Facing History and Ourselves Publishes New Resource Book

Facing History and Ourselves–a national educational organization–recently announced the publication of its newest resource book–Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenia’s. In advance of its release–scholars of the Armenian genocide–the Holocaust–and Human Rights–as well as middle and high school educators enthusiastically received the book. Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenia’s combines the latest scholarship on the Armenian Genocide with Facing History Ourselves’ interdisciplinary approach to history–enabling students and teachers to make essential connections between history and their own lives.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide–Samantha Power explains–"The Armenian genocide of 1915 set the stage for a gruesome twentieth century. Facing History’s attention to the genocide–and its focus on key events and personalities–can leave us with hope not only that the genocide will not be forgotten–but also that future generations will be better equipped to respond to the injustices that await them–at home or abroad."

After reading the book–Richard Hovannisian–the Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA proclaimed–"This resource book is unique in its approaches to the legacy of the Armenian genocide. It helps students and teachers to understand that the crime was committed not only against the Armenia’s but also against all humanity."

Michael Berenbaum–director of the Siering Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Ethics for at the University of Judaism said–"Even the best of scholars can learn well anew how to teach history and how to relate to their student’s lives from this important book."

Best-selling author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response–Peter Balakian–explains that Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization–"brings together the historical–social–psychological–and ethical dimensions of the history and the aftermath of the Armenian genocide," and states that "Facing History and Ourselves has done an extraordinary job and demonstrates once again that it is at the forefront of education in America."

Adam Strom–director of research and development–and the coordinator for the Armenian genocide project at Facing History–believes that the new book has the potential to reach multiple audiences. He explains–"Recent events have reminded all of us how important it is to teach about tolerance–human rights–as well as the need to have informed discussions about our relationship to events beyond our borders."

Social studies teachers can use Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenia’s to teach about Empires and Nationalism and the quest of minorities to obtain equal rights. By placing the Armenian genocide in the context of World War I–the book focuses on a neglected aspect of the war and the precedent set by the deportation and massacre of the Ottoman Armenia’s for the Nazi Holocaust under the cover of World War II. Throughout the book–the stories emphasize the moral dilemmas faced by individual groups–and nations as they confronted the treatment of the Armenia’s before–during–and the genocide.

Founded in 1976–Facing History and Ourselves offers an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education that connects the history of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide to the moral questions young people face today. Its mission is to engage students in civic education–an education that encourages the skills–promotes the values–and fosters the ideals needed to sustain a democratic society. Facing History provides middle and high school educators with tools for teaching history and ethics–and for helping their students learn to combat prejudice with compassion–indifference with participation–myth and misinformation with knowledge.

The new resource book is just the latest example of the commitment Facing History and Ourselves has to teaching about the Armenian Genocide. Over 25 years ago–Facing History’s first study guide addressed the Armenian genocide. Since that time–the organization has included resources and speakers on the Armenian genocide in workshops and institutes. Starting next fall Facing History and Ourselves will model interdisciplinary educational strategies for using Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenia’s in institutes–seminars–and workshops in the US and abroad. Sample readings and lesson plans may be downloaded from www.facinghistory.org and copies of the book may be ordered online or by calling (617) 232-1595.

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