LOS ANGELES–The 2008-2009 school year concludes complete with workshops and sessions led by The Genocide Education Project. The Genocide Education Project led a two-day workshop for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) educators—sponsored by the school district. The workshop fell on two Saturdays and provided LAUSD teachers an opportunity to learn about the Armenian Genocide and develop a lesson plan to use with their students in the upcoming school year.
The workshop included a session on the history of the Armenian Genocide by Dr. Levon Marashlian, a professor at Glendale Community College who also serves on The Genocide Education Project’s advisory board. His lecture included a detailed analysis of the factors leading to the genocide and a discussion regarding the response of the United States. Suzanne Berberian spoke at the workshop on Armenian American identity in public schools. She is a volunteer for The Genocide Education Project and holds a leadership position in the Pasadena School District. Teachers also participated in a session on identity and genocide sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves.
Other sessions were led by Sara Cohan, Education Director of The Genocide Education Project, and included such topics as the history of the Armenians before 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, geopolitical ramifications of genocide denial and strategies for effectively teaching about the Armenian Genocide.
The Genocide Education Project also ran two sessions at the Day of Learning in San Francisco. The Day of Learning is an annual program sponsored by the Holocaust Center of Northern California. It is an all day event that provides an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to learn about the history of genocide. Each year the program is designed around a particular theme. This year’s theme was “Taking a Stand.” The Genocide Education Project focused on the role of media during genocide and specifically “The New York Times” during the Armenian Genocide. One session was designed for educators and the other for high school students. The Genocide Education Project has participated in this event for several years and is proud to support the work of the Holocaust Center of Northern California and their commitment to teaching about the Armenian Genocide.
For more information about the work of The Genocide Education Project please visit www.GenocideEducation.org.
Meet Sara Cohan, Education Director, The Genocide Education Project
Spring, 2009 – Sara Cohan has been named The Genocide Education Project’s full-time Education Director. Cohan’s comprehensive experience in the field of education, including research, curriculum development and teaching, make her particularly well-suited for the position.
Having earned her Master of Science degree in Social Science Education from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology/Sociology from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, Cohan has taught secondary education in Florida, including Florida’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which offers advanced academic courses with an international perspective. As a teacher, Cohan received the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, for the service-learning projects she implemented, including her work with Nobel Peace Laureate, Betty Williams, teaching students about human rights issues.
Cohan is very familiar with genocide education, both from her professional experience and her family history, being a descendant of Armenian Genocide and having lost family in the Holocaust. She is very gratified to have taken this position. “The mission of the organization is also my own: to ensure that the history of genocide is remembered, analyzed, and discussed, and to use that history to find ways to thwart future genocides. Through education, I am contributing to the fight against genocide, and paying homage to my family’s history at the same time.”
She also worked as a research fellow for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which combats prejudice in multicultural schools, providing free educational materials to teachers. She was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in Mexico, under the sponsorship of the United States Department of Education. There, she studied education and culture with a focus on Mexican Art as a vehicle to better understanding the diversity of Mexico.
Selected as a Justice Teaching Fellow by the Supreme Court of Florida, Cohan went on to develop and implement a district-wide workshop on law-related education to educators in Pensacola.
Cohan has written articles for scholarly journals and magazines, and has written educational materials for a variety of organizations, including The Genocide Education Project, and has recently authored an essay entitled “My Grandfather’s Testimony” which will be included in the new book “Evoking Genocide: Scholars and Activists Describe the Works that Shaped their Lives.” The collection of essays will be available in September.
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.
(1) Sara Cohan, Education Director with The Genocide Education Project, working with teachers at “Day of Learning” in San Francisco, CA
(2) Herman Clay, Director, History and Social Science Branch, Secondary Instructional Support Services, LAUSD, addressing teachers at The Genocide Education Project’s LAUSD workshop
(3) Sara Cohan