Our Chair, Laura Marks, has been awarded a CBE for social campaigner and broadcaster, interfaith relations and Holocaust and genocide education and commemoration and empowerment of women in the King’s first Birthday Honours List since his Coronation.
Laura met the King at an event with the Sudanese community earlier this year © Sam Churchill.
The tangible impact Laura Marks has had on social cohesion is profound. She has dedicated decades to creating engaging and influential Third Sector initiatives which bring people from different backgrounds together to strengthen civil society. Since receiving an OBE for interfaith relations in 2015, her impact has grown, not only in the field of interfaith relations, but also in Holocaust and genocide commemoration and education, social action and broadcasting. We are delighted that her dedication and relentless hard work have been recognised by King Charles in his Honours List.
Amongst some of her most notable work, Laura Founded Mitzvah Day in 2008, which has grown to become the largest faith-based day of social action in the world. In 2015 Laura co-founded Nisa-Nashim (with Julie Siddiqi MBE) – a network bringing Jewish and Muslim women together across the UK, currently launching internationally. This is the only sustainable Jewish-Muslim network outside the USA, its success based on personal relationships and harnessing the under-recognised power of women.
Elected Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in 2016, she has overseen the growth of Holocaust Memorial Day as it has become established as a national day of commemoration.
These are just a few examples of the incredible work that Laura has dedicated her life to. Her drive, inspirational leadership, ability to work collaboratively with others and sheer persistence ensure her initiatives flourish and are immensely effective here at home and, unusually, abroad. She goes the extra mile to change the lives of millions of people in the UK and beyond.
Upon the announcement of her CBE, Laura said:
To have this honour announced on the very day that our Honorary Life President Sir Ben Helfgott passed away simply highlights the critical importance of continuing to tell the stories. I have been honoured for my work on Holocaust and genocide education and commemoration but the real heroes are the survivors and the campaigners of the past who have told their stories and ensured we focus on the dangers of evil and hatred. I can’t thank them all enough for their dedication and generosity and I am honoured to be awarded this CBE in all of their memories.
Our Chief Executive, Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE, works closely with Laura. Here she reflects on the impact that Laura has had:
Laura is hugely deserving of the recognition of a CBE. She is a shining example of dedication, creativity and diligence and we are thrilled that she has received this very special honour from His Majesty The King. Throughout her tenure as chair of HMDT, she has consistently gone above and beyond, guiding us with wisdom, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. Under her stewardship, HMDT has flourished, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur are heeded.
Few women have had a more profound, tangible impact on social cohesion than Laura. She has dedicated decades to creating engaging and influential initiatives such as Mitzvah Day, the UK’s biggest faith-based day of social action, which bring people from different backgrounds together to strengthen civil society. Laura also co-founded Nisa-Nashim – a network bringing Jewish and Muslim women together across the UK. She fearlessly crosses community barriers based on ignorance and suspicion, sensitively encouraging greater awareness of ‘strangers’ and building bridges.