Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

January 31, 2008 09:34 ET

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Reflects on Highlights in 2007

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 31, 2008) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) continues to positively impact the lives of Canadian citizens and affect social change through ongoing community activism and by offering a variety of educational programmes. The organization proudly reflects on the numerous initiatives it spearheaded in 2007, each of which underscores the organization's focus on fostering tolerance and understanding of others.

"FSWC is an agile organization which directly utilizes funds raised to support initiatives that promote justice, tolerance and human rights," said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of FSWC. "We are possibly one of the most impactful organizations in Canada, and affect thousands of citizens every single year. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments in 2007 and are looking forward to continued success in 2008."

Highlights in 2007 include:

Active Community Participation:

- The Resource and Leadership Training Centre hosted 56 diversity training workshops attended by more than 2,000 people.

- Close to 500 educators, journalists, students, police officers and command staff from across the country participated in the Tools for Tolerance® program.

- Hundreds of guests attended a series of parlour-style events featuring high-profile guest speakers such as: Washington-based policy analyst, Larry Haas; Canadian Muslim feminist, author and activist, Irshad Manji; Ilan Berman, Vice-President of the Washington Policy Institute and author of 'Tehran Rising'; and former head of the Shin Bet and current member of the Knesset, Avi Dichter.

- Over 80 donors attended a briefing by Alan Baker, Israel's Ambassador to Canada at the Resource and Leadership Training Center.

- More than 900 people from the community, and over 3,000 high school students from across Ontario attended educational screenings of "I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal".

- An estimated 10,000 public school students attended screenings of "The Shop on Main Street", the musical drama based on the novel by Ladislav Grosman.

Notable Events:

- Eighteen Canadians participated in briefings at the Canadian Embassy, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Washington Holocaust Museum during the "12 Powerful Days in D.C." mission to Washington D.C. Meetings took place with Senator Joe Lieberman, and former CIA Director, James Woolsey.

- Rosalie Sharp was honoured as FSWC's 2007 Woman of Valour. Nearly 400 women attended the event, which raised approximately $240,000.

- The 2007 Spirit of Hope Benefit was attended by 2,000 people and raised $1.8 million - a 41% increase over funds raised at the 2006 gala, and an 80% increase over the year prior. Keynote speaker was the Honourable Al Gore, former Vice-President of the United States.

Research and Surveys:

- FSWC commissioned a COMPAS Research survey of 900 university students that clearly demonstrated opposition to student funding of anti-Israel groups and hinted that radicalism may be backfiring on anti-Israel groups.

- The "Digital Hate and Terrorism" report published by FSWC in 2007 included more than 600 examples of online extremism culled from 7,000 hate and terrorist websites.

Center Initiatives:

- The online experience was enhanced to include: a "Learning Center" for educators, students and the public for ongoing research; a searchable directory of the 850 books and DVDs on terrorism, antisemitism, genocide and human rights included in the Harry and Barb Silverberg Reference Collection; and a calendar and registration system for upcoming workshops and events.

- An Advisory Council for the Resource Center was created to help define its vision and direction and monitor progress. The Council is being chaired by Tom Koffler and Harry Silverberg.

About Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is a Canadian human rights organization dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. It has 25,000 members across Canada, and confronts important contemporary issues including racism, antisemitism, terrorism and genocide. The Center is affiliated with the world-wide, Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, an accredited Non-Government Organization with status at international agencies, including the United Nations, UNESCO, OSCE and the Council of Europe. With over 400,000 members of all faiths around the world, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has offices in New York, Miami, Paris, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires and Toronto. Simon Wiesenthal died in 2005 after devoting his life to preserving the memories of the victims of the Holocaust, while simultaneously seeking justice for the war criminals. Visit: www.fswc.ca.

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