Teacher Fellows and staff visit the 1st century AD Temple of Garni

US High School Educators Meet in Armenia to Learn About Genocide, Human Rights through GenEd

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Genocide Education Project (“GenEd”) held the inaugural GenEd Teacher Fellowship Program in Armenia this summer, carrying out a week-long series of professional development for U.S. high school educators. The new GenEd Teach Fellows, who hail from 14 US states, attended academic sessions, participated in field trips and engaged in discussions on human rights and genocide education, Armenian history, culture and teaching pedagogy.

During the week-long program, the GenEd Teacher Fellows spent mornings in a variety of academic sessions at the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute (AGMI) which has partnered with GenEd to provide its unique and expert scholarship and documentation of the Armenian Genocide for the benefit of the future teaching endeavors of the GenEd Fellows.

The afternoons were filled with field trips to historic and cultural sites relating to the morning workshop themes, giving the educators valuable first-hand touchpoints to the Armenian experience. The agenda included discussion and field trips exposing the educators to the nation’s current conditions within the broader historical context.

“The GenEd Teach Fellowship program was a longtime dream come true,” stated GenEd Executive Director Roxanne Makasdjian. “Our longtime education director, Sarah Cohan, who had previously participated in other fellowship opportunities, had the foresight years ago to see the strong potential for such a program to vastly expand education about the Armenian Genocide in this country. Her vision, professional development skills, and experience and vision helped us create and bring this program to life in Armenia.”

Ultimately the goal of the GedEd Teacher Fellows program is to teach non-Armenian educators the importance of the Armenian Genocide and incorporating it into their high school curriculums. With their new found knowledge, they will not only teach to their respective students (many in social studies) but also commit to training other educators about this topic in their school districts throughout the year. This ongoing and compounding impact of the potential reach to hundreds, and then thousands of students, is what GenEd aspires to each year.

“We were thrilled with the positive feedback from the teachers after the completion of the program. Many appreciated the workshops, speakers, and field trips were integrated, providing a memorable experience they can take back home to their students and share with other educators,” said Makasdjian.

GenEd Teacher Fellows examine the permanent exhibit at the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan

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There were many successful outcomes of this inaugural program — one of the biggest being how many of the new GenEd Teacher Fellows immediately sprang into action by preparing presentations, lectures and keynotes back home in their school districts.

“I’m blown away with what they are already doing in their home regions,” said Makasdjian. “Phase Two of the inaugural program is proving just as successful as the trip to Armenia, Phase One. They are all committed to continuing to advocate for the implementation of Armenian Genocide education in their own school’s curriculum and well beyond.”

This project was funded by interested individuals, organizations and foundations. With such large dividends, GenEd intends to repeat the program.

“Imagine what can happen and how quickly we can exponentially expand the numbers of the students receiving this education if we continue this for years to come?” said Makasdjian.

For more information about GenEd and the GenEd Teachers Fellows program, visit genocideeducation.org.

 

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