San Francisco, March 19, 2016 – The Genocide Education Project (GenEd) presented Bay Area high school students attending the Day of Learning two workshops entitled “They Shall Not Perish: Americans and the Child Survivors of the Armenian Genocide.”
The Day of Learning, which was co-presented by The Genocide Education Project and other educational organizations, is a program of the Preisler Shorenstein Institute for Holocaust Education, part of Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center. More than 600 students (grades 8 – 12) and educators from public and private schools throughout the Bay Area attended the half day of presentations about various genocides, to gain a deeper understanding of the patterns of genocide and inspire moral courage and social responsibility.
The theme linking all the workshops was the children refugees of genocide and how their experiences are echoed by millions of children around the world today.
The GenEd workshops, led by Roxanne Makasdjian, highlighted the experience of the hundreds of thousands of refugee children who survived death marches; how they were often orphaned, sometimes taken by Turks, Kurds, Arabs, sometimes saved by American or European religious and aid organizations like Near East Relief and raised in orphanages, among other scenarios.
GenEd also invited special guest Sevan Balabanian, the granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, to present the students her family history. She focused her talk on one of her grandmothers, who, as a very brave girl, escaped from the death march and experienced many horrifying adventures, before finding safety in Aleppo, Syria, and building a new future.
Attendees of the Day of Learning also saw a live theatrical performance of The Children of Willesden Lane, from acclaimed concert pianist and author Mona Golabek, which tells the true story of her mother as a young refugee during World War II.