Lorena De Vita

Dr. Lorena De Vita is Assistant Professor in the History of International Relations at Utrecht University and a Board Member of UPEACE The Hague. She specializes in the history of global diplomacy by analyzing the role of the past in international relations.

She is fascinated by the complexity - and possibility - of dialogue and cooperation in international politics. She wrote her PhD on the onset of German-Israeli reconciliation in the aftermath of the Holocaust at Aberystwyth University (UK) after having studied at the University of Roma Tre (Italy) and at the London School of Economics (UK).

Lorena De Vita held a DAAD Research Fellowship at the Jena Center for 20th Century History at the Friedrich-Schiller-University, a Joseph Wulf Fellowship at the Memorial House of the Wannsee-Conference, Berlin and a Foreign Ministry Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Richard Koebner Minerva Center for the Study of German History). As a firm believer in the importance to contribute to both scholarly and public debates, her publications featured both in academic outlets, i.e. Cold War History and International Affairs, and popular media, such as The Conversation and The Washington Post. She is the author of Israelpolitik: German-Israeli Relations 1949-1969 (Manchester University Press, 2020).

Lorena has been awarded the 2020 Teacher Talent Prize by Utrecht University for, inter alia, 'creating a learning environment where debate and exchange are central'.

Project description

Holocaust Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Memory and Forgetting

After 1945, the memory of the Holocaust made its way into diplomatic exchanges. Mentions of the Holocaust were frequent, both in bilateral and multilateral diplomatic settings. But how and why did this happen, and with what consequences?

This project will blend an international historical approach with digital humanities methods to examine the involvement of national, transnational and international actors in shaping the international politics of Holocaust memory at crucial historical junctures during the 1945-2025 period. Challenging the traditional emphasis of the scholarship on Holocaust memory on ‘methodological nationalism’; and pointing to the silence of works on International Relations regarding the Holocaust and its legacy; this project will focus on a variety of actors and specific international arenas to analyze the process of Holocaust memory transmission within bilateral and multilateral diplomatic settings.

Using newly-declassified sources, the project will demonstrate that diplomats, museum curators, international organization staff and national bureaucrats were key ‘memory makers’ in the formative decades of Holocaust commemoration within international forums. Beyond simply implementing policy, they shaped it.

Explore what we do

Confront the past

Combat antisemitism

Protect minorities

Strengthen democracy

Reinforce critical thinking

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