United Human Rights Council Hosts Genocide Education Workshop

by admin on 01/02/10 at 10:11 am


Sara Cohan of the Genocide Education Project conducts a workshop with community activists on strategies for teaching genocide in public schools

GLENDALE, CA”The United Human Rights Council on Thursday, January 28, hosted a Genocide Education Workshop with the Armenian Youth Federation and the ARF Shant Student Association focusing on effective methods for implementing Armenian Genocide education in public schools.

The workshop was conducted by Sara Cohan, the Educational Director of the San Francisco-based Genocide Education Project (Gen Ed) at Sardarabad Bookstore in Glendale.

“This was a great opportunity for students and activists to learn effective ways to educate others about genocide at their local campuses,” said UHRC Chairperson Sanan Shirinian. “There is no better place to teach about the horrors of genocide than on campus, where you have an educated, captivated and motivated audience ready to absorb truth and take action.”

Cohan discussed the implementation of Armenian Genocide education in public schools and gave a brief overview of trends in genocide education, highlighting the strides made in implementing the history of the Armenian Genocide into secondary level curricula as well as hurdles still left to overcome.” She also explored ways to be more involved in promoting the history of the Armenian Genocide in U.S. schools.

The Gen Ed projec is a non-profit organization assisting educators in teaching about human rights and genocide, particularly the Armenian Genocide, by developing and distributing instructional materials, providing access to teaching resources and organizing educational workshops.

“What the Project does is that we create materials and resources for teachers to use in the classroom to teach about the Armenian Genocide and other human rights violations. And we also create seminars and provide individual support and information for teachers,” Cohan said.

Sara Cohan of the Genocide Education Project

“We have a variety of materials that tap into different types of learning styles and abilities, and we have a curriculum that’s available online for free,” Cohan said, adding that the organization’s curriculum has a series of lesson plans based on a one-day, two-day, or ten-day programs that include studying maps, hearing survivor testimony, a mock trial, and various other interactive components.

During her workshop, Cohan looked at different ways to bring genocide education into schools and how kids on campuses can participate in the project. In addition to introducing workshop attendees to the organization’s tools and methods, the workshop also served as a forum for discussion about individual school cases and current and foreseeable community projects.

Vache Thomassian, an AYF activsit and member of UHRC, asked Cohan about the prospects of setting up workshops specifically geared toward giving young activists the tools and experience they need to become field workers for Genocide Ed.

“The Gen Ed project does great work setting up workshops and helping teachers incorporate the Armenian genocide into their cirriculum,” Thomassian said. Just as important as it is to teach teachers, the Gen Ed project can be an amazing way to teach activists who in turn can educate others.”

Last year the AYF went to several high school and junior high campuses to present to the students on the topic. Thomassian said. “We did a good job conveying the basics, but the prospects for more effectively teaching the issue to youth becomes all the more promissing when you have an army of trained and empowered activists holding workshops at local schools and college campuses,” he added.

The United Human Rights Council is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation. By means of action on a grassroots level, it works toward correcting and exposing the human rights violations of governments that distort, deny, and delude history to disguise past and present genocides, massacres, and human rights violations. For more information about the activities and mission of the UHRC, contact uhrc@ayfwest.org




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