Programme of 125th anniversary of First Zionist Congress in Basel announced

More details of the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress which will take place in Basel at the end of August 2022 were presented to the public at a press conference.

The central events of the Congress will take place in Basel on Sunday, August 28, and Monday, August 29, 2022. The organizer is the World Zionist Organization WZO, in cooperation with the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG/FCSI).

The highlight of the anniversary is the Jubilee Gala on Monday, August 29, 2022, which will take place 125 years to the day and at the same location as the First Zionist Congress: the Stadtcasino in Basel.

About 1100 invited guests from politics and society worldwide and Switzerland are expected. They will experience a program with prominent speakers, artistic and multimedia content with a focus on Theodor Herzl’s visions of Zionism of yesterday and the future. The guest of honor will be Israel’s President Isaac Herzog. In addition, the SIG has invited Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis.

The anniversary gala will be accompanied by two other anniversary events organized by the WZO. On the one hand, the Congress Center of the Messe Basel will host the “Herzl Leadership Conference” with more than 500 participants from all over the world, where modern approaches to Zionism will be debated.

On the other hand, a “Herzl Social Impact Entrepeneurship Summit” will be held, gathering 125 leading young entrepreneurs and investors in the field of socio-economic initiatives from around the world. Outside of the official WZO anniversary celebrations, other accompanying events are taking place in Basel.

For example, a lecture series entitled “1897. Utopias of Zionism” was held at the University of Basel in May. This will be followed in August by a workshop at which the connection between religion and politics will be discussed, starting with the First Zionist Congress and its consequences. Finally, also in August, “Basel in Conversation” will take place, dedicated to different perspectives on the Zionist Congress. The latter is sponsored by the canton together with the Christian-Jewish Working Group of both Basel and the Elisabethen Open Church.

Representatives of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, in particular Government President Beat Jans took part in the press conference, signaling the close and cooperative coordination between the organizers and the authorities. Both Jans and SIG President Ralph Lewin underlined the great historical significance of the First Zionist Congress for Jewish history but also for the city of Basel.


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