Genocide Education Project Trains Canadian Teachers

Varoujan Basmadjian, Vancouver resident and Sara Cohan, Education Director of U.S.-based The Genocide Education Project at Teachers' Association's annual conference for social studies educators, in Jasper, Alberta

ALBERTA, CANADA – The Genocide Education Project provided instruction on teaching the Armenian Genocide to approximately one hundred teachers attending a conference in Alberta, Canada, from October 15-17. The joint effort with the Armenian National Committee of Canada-Western Region was part of the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s annual conference for social studies educators, in Jasper, Alberta.

Educators from across the province attended the conference. Arthur Tachdjian, Executive Director of the ANCC-WR, which initiated the collaboration, said that the value of the teacher-training sessions provided by The Genocide Education Project will expand exponentially. “The one hundred educators we worked with last weekend will, in turn, teach over one hundred students per year about the Armenian Genocide,” stated Tachdjian. “In just one year, approximately three thousand students in Alberta will now have the opportunity to learn about the Armenian Genocide.”

Sara Cohan, Education Director of The Genocide Education Project, conducted a presentation on “The Fundamentals of Genocide Education and the Armenian Case,” as well as a presentation focusing on the use of survivor testimony and family histories in the teaching of the Armenian Genocide. Varoujan Basmadjian, a Vancouver resident and descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors, spoke to the teachers about his personal family history and the importance of teaching youth about genocide prevention. Participants received CD-ROMs containing lesson plans and additional resources for use in the classroom.

In Alberta, teaching about genocide is required for eleventh grade social studies classes. Many conference attendees said the sessions on the Armenian Genocide motivated their attendance and they expressed their appreciation for the lesson plans and other resources they can now incorporate into their curriculum. Cohan remarked, “Our time in Alberta confirmed that educators here have a desire to teach the history of the Armenian Case, and we’re gratified that we can help them do it.”

Expressing appreciation to those in the Canadian-Armenian community who recognize the value in such teacher-trainings, Tachdjian said, “Although the Canadian government has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to ensure this important history is taught and remembered. We are fortunate that Vancouver’s Canadian-Armenian community understands this and is willing to fund these efforts.”

The Genocide Education Project is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) 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.
More information about The Genocide Education Project is available at www.GenocideEducation.org.

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