San Diego, CA- In an effort to promote genocide education and awareness, ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian, Anastasia Skoupas, a member of the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, and Ron Levitsky an educator at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield, IL presented at the 87th Annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference which took place November 29th to December 2nd at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.
The lecture entitled Death, Despair, and Denial: The Armenian and Pontian Greek Genocides attracted educators from all over the United States including Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. For 60 minutes, Birazian and Skoupas discussed the Armenian and Pontian Greek Genocides, incorporating these teachings into lesson plans. Touching upon the history as well as the current struggles with denial and underlying politics, the lecture proved to be quite valuable for those in attendance. Levitsky, who was also present at the workshop, discussed with teachers various resources available for teaching this subject including those from The Choices Program, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Genocide Education Project.
“It was such a great experience to present at this years NCSS conference,” commented Birazian. “Given the recent increase of interest and awareness of this horrific topic, educators are incorporating this information in their classrooms and working to make a difference.” Birazian, who is also part of the Genocide Education Network of Illinois, an organization developed in conjunction with a mandate in Illinois on the teaching of genocide, has been active in educating teachers and students about the Armenian genocide and ending the cycle of genocide for nearly a decade.
The morning of the lecture, in the “Our Region” section of the daily San Diego Union Tribune newspaper, an article entitled Educators Across the Country are Increasingly Addressing Genocide commented: “Genocide is a hot topic in local classrooms. Educators nationwide are giving it more attention, as evidenced by the schedule for this weekend’s annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies in downtown San Diego.” The article went on to discuss the various workshops specific to genocide education, including the one presented by Birazian and Skoupas, as well as quoting Sara Cohan, education director for the Genocide Education Project.
Founded in 1921, the NCSS has grown to be the largest association in the country–devoted entirely to social studies education. The NCSS engages and supports “educators in strengthening and advocating social studies.”
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.