March 26, 2020 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) announced today that, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is regrettably canceling the AJC Global Forum, slated for Berlin, Germany, June 14-17.
“It was a tough call to make – the Global Forum is an incredibly important event for AJC, especially this year as we looked forward to marking 75 years since the end of World War II in Berlin,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “But prioritizing the health and safety of AJC staff, lay leaders, conference speakers, registrants, vendors, and others is more important than wishful thinking on how the world will look in a few months. Hence, our painful but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 Global Forum.”
Convening the AJC Global Forum in Berlin would have marked the first time the global organization’s signature annual event took place in Europe, and only the second time outside the United States since AJC’s founding in 1906. The 2018 AJC Global Forum was held in Jerusalem, on Israel’s 70th birthday. The AJC Global Forum brings together thousands of Jewish advocates from dozens of countries to advance the well-being of the Jewish community and strengthen democratic values.
The original decision to convene the AJC Global Forum in Berlin, announced last June and immediately praised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had garnered much anticipation among political and civil society leaders, the diplomatic community, and the media. The impressive list of confirmed speakers for the sold-out, four-day event included chancellors, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other German, European, and global leaders.
It was expected to be the largest gathering by a global Jewish advocacy organization in modern German history, a testament to the extraordinary evolution of AJC’s unique postwar relationship with Germany.
The AJC-Germany story will be chronicled in an upcoming publication. A high point of the AJC-Germany relationship was the establishment, in 1998, of AJC Berlin, the first permanent office of an American Jewish organization in what is today Germany’s capital.