ANCA Intern Sparks Interest for Genocide Education in Public Schools

ALEXANDRIA–VA–In an effort to promote genocide education in public school curriculums across the United States–ANCA intern Karine Birazian participated in an educators’ conference last week–raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide among high school teachers–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Approximately 150 teachers from across the US attended the two-day conference–titled "Innovations in Collaborations," was held in Alexandria–Virginia. The conference was hosted by the American Historical Association–National Council for the Social Studies and Organization of American Historians and included participants from a myriad of organizations focusing on history education and curriculum development. According to the event sponsors–the program was "designed to provide a forum for history educators to discuss and share effective and creative techniques and strategies that will help to engage students in the pursuit of a richer understanding of history and help to transform good teaching into great teaching." Other organizations that cosponsored the event included the Education Trust–Federation of State Humanities Councils–National Council for History Education–National Council for Public History–National History Day–National History Project–Organization of History Teachers–Society for History Education–White House Historical Association and World History Association.

Birazian spoke with educators at the conference–urging them to research the Armenian Genocide in order to help instruct their students about the issue. "In speaking with history teachers around the country–it was clear that they were aware of the atrocities committed against the Armenian people from 1915-1923 and–when provided with effective teaching materials–would be eager to include the Genocide in their class curriculum."

Teachers responded enthusiastically to Genocide curriculum materials distributed at the conference–including fact sheets on the Armenian Genocide–copies of "The Armenian Genocide: 1915-1923–A Handbook for Students and Teachers," and teaching resources available on-line on the ANC-San Francisco/Bay Area website–www.ancsf.org/armenian-genocide.htm.

Elizabeth Aaron–a social studies teacher from Summit High School in New Jersey–cited the importance of teaching about the Armenian Genocide. "The Armenian Genocide is something most of my students have never heard of–so it can make for very powerful and effective lessons. I usually also cover with them the current stand of the Turkish Government and the role that the Clinton Administration played in trying to bring attention to it," explained Aaron.

Birazian is one of nine interns participating in the ANCA Leo Sarkisian internship program. Now in its 19th year–the eight-week program is designed to provide Armenian-American student leaders and activists an opportunity to learn the vital skills needed to advance Armenian-American concerns on the local–state and federal levels.

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