Students from Ballymena schools hear first-hand account from genocide survivor

Students who attended the event pictured with the Mayor and Safet Vukalić

PUPILS from Ballymena schools have been listening to the poignant story of a genocide survivor.

Safet Vukalić is a Bosnian Muslim who survived persecution in Bosnia in the 1990s, coming to the UK as a refugee in 1994.

He was in Ballymena this week to talk about his own personal experience and give an insight into some of the most unimaginable events.

(L-R) Peter Osbourne, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica NI, Safet Vukalić, Mayor Councillor Maureen Morrow and Andy Cole, Director of Good Relations & T:BUC Division


Students attended from schools including St Louis Grammar School, Slemish College, Dunclug College and St Patrick’s College.

Three genocide visitors will visit over 50 schools and organisations across Northern Ireland, taking their stories to over 4,000 people.

The programme is supported by The Executive Office (TEO) working closely with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Maureen, hosted a reception for Safet Vukalić from Bosnia


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “I was very honoured to be invited to this talk organised by the Executive Office.

“The stories that we heard from Safet were incredibly moving and I know the pupils will benefit from being able to hear them first hand.

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council wants everyone who lives in the borough to feel welcome, safe, respected and celebrated therefore these Holocaust Memorial Day events are important and significant as we continue to create a better future for all.”

TEO Deputy Secretary Mark Browne said: “Safet has lived through some of the darkest moments in human history. He has borne witness to unimaginable events in the most adverse of circumstances.

“His message is poignant, and his story is personal. But he also shows how groups of people were marginalised by genocidal regimes. This is hugely important as we seek to learn about the past, and ensure such actions are never repeated.”

The event was part of the lead up to Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.

It takes place on January 27, and next year will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945 and July 2020 will mark 25 years since the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia.

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