|CHICAGO, IL—The Armenian Genocide and its inclusion in classroom curricula were the key topics of discussion during a recent meeting between Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois activist Karine Birazian and representatives of Facing History and Ourselves.
During the two-hour meeting, Birazian discussed the ANC's participation in the upcoming National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference to be held in Chicago, IL from November 14 to 16, 2003. The NCSS engages and supports educators in advocating for and strengthening the social studies. The ANC of Illinois will take part in the trade show during the conference where they will have materials about the Armenian Genocide available to teachers and other organizations present. Facing History and Ourselves informed Birazian that they will work with the ANC in preparation for the exhibit and include the Armenian Genocide during a panel discussion at the conference in order to raise awareness among teachers about this key topic.
Over the past 27 years, according to the organization’s website, Facing History has engaged "teachers and students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of collective violence, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives."
"It was a pleasure to have Karine visit our office to learn more about the work of Facing History and to explore with us ways we can work together to bring the history of the Armenian Genocide to teachers and students throughout the country," said Bonnie Oberman, Director of Facing History and Ourselves Chicago office.
In 2004, the organization plans to have a new book about the Armenian Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians, which provides a case study that illuminates the vulnerability of minorities when an empire is in decline. As the organization explains, "The book deepens Facing History's work on judgment and prevention by examining the failure of the international community to protect Armenians and to later prosecute the criminals. It reveals the dangers resulting from the lack of prosecution and international acknowledgment by examining the state sponsored denial of the Armenian Genocide."
Following the meeting, Birazian noted, "I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Facing History and Ourselves in order to help raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide. Our collaboration at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference will be just the beginning of an ongoing effort to ensure that Illinois educators have the resources they need to educate their students about this crime against humanity."
The Armenian National Committee is the largest Armenian American grassroots political organization in Illinois and nationwide. The ANC actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
Photo Caption: (center) ANC Illinois activist Karine Birazian with Chicago-region representatives of Facing History and Ourselves