and Chairman of the Christian Democrat and People’s Parties International (CDI).
Erhard Busek - Member of the ECTR Board
Erhard Busek is the former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe since 2002. He was born on March 25, 1941, in Vienna, Austria.
Erhard Busek received his law degree from the University of Vienna in 1963. During his studies, he also served as Chairman of the Austrian Youth Council. He began his professional career 1964 as legal adviser to the association of parlamentarians of the Austrian People`s Party, he then served as Secretary General of the Austrian Federation for Trade and Commerce (1968-75).
In 1975 he was appointed Secretary General of the Austrian People`s Party and elected Member of Parliament later that year. 1976 Dr. Busek entered municipal politics. He was City Councilor and after the elections in 1978, he won the seat of Deputy-Mayor of Vienna, a position he held until 1987. He was appointed Minister for Science and Research in April 1989. In 1994 until May 1995 Dr. Busek was Minister for Education. of Faculty of Humanities and Letters
Dr. Busek was elected Chairman of the Austrian People´s Party, 1991 and appointed Vice-Chancellor of Austria from 1991 to 1995. From March 2000 until December 2001 he was Special Representative of the Austrian Government for the Enlargement of the European Union.From January 2002 he was Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, a position he covered until the handover of the mandate of the Stability Pact to the Regional Co-operation Council. Besides this function he is Coordinator of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), President of the European Forum Alpbach, Chairman of the "Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe".
Igor S. Ivanov - - Member of the ECTR Board
Igor S. Ivanov is a professor at Moscow State Institute for International Relations. Previously, he served as minister of foreign affairs, from 1998 to 2004, and secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation from 2004 to 2007. Ivanov holds the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He took part in the work of several U.N. General Assembly sessions, many international conferences, and in particular, co-chaired the Bosnia settlement talks in Dayton, Ohio. From 1991 to 1993, he represented the USSR and then Russia as ambassador to Spain.
Ivanov also worked as a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, USSR Academy of Sciences. He has a Ph.D. in history. He has published a number of books and articles on the history of Russian foreign affairs and foreign policy, which have been translated into many languages. He regularly attends political and scientific gatherings both in Russia and globally to speak on the most topical international issues. Ivanov has been honored with numerous Russian and foreign orders
Milan Kučan - Member of the ECTR Board
Milan Kučan is the former first President of the Republic of Slovenia (1992-1997 and 1997-2002). He was born on 14 January 1941 in Krizevci, a village near the Slovenian-Hungarian border.
Milan Kucan embarked on his professional political career immediately after obtaining his degree in law. His reformist attitudes and commitment to democratic political principles had a great impact in Slovenia in the mid-eighties after his return from Belgrade where he faced great opposition and gained valuable political experience in the former Yugoslavian federal bodies.
As leader of the League of Communists of Slovenia he declared his commitment to open political dialogueimmediately upon assuming that position in 1986. He assured the citizens of Slovenia that he would do everything to expand the sphere of political freedoms and respect for human dignity. He supported the separation of the party from the state as well as political pluralism. Two years into his presidency, the Slovene political springtime came into full bloom in the shape of plurality and legitimacy of different political orientations, and foreign reporters wrote about Slovenia as an island of political freedom in the former political East.
Milan Kucan voiced his objection to national inequality and lack of democracy in the former Yugoslavia, as well as to those currents that were leading to states of emergency and bloody war. He did the same when therights of the Albanian ethnic minority and the autonomy of Kosovo were being defended. When the former Yugoslavia started turning into a danger zone threatening peace and security in Europe, he was seeking ways towards an agreement on the peaceful dismantling of Yugoslavia through the assertion of the right of nations to self-determination. He is a committed advocate of non-violent solutions. He proved this during the time when Slovenia itself fell prey to the aggression of the Yugoslav army, and managed to obtain political consensus for the Brioni Declaration, which was decisive for peace in Slovenia. Milan Kucan was leading Slovenia when the country made true its dream of independence and became a member of the United Nations.
Ever since 1989 when political pluralism blossomed with the founding of new political associations and parties in Slovenia, Milan Kucan has remained the most popular personality in Slovenia. In 1990 he was elected President of the Presidency of Slovenia - then still a former Yugoslav republic - and opted for suprapartite political action. He strove for the greatest possible consensus among political forces, as well as for national reconciliation. In 1992, in the first direct elections in the independent Republic of Slovenia, when he also stood as an independent candidate on the civil list, he was elected in the first round against seven opponents, winning 64 per cent of the votes.
Alfred Spiro Moisiu - - Member of the ECTR Board
Alfred Spiro Moisiu is the former President of the Republic of (2002-2007). He was born on December 1,1929, in Shkodër.
In 1979, Moisiu received a PhD in military science. From 1981 he was Deputy Minister of Defense until October 1982. In December 1991 he was appointed Minister of Defense in Vilson Ahmeti's technocratic government. He held that post until April 1992 when the first Government of the Democratic Party, led byAleksander Meksi, was formed.
The new executive invited Moisiu to work as a counselor to the Minister of Defense. Moisiu's advice was to concentrate the efforts to the reconstruction of the armed forces that were in bad condition, and to start preparations for joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). In 1994 he founded the Albanian North Atlantic Association and was elected as its president. On January 24, 1995 he signed an individual association treaty binding Albania with NATO's Partnership for Peace project. From 1995, Moisiu attended to the VIPs' courses of the NATO College in Rome.
When the Albanian Socialist Party came to power in 1997, Moisiu lost his post in the Ministry. In the following years, he took an active part in extra-governmental activity, organizing international and all-Albanian conferences where issues of security and defense in South East Europe, armament control and collecting arms from civil persons were discussed.
In 2002, under pressure from international organization, Moisiu was chosen as a consensus candidate for the presidency after the end of Rexhep Meidani's term. Moisiu was found fitting for that post since he was a researcher, was politically neutral, was known as an effective mediator (a quality much appreciated in Albania, which tends to inner quarrels) and had a decisive pro-Western and NATO orientation.
Moisiu was elected by the People's Assembly by a vote of 97 to 19 (with 14 abstentions) and he was sworn in for a five-year term as president on July 24, 2002.
After the constitutional reform of November 1998, politics is mainly the task of the government. Moisiu promised to contribute to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, the stabilization of the judiciary system and the integration of Albania into Euro-Atlantic structures.
Göran Persson - Member of the ECTR Board
Göran Persson has been Prime Minister of Sweden since 1996 to 2006. He was born in 1949, in Vingåker, Sweden.
After having studied at the University College in Örebro, he embarked on a career in the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League. Thereafter he held several assignments within the municipality of Katrineholm, including as chairman of the Board of Education. In 1979, Göran Persson was elected Member of Parliament. After five years as an MP, he returned to Katrineholm as Municipal Commissioner.
Mr. Persson has said that his tenure as Municipal Commissioner gave him insights that became instrumental for his continued political activities. A key lesson was that society constantly evolves. As he said, “We will always face new challenges. People’s needs and demands grow and change all the time. Previous challenges return.”
The will to assist in improving Swedish society brought Mr. Persson back to Stockholm to take office as Minister for Education and Science. Between 1989 and 1991, he was responsible for matters relating to compulsory and upper secondary school education, vocational training and public education.
Mr. Persson was appointed Minister for Finance in 1994. One of his most important tasks as Finance Minister was to stabilize Sweden’s budget. Mr. Persson was elected Chair of the Social Democratic Party in March 1996.
Later that year, he became Prime Minister of Sweden. He was reelected in 1998 and 2002. Under Göran Persson’s leadership, the Swedish Government has pursed an active foreign policy aiming at promoting international peace and development. Mr. Persson remains strongly committed to, among other things, reducing unemployment, securing the quality of education, improving the integration of immigrants, protecting the environment and contributing to a world in peace and freedom.
Göran Persson’s was the initiator of The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in January 26-28, 2000. The response to the Swedish Government’s initiative exceeded all expectations. During the conferences, Stockholm became a meeting place for politicians, decision makers and some of the world’s foremost experts on genocide and other crimes against humanity, as well as for representatives of a range of organisations. People who themselves survived persecution and violation, including during the Holocaust and the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, also shared their own experiences.
Rita Süssmuth - Member of the ECTR Board
Prof. Rita Süssmuth is former President of the German Federal Parliament and former Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Women, Youth and Health. She was born on February 17,1937, in Wuppertal, Germany.
In 2006 Prof. Süssmuth become the Chair of the EU High Level Group on 'Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their full Participation in the Labor Market'. She also joined the OECD Development Center Project 'Gaining from Migration' Advisory Board in Jan 2006. She was member of the Global Commission on International Migration, which presented a report to Kofi Annan in October 2005 called 'Migration in and interconnected World: New Directions for Action'. She is the President of the OTA-University in Berlin.
Prof. Süssmuth was Chair of the Independent Council of Experts on Migration and Integration, appointed by the German Government from May 2003 until December 2004. She is also a member of the Steering Committee, "Intercultural Conflict and Societal Integration" at the Social Science Research Center Berlin and holds a series of other assignments and memberships with national and international bodies. From 2000 to 2001, Prof. Süssmuth presided over the ‚Independent Commission on Migration to Germany' which resulted in the July 2001 report on ‚Steering Migration and Fostering Integration'.
Prof. Süssmuth has a long distinguished political and academic career. She held several senior positions including Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the German Federal Parliament. She has also been Director of the Research Institute "Woman and Society" and Professor of International Comparative Educational Science at the Universities of Bochum and Dortmund.
In 2006 she was awarded the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal for Sexual Reform for her courageous and far-sighted HIV/AIDS politics whilst federal minister. In addition, she currently sits on the Advisory Board for the German Foundation for World Population.
Vilma Trajkovska - Member of the ECTR Board
Vilma Trajkovska is the former First Lady of the Republic of Macedonia and the widow of the late Boris Trajkovski, who was the second President of the Republic of Macedonia from 1999 to 2004.
Currently, she serves as Director of Publication Services of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. She is also the Founder of VITRA, a non-profit and non-governmental foundation established in Macedonia in 2001 aimed at affirmation of women and their role in the comprehensive development of society. As the former First Lady, Mrs. Trajkovska played a dynamic role in Macedonia, serving as hostess to the wives and spouses of visiting foreign dignitaries, representing Macedonia abroad on trips with her husband, and hosting and attending various conferences and forums in Macedonia and abroad.
She was a patron of the International Conference “Women in 21st Century” held in 2002 in Ohrid which focused on the role of women in the development of democracy in South East Europe.
Mrs. Trajkovska is the Founder of the Boris Trajkovski International Foundation.
Georgios Vasos Vassiliou - Member of the ECTR Board
Georgios Vasos Vassiliou was the third President of the Republic of Cyprus from 1988 to 1993. He was also the founder and leader of the Cypriot United Democrats party (EDI) and a highly successful businessman.
He was elected president as an independent candidate with support from AKEL in 1988, succeeding Spyros Kyprianou, who had served two presidential terms. During his time in office, Cyprus experienced economic growth and he was responsible for a number of reforms including stopping the police practice of keeping files on Cypriot citizens' political beliefs. He worked towards a negotiated solution to the Cyprus dispute based on the Ghali set of ideas, although the dispute remained unresolved by the time he left office in 1993.
After he lost the 1993 elections to Glafkos Klerides, he founded the Free Democrats Movement and he was elected president of the party. He was elected member of the Cypriot Parliamient, while his political party won two seats (out of 56) in the Parliamentary Elections in 1996. The same year the party was merged with the political party ADISOK and formed a new party United Democrats.
He elected as well president of United Democrats and remained president until 2005. In the Parliamentary Elections of 2001 his party lost one of its seats and he wasn't re-elected. Following the Cyprus referendum of 2004 in which he was a strong supporter of the Annan Plan he resigned from the presidency of United Democrats.
He has also served as Chief Negotiator for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union from 1998 to 2003.
Vaira Vike-Freiberga - Member of the ECTR Board
Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga is the former President of the Republic of Latvia (1999-2007). She was born on December 1, 1937 in Riga, Latvia.
Since 1957, she has been actively engaged in community service, focusing on questions of Latvian identity and culture, and the political future of the Baltic States.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga has held prominent positions in national and international scientific and scholarly organisations, as well as in a number of Canadian governmental, institutional, academic and interdisciplinary committees, where she acquired extensive administrative experience. Recipient of many medals, prizes and honours for distinguished work in the humanities and social sciences.
In June 1998 she was elected Professor emerita at the University of Montreal and returned to her native land, Latvia, where on 19 October the Prime Minister named her Director of the newly founded Latvian Institute.
On 17 June 1999, Vaira Vike-Freiberga was elected President of the Republic of Latvia by the Parliament (Saeima). In 2003 she was re-elected for a second term of four years with 88 votes out of 96.
She has actively exercised the powers conferred to the President by the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and has played a leading role in achieving Latvia’s membership in NATO and the European Union. Invited speaker at numerous international events. Outspoken pundit on social issues, moral values, European historical dialogue, and democracy, she was awarded the 2005 Hannah Arendt Prize for political thought.
Member of the Council of Women World Leaders since 1999. Regularly invited participant to the World Economic Forum (Davos), and to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Achievement since 2000.
Since 1999, she has received many medals and awards, twenty-seven Orders of Merit and ten honorary doctorates. Three biographies about President Vaira Vike-Freiberga have been published in Latvian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish and Russian.
She is active in international politics, was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform and was official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006.
She remains active in the international arena and continues to speak in defense of liberty, equality and social justice, and for the need of Europe to acknowledge the whole of its history.
She is a well-known pro-european, as such, in December 2007 she was named vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long term future of the European Union. She is also known for her work in psycholinguistics, semiotics and analysis of the oral literature of her native country.