Genocide and Holocaust Education Program: "Responsibility to Acknowledge"

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications,


Sophomore Cody Philips is one of the many Miami and Oxford community members who took turns reading the names during the Holocaust Day of Remembrance.

The annual Genocide and Holocaust Education (GHE) Program at Miami continues with events April 20-24. 

The program began with a Reading of the Names ceremony on April 16, Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. This daylong event  — the first at Miami — was organized by student members of the Genocide and Holocaust Education (GHE) committee. 

Students, faculty, staff and community members signed up to read the names of children who died in the Holocaust. Students also handed out anti-genocide and Holocaust remembrance buttons. 

"The 20th century has been called the 'century of genocides' and the 21st century is already embroiled in conflicts that might be considered genocides," said Mary Jane Berman, director of the Center for American and World Cultures, a sponsor of the GHE program with the department of history's Holocaust Education Fund.

"The purpose of our program is to educate our community about several of the genocides that took place during the 20th century and to challenge us to think about how to prevent them by understanding how they took place," Berman said.  

The program's events reflect on and acknowledge the Rwandan genocide (Remembrance Day April 7); the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide (Remembrance Day April 24); and the Guatemalan, Srebrenica and Darfur genocides. 

Concluding with a genocide prevention information fair, the GHE program "ends on a note that demonstrates that student and community engagement is possible and we provide information to do this," Berman said. 

Genocide and Holocaust Education Program Events:


"Kinyarwanda" received the World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic, Sundance Film Festival; and the Afi Fest World Cinema Audience Award. Watch it at 4 p.m. April 21.

Genocide and Holocaust Education Read-In

Monday, April 20:  11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Smucker Wiikiaami Room, Armstrong Student Center

Participants are invited to share poems, excerpts from books, plays or speeches, personal stories, diary entries, photographs and music at this first GHE read-in.

Genocide and Holocaust Education Film Series

Tuesday, April 21: 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Heritage Room, Shriver Center

Wednesday, April 22: 6-10 p.m.  Heritage Room, Shriver Center

Seven award-winning films, including "The Pianist" and "The Shop on Main Street," will be screened. Discussion afterwards. Refreshments will be served.

April 21 films will start at 10 a.m.; noon; 2 p.m.; 4 p.m.; and 6 p.m. See the calendar for a list of films and start times April 21 or April 22.

Moral Disengagement: Why are we not paying attention?  Keynote speaker Emanuele Castano

Thursday, April 23: 5:30 p.m., 212 MacMillan Hall


Emanuele Castano

"Moral Disengagement and Morality Shifting in the Context of Intergroup Violence" by Emanuele Castano, co-chair, department of psychology, and director of cognitive, social and developmental psychology at The New School for Social Research.

Regarding large-scale violence, Castano asks, "how can we, humans, impart such suffering to other humans, or do little when we witness it?" 

Social psychology, among other social sciences, has long attempted to provide an answer to this question. In his talk Castano will focus on the work on this topic conducted in his laboratory over a span of 10 years. 

Anti-Genocide Information Fair/Walking Theatre Project

Friday, April 24:  Armstrong Student Center's Slant Walk

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Information Fair, Armstrong Student Center's Slant Walk;

Noon-1 p.m. Walking Theatre Project performance, 

Learn how to build a movement to end atrocities and prevent genocides. Information from organizations dedicated to these efforts will be available. 
The Walking Theatre Project uses theatre to raise awareness of social issues.


ghe-logoMiami's first Reading of the Names ceremony was organized by student members of the GHE committee: Natalie Roberts, finance major and political science minor; Megan Stahlsmith, integrated social studies education major and history minor; and Nikolai Levinsohn, psychology and premedical studies double major. 

Anna Dollár, professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering, coached readers on the pronunciation of names.

The Genocide and Holocaust Education Program is sponsored by the Center for American and World Cultures and the department of history Holocaust Education Fund with support from the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education and many Miami organizations.

For more information visit the CAWC Facebook page.