Speech — Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration, Closing Remarks, 27 January 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us for this beautiful, moving and important evening of commemoration.

I would like to specially thank Tony Samuels, chair of Surrey County Council, for sharing his thoughts with us, Beatrice Gould for telling her story, and Rabbi Alex Goldberg for acting as our host and inspiration throughout.

We are very fortunate to be able to gather together to re-affirm the principles of acceptance, tolerance and inclusivity as we have done this evening. Peace, truth and civilisation depend upon our personal commitment to ‘be the light.’ Our individual light may seem small and insignificant, but it acts as a beacon to those nearest to us – in this way, it spreads across the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the University of Surrey’s condemnation of hatred and discrimination towards any individual or group in our society. We have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and we apply the spirit and guidance of these principles as broadly as possible in the Surrey community.  The University has been privileged to count refugees amongst our staff and students since our Battersea days. They enrich our community in countless ways, and help us as an institution to shine our light against prejudice and ignorance.

In the spirit of this year’s theme, may I invite you to join me now in lighting your own candle wherever you are today, in a personal act of remembrance and re-dedication to the triumph of light over darkness.

Thank you.