This summer, the Genocide Education Project provided day-long workshops on the Armenian Genocide for high school teachers in both New Jersey and Los Angeles.
GenEd’s workshop facilitators introduced numerous and diverse multimedia resources for teaching about the annihilation of Armenians carried out by the Turkish leadership of the Ottoman Empire, beginning in 1915.
The first workshops were held at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. Area High School teachers explored the phenomenon of modern-era genocide through its prototype, the Armenian Genocide.
Roxanne Makasdjian, GenEd’s Executive Director, opened the day discussing the significance and role of Armenian Genocide instruction within a comprehensive social studies curriculum.
Sara Cohan, GenEd’s Education Director, delved into the definition of genocide and the Ten Stages of Genocide, using examples from various genocides of the modern era. Dr. Dikran Kaligian, GenEd board member, provided an overview of Armenian history, the geopolitical and social context for the genocide within the Ottoman Empire leading up to World War I, the ideology, methodology, and tactics of the perpetrators of the genocide, the devastating consequences, and finally, a description and effects of the ongoing genocide denial by successive Turkish governments.
Educators heard from New Jersey native Ken Sarajian about his family’s experience during the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Teachers also engaged in creation of lesson plans using primary source materials offered during the workshop.
In Los Angeles, GenEd presented two full-day workshops in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Led by Sara Cohan and Roxanne Makasdjian, the workshops investigated the stages of genocide and the long-term impacts of genocide denial. Participants received numerous inquiry-based and citizenship-based resources to help implement California’s recently-enacted “Armenian Genocide Education Act” (AB1915/SB1380). The workshops culminated in a screening of the 40-minute documentary, “The Other Side of Home” and a discussion with the filmmaker, Naré Mkrtchyan. The film, which was “shortlisted” for the 2018 Academy Awards, explores a Turkish woman’s discovery of her hidden Armenian heritage and the deep and lasting legacy of genocide.