We are pleased to announce that Laura Marks OBE will succeed Cathy Ashley as Chair of the HMDT Board of Trustees, with Dilwar Hussain appointed Vice Chair.
Laura Marks is the founder of Mitzvah Day, which encourages people of different faiths to come together to engage with local charities, celebrating the values of justice, acts of kindness, and environmental awareness, operating now in 20 countries. Laura is also co-founder of Nisa-Nashim, dedicated to bringing the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain closer together by setting up groups of women nationally to build personal friendships, grow as leaders and benefit wider society. She served as Senior Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews from 2013 to 2015 and as an HMDT trustee for the past three years.
Taking over as Vice Chair is Dilwar Hussain, who works in academic research and policy consultancy, with primary research interests in social policy, Muslim identity and Islamic reform in the modern world. Dilwar is a trustee of Three Faiths Forum and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University.
Laura Marks said:
‘I’m delighted to be appointed as Chair of HMDT as commemorating both the Holocaust and the subsequent genocides is a duty for all of us, regardless of race, religion or background. In a dangerous world, learning the lessons from these catastrophes of the past is essential.’
Dilwar Hussain said:
‘It’s a great honour to serve as Vice Chair of such an important national charity. Now more than ever, we need to come together and remember the horrors of the Holocaust and genocides that have come after so that we can build a more peaceful world.’
Laura succeeds Cathy Ashley, who has completed two terms as Chair of HMDT. During her tenure the number of commemorative HMD activities rose from 758 to 5,590. Cathy oversaw HMDT’s organisation of the commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 2015, which included a BBC broadcast of the UK Commemorative Event for HMD that year.
Cathy Ashley said:
‘HMDT’s work is particularly poignant and important for me given my own family history. It has been an honour to serve as the Chair and I have been particularly privileged to have worked with some extraordinary people – including staff, trustees and most memorably Holocaust and genocide survivors. There has never been a more important time to commemorate the Holocaust and subsequent genocides – it is critical that not only do we not forget, but that we reflect on the consequences of what happens when hatred, discrimination and intolerance are unleashed against sections of our society. I wish Laura every success for the coming years.’
Laura Marks said:
‘I want to thank Cathy for her unstinting work as Chair of HMDT over the past six years. She has steered the charity with skill and care, has professionalised it and embedded it in the national psyche. She leaves a fantastic legacy with Holocaust Memorial Day continuing to increase in scale and impact each year.’