Day of Peace Observed in Vitebsk

Vitebsk, Belarus - Peace activists and government officials held a conference in Vitebsk on the International Day of Peace, September 21. The event was held in the conference room of the Regional Institute for the Development of Education. Ambassador for Peace Zoya Karpovna Krot, head of the Vitebsk City branch of the Belarus Peace Fund, hosted the program. The event attracted some 200 representatives of municipal organs, NGOs, religious and youth organizations.

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The conference theme, "May the Tragedy of Katyn Never Be Repeated," introduced a joint project by the National Archive of Belarus and the Belarus Peace Fund for supporting the survivors of World War II and commemorating the burned villages.

Dr. Vyacheslav Dmitrievich Cheremnev, a famous researcher and the head archivist of Belarus, gave a keynote address. He reported on the progress of the World War II historical research by Belarus scholars.

Ambassador for Peace Alexander Ivanovich Pasukevich, chairman of the Belarus Peace Fund, addressed the gathering. He congratulated the guests on the International Day of Peace and gave a keynote address on "Settling the Status of the Villages Burned during World War II." During World War II, about 9,000 villages were burned in the country. Many were burned together with all the villagers. "We should educate the young generation not to repeat the tragedy brought about by Fascism," he said. He expressed regret that despite many peace projects and inter-ethnic educational efforts, Belarus experienced a terrorist act on the Minsk Metro April 11, 2011.

Zinaida Dmitrievna Boryachko, a former prisoner in a German concentration camp during World War II, shared her life story. Her village of Vysochany was destroyed, and her fellow villagers were killed for supporting the Soviet partisan movement against the Fascists. She communicated the story to the government, and in May 2011 a monument was installed to commemorate the heroes.

Many other scholars and representatives of regional authorities spoke. With such events, Belarus Ambassadors for Peace draw public attention to the need for peace education by commemorating the heroes who safeguarded peace in the past.

Konstantin Krylov, Secretary General of UPF-Russia, represented UPF at the event as was recognized by the organizers as a special international guest of the conference.

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