SAN FRANCISCO–Education–art–and politics came together April 3 for the opening of the "iwitness" photo exhibit and The Genocide Education Project’s teacher training workshop–co-hosted by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
The "iwitness" exhibit by Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian–which runs through the month of April–is a series of photographs of survivors of the Armenian genocide taken over the past ten years and accompanied by testimony from survivors and testimonials from American and other officials stationed in the Ottoman Empire during the Genocide.
"Iwitness brings together not only the photos of the survivors and their eyewitness stories but also historical photos of the actual events and accounts by foreigners–American–British–Austrian officials–who saw what was happening and attempted to prevent it," said photographer Levon Parian. "The viewer of the exhibit will not only get a glimpse into the individual personal tragedies of survivors but also an idea of the historical context in which it all took place."
Coinciding with the opening of the exhibit–The Genocide Education Project held its second teacher-training workshop for Los Angeles Unified School District teachers. At the workshop–over 300 Participants were exposed to the dramatic and educational exhibit as well as the new lesson plan created by The Genocide Education Project–which is based on the exhibit. The lessons are available online at www.TeachGenocide.org.
In an article in the Los Angeles Daily News–James DeLarme–a 10th-grade teacher participating in the workshop was quoted as saying: "We have a world history book–and it’s an excellent one–but it only has two or three paragraphs devoted to this time. This [workshop] really opens your eyes and makes it real as to what happened?"
After the workshop–participants and City Hall employees had the opportunity to ask the artists questions about the exhibit. Armenian students from St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena were also able to attend the Q and A along with members of the Armenian community in Southern California.
A post-workshop reception was held for City Hall employees–LAUSD representatives–artists–and exhibit guests–to reflect together on the lessons of the day–and the importance of preserving the history of the Armenian genocide–and the honor of its survivors.
Workshops such as this one are part of an effort to uphold the California education framework requiring public schools to teach about the Armenian genocide. They are tailored to meet the teaching needs of high school Social Studies and World History teachers. The Genocide Education Project conducts and coordinates lectures and provides all necessary teaching resources–including access to lesson plans–so that teachers are well-prepared to fulfill the educational standard concerning the Armenian genocide. Dr. Nicole Vartanian–who has a doctoral degree in Education–gave a compelling lecture at the March 23 event about the history of the Armenia’s and Genocide denial. Facing History and Ourselves–another educational organization–also participated in both the March 23 and April 3 workshops.
The Genocide Education Project also conducted another teacher-training workshop on April 5 for Glendale Unified School District teachers. Renowned Armenian History scholar Dr. Richard Hovannisian provided a compelling overview about the Armenian genocide–and Greg Krikorian–Glendale School Board member–shared his family’s experiences during the Genocide.
The Genocide Education Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists 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.