Albany, NY, October 24, 2014 … A diverse group of students from the Capital District will travel to Washington, D.C. to embark on a significant experience to apply lessons learned from the Holocaust to their own lives and lead the fight against bigotry and hate in their respective communities at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission.

The mission, which will take place from Sunday, October 26 to Wednesday, October 29, will include three students from Averill Park High School and two students from Shenendehowa High School. The students were selected for their extraordinary leadership qualities and demonstration of interest in issues of diversity.

“We believe that children are not born as bigots — that hate is learned. But we also believe that hate can be unlearned, and the National Youth Leadership Mission provides students with the lessons and experiences to assist us in the fight against prejudice,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “Our central message is that students understand that they have the powerful ability to make a real difference, and they can do that by being the one person in their school or social circles to object when they hear insensitive comments or jokes. It takes tremendous strength to do this but we have to do our best to strive for mutual respect.”

The centerpiece of the mission will focus on a significant amount of time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where students will learn about the persecution and atrocities of the Second World War, and examine contemporary issues of extremism, bigotry and genocide.  The students will also engage in in-depth discussions about lessons that can be applicable in their individual lives and how they can play a part in fighting prejudice.

During breakout sessions conducted by ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute facilitators, students will also share their personal experiences with bullying, hatred and discrimination, and discuss how the lessons of the Holocaust can be applied today.

Other notable presenters will include:

  • Dr. Leon Bass, a U.S. Army soldier during World War II who was detailed to Buchenwald Concentration Camp to assist in relief, and was among the first American soldiers to be seen by survivors of the camp.
  • Nesse Godin, a survivor of a Lithuanian ghetto, the Stuffhof concentration camp, four labor camps, and a death march.
  • Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and an internationally recognized genocide prevention and human rights activist.
  • Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, will share his personal story of being saved from the Nazis by his Polish Catholic nanny.

The Albany area students – as well as more than 100 students from across the country including New York City, New England, Florida, Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego – will also attend ADL’s 20th annual “In Concert Against Hate” on October 27 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where heroes in the fight against hate and intolerance will be honored. The student delegates will also hear from the heroes that stood up against or were the victims of hate crimes.

Founded in 1996 by ADL’s Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Regional Office, the Youth Leadership Mission became a national program in 1998, building on the success of previous programs in preparing students as role models against bigotry, prejudice and hate. It is generously sponsored by The Grosfeld Family Foundation.


Editors Note: For more information, or to arrange an interview with mission’s participants, contact the ADL Media Relations at


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.  Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY