SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—The Genocide Education Project (GenEd) held its inaugural Teacher Fellowship Program in Armenia, carrying out a week-long series of professional development activities for 15 US high school educators. The new GenEd Teacher Fellows, who are from 14 US states, attended academic sessions, participated in field trips and engaged in discussions on human rights and genocide education, Armenian history and culture and teaching pedagogy.
During the July 9-17 program, the GenEd Teacher Fellows spent mornings in academic sessions at the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute (AGMI), located adjacent to the Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument, thanks to the fruitful GenEd-AGMI partnership, combining AGMI’s unique and important role in Armenian Genocide research and remembrance with GenEd’s expertise in training US educators. The American University of Armenia also joined the effort by hosting the GenEd Teacher Fellows for lunch and presentations by experts on Armenia’s economic, political and educational conditions.
“Working alongside the staff at the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute to educate American teachers on aspects of our history and share with them Armenia today was a dream come true,” said Fellowship program education director Sara Cohan.
Here are a few comments from the inaugural GenEd Teacher Fellows:
“This program has been amazing from the beginning to the end. I’ve done programs like this before, but what really made this program unique was the personal stories that you brought in. The impact is going to be huge because you’re going to have 15 teachers sharing all over. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned here.” – Allison Weller, New York
“You’ve assembled an amazing team of teachers and directors and coordinators here to equip us with the information, primary sources, witnesses, generations of survivors. You’ve given us all of these gifts, and you’ve challenged us to tell the story. And we’re very eager to share that story with the colleagues that we have in our states and at national conferences.” – Amy Perkins, Michigan
“I feel like I can speak to this topic more authentically than I could have done prior to this trip. I look forward to taking everything I’ve learned here and bringing it back home and sharing these important lessons with not just my students but my colleagues and my administrators. Thank you.” – Jeffrey Lewis, Connecticut
“I came here with a group of acquaintances, but I’m leaving Armenia with a group of lifelong friends. It’s one of the most amazing feelings to know that going forward we have this group of inaugural Fellows who will always support each other. I wish that all educators could have this opportunity that I did.” – Kelly Rosati, Virginia
“The story of Armenia and the Armenians will play a much larger role in my course. I now have more resources at my disposal, and I’m more familiar with the larger story. So, I can bring that to my students.” – George Dalbo, Wisconsin
“Most importantly, the lesson we learned is that silence on these issues benefits the perpetrators and awareness benefits the victims and the survivors.” – Justin Bilton, Massachusetts
The GenEd Teacher Fellows have now returned to their home regions and continue to work with GenEd in planning professional development activities for their peers and lessons for the classroom.
“My impression was these teachers are experienced professionals and also very human. The questions they posed and their reactions to our answers were very thoughtful, aimed at understanding the Armenian people,” said AGMI director Harutyun Marutyan. “Our partnership with GenEd is important because we are receiving new methodologies of education. The investment in Armenian Genocide education is an important one for the preservation of Armenian cultural heritage and identity in the 21st century.”
“We’re so pleased by the overwhelmingly positive response of the GenEd Teacher Fellows to our new program,” said GenEd executive director Roxanne Makasdjian. “It’s an affirmation by dedicated teaching professionals of the value of incorporating this topic appropriately in high school curriculums across the country.”
The GenEd Teacher Fellowship Program has been made possible by generous grants and donations from:
Anonymous – $90,0000
Anonymous – $25,000
JHM Foundation – $25,000
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation-Armenian Communities Department – $15,000
AGBU – $10,000
Anonymous – $10,000
Armenian Youth Foundation* – $10,000
David and Margaret Mgrublian – $10,000
Edward and Vergine Misserlian and sons and families – $5,000
United Armenian Charities-Dadourian Foundation – $5,000
Tufenkian Foundation – $3,000
Apraham and Odette Panosian – $2,000
Garo and Ani Kantarci – $2,000
Jirayr and Serpouhi Sarkissian – $1,000
Anonymous – $500
Bagdasarian Family Fund – $500
Harout and Ollia Yenikomshian – $500
*The Armenian Youth Foundation awarded a grant totaling $10,000 to GenEd recently supporting the week-long GenEd Teacher Fellowship Program in Yerevan this summer. The Foundation’s mission is to preserve Armenian heritage by proudly supporting a variety of youth programs. Since 1973, it has awarded more than $700K in grants to over 20 organizations and Armenian schools.
The Genocide Education Project is deeply grateful to all who have contributed financially and through their volunteer efforts to its broader mission.