First Coast High School senior, Cody Williams, along with young people from 62 countries and five continents, were invited to Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies in Israel to participate in a three-day International Youth Congress recognizing International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The International Youth Congress is a program that was initiated by Yad Vashem, the official Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, to bring together students from all around the world to expand their knowledge of Holocaust-related issues.
Cody was one of two students selected to represent the United States at the all-expense paid conference. To be eligible for selection, students had to be high schools seniors, 18 years old, and recommended by a teacher who was a graduate of Yad Vashem’s International School.
The congress, which was made up of students from different religious backgrounds speaking some 30 different languages, studied Holocaust remembrance and its importance to coming generations.
They also discussed major historical, ethical, educational and philosophical issues with some of the following leaders: the President of the state of Israel, Shimon Peres; Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni; Education Minister, Yuli Tamir; and Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the patron of the event.
During their stay in Israel, participants also had the opportunity to visit a memorial at Yad Vashem, meet with Holocaust survivors and tour Jerusalem.
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