Armenian Assembly Supports High School Education on the Armenian Genocide

By Mihran
Toumajan

Western
Region Bureau Chief

CARSON, CA – On July 19, Armenian Assembly of America
(Assembly) Board of Trustees Member Lisa Kalustian and Western Region Director
Mihran Toumajan participated in a seminar hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of
Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO), in partnership with the Dominguez Hills
International Studies Project (DHISP), entitled “The Armenian Genocide and
International Justice.” The workshop was designed for high school teachers to
include the Armenian Genocide in their curricula.

Under the leadership and
professional instruction of FHAO Associate Program Director Mary Robinson
Hendra, teachers of History, Social Studies, Government/Civics, Human Rights,
and English Language Arts were able to learn about the “systematic murder of
over one million Armenians, and the role of justice and judgement in the
aftermath of such an atrocity.” The educators, in turn, will share their
acquired knowledge and teaching techniques on the Armenian Genocide with high
school students throughout southern California.

“Thanks to the generous
invitation of FHAO Los Angeles Director Liz Vogel and the meticulously prepared
presentations by Mary Robinson Hendra, Mihran and I were pleased to witness the
impactful and grassroots-oriented work conducted by FHAO, aimed at educating
educators on past and present cases of genocide, atrocity crimes, prejudice,
and bigotry while imparting effective strategies in preventing and combating
the recurrence of such horrors in the age of digital media,” stated Kalustian.

The three-day seminar, which took
place between July 18-20, was held on the California State University,
Dominguez Hills campus in Carson, California.

The first day of the seminar
featured a video welcome by Dr. Taner Akçam, the Robert Aram, Marianne
Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at
Clark University, as well as an historical overview of the Armenian Genocide by
Dr. Richard Hovannisian, Armenian Educational Foundation Professor Emeritus of
Modern Armenian History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Subjects
covered during the first day of the workshop include topics on identity and history,
the significance of denialist memory, the meaning of justice, and the
development of an “us and them” political dynamic in the Ottoman Turkish
Empire, that ultimately resulted into genocide.

The second day of the seminar had
innovative and interactive sessions such as the “Rise of the Young Turks,”
“Survivor Voices,” and a range of responses to the Armenian Genocide by
executioners, eyewitnesses, and righteous rescuers.

Instructional themes on the third
and final day of the seminar focused on case studies of humanitarian
intervention during the Armenian Genocide, extant and available tools to
recover from and confront contemporary injustices, and educational guidelines
developed by FHAO on preventing present-day atrocities.

“The Armenian Assembly of America
looks forward to expanding its outreach and collaboration with Facing History
and Ourselves’ Los Angeles chapter and with the Dominguez Hills International
Studies Project, which is part of the California International Studies Project
based at San Diego State University,” added Assembly Western Region Director
Toumajan.

Photo Caption 1 (L-R):  Armenian Assembly of America Western Region
Director Mihran Toumajan, Facing History and Ourselves teacher leader and Los
Angeles School of Global Studies teacher Nicole Selig, Los Angeles and Organization Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves

Associate Program Director Mary Robinson Hendra, and Armenian Assembly of America Board of Trustees
Member Lisa Kalustian.

Photo Caption 2:  Associate Program Director for Los Angeles
and Organization Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves, Mary Robinson
Hendra, providing instruction on the Armenian Genocide to southern
California-based high school teachers.

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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