It was with deep sadness that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance learned yesterday of the death of former IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu. Ambassador Constantinescu was a highly-respected colleague within the IHRA community, where he skillfully chaired the organization in 2016.

“Mihnea was a highly professional diplomat with a sharp wit and real warmth of character. I had the pleasure of working closely with him throughout 2016 and was struck by his unwavering commitment to combatting antisemitism and safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust. Even after his chairmanship ended, he continued to be active in the fight against antisemitism. I will miss him as a distinguished colleague, but also as a friend,” said IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr Kathrin Meyer.

A respected career diplomat, Constantinescu held senior positions in the Romanian Foreign Ministry and served as a diplomatic advisor to several prime ministers. He acted as Chair of the IHRA from March 2016 until March 2017 and was instrumental in achieving the adoption of a non-legally binding Working Definition of Antisemitism to guide the IHRA in its work.

“By adopting this working definition, the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition,” Constantinescu said at the time. On 1 June 2017 the European Parliament voted to adopt a resolution calling on member states and their institutions to adopt and apply the working definition.

The IHRA community extends its sincere condolences to Ambassador Constantinescu’s family, colleagues and friends. He will be greatly missed.