MHRFT co-sponsors the International Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide Education

The Museum of Human Rights, Freedom and Tolerance (MHRFT) and the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights (CGHR) of The Rutgers University together with the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center, the NJ State Commission on Holocaust Education and the Bloomfield School District co-sponsored the International Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide Education which included scholars and educators from Russia, Finland and the US conducted at the Rutgers University in Newark, NJ on November 6-8, 2012. As a result of the Symposium, the Holocaust educators from Russia and the US have established a lasting partnership that will help improve the education on the Holocaust and genocide in both countries. This major accomplishment was achieved in spite of the extreme weather challenges posed by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and a snowstorm in the midst of the event on Nov 7.

The goal of the Symposium was to exchange ideas and establish cooperation in developing educational programs on the Holocaust and genocide between the American and Russian educators. The participants of the event included the scholars and educators from the US, Russia, Finland and Armenia. In addition to the sponsoring organizations, the institutions represented at the event included the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. 

 

The event program featured presentations, panel discussions and working sessions on a broad range of topics related to making the Holocaust and genocide education more effective in serving its purpose of preventing genocide and persecution and teaching tolerance. The list of presenters and participants included the world-renowned scholars and leaders in the Holocaust and genocide research and education, such as:

  • Dr. Ilya Altman, a Russian historian and the founder and co-chairman of the Russian 
  • Research and Educational Holocaust Center in Moscow, 
  • Dr. Alex Hinton, The Rutgers University professor and chairman of the CGHR, 
  • Dr. Suren Manukyan, Visiting Fulbright scholar from Armenia, 
  • Dr. Steven Bronner, The Rutgers University professor,
  • Igor Kotler, President and Executive Director of the MHRFT
  • Dr. Johan Bäckman,  Finnish historian, political scientist, human rights activist and book 
  • publisher
  • Nela Navarro, Associate Director/Director of Education, Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights

The Russian delegation also included: 

  • Alexander Engels, Director of the Museum of History of the Jewish Heritage and Holocaust in Moscow
  • Dr. Alexey Feldt, Deputy Director of the Institute of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and the Associate Professor of the World History Department at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Russia
  • Yuri Dombrovsky, Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Board of the Russian Jewish Congress
  • Tatiana Pasman, Coordinator of Educational Programs of the Center of Civic Education of the Pskov Regional Teachers-in-Service Institute

Also actively participating in the event were the Rutgers University students. During the event, the Russian delegation made a presentation at the United Nations titled “From Forgotten Memory to Nascent Remembrance: Holocaust History and Education in Russia Today”, organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information under its Outreach Program. As part of that presentation, Dr. Ilya Altman chaired a discussion on the history of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union and the evolution of the Holocaust education today in Russia.

 

The Symposium created a solid foundation for a long-lasting relationship between the organizations across the globe, united by the common goal of making the world a better place to live by using education to fight genocide, persecution, intolerance and prejudice. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the institutional and private donors for helping make this remarkable event happen. 

 

 

Upcoming programs and events

Cultural programsAs part of its mission to promote cultural awareness the Museum has created a concert series that present a powerful message of hope and tolerance. The theme for the series is “Never Losing Hope: Music of the Oppressed in the 20th Century.” The series offers mixed programs featuring classical, jazz and folk music interspersed with poetry readings and video and audio selections. All programs also feature cultural and historical discussions.The next concert of the series will be held at the Bloomfield, NJ School District. Please stay tuned for further announcements.

Exhibitions

The next major exhibition in the works is titled “The First Genocide of the Twentieth Century: Massacre of Herero and Nama in the German South West Africa.” The exhibition will tell the story of the first genocide of the 20thcentury and its origins, the history of first concentration camps and how this first experience might be connected the Holocaust. The Museum is also working on the interactive exhibition titled “The First Soviet Ethnic Cleansing: Stalin's Deportation of Koreans in 1937.” The goal of this exhibition is to expose the real and present danger of ethnic persecution by telling the story about the first mass transfer of an entire ethnic group committed by the Soviet Union, when almost the entire Soviet population of ethnic Koreans (over 170,000) was forcefully moved from the Russian Far East to unpopulated areas of Kazakhstan in 1937.

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