6th annual Genocide Awareness Week in April offers hope in remembering 

6th annual Genocide Awareness Week in April offers hope in remembering 

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 29, 2018) — The 6th annual Genocide Awareness Week, April 9  ̶  14, 2018, at Scottsdale Community College, has grown to become one of the largest conference of genocide studies in the nation. This event brings together a vast array of speakers, survivors, activists, artists, humanitarians and members of law enforcement to discuss how we confront collective violent actions as a global society and address ongoing threats and past periods of genocide.

The lectures, exhibits and storytelling are open to the public and free to attend.

New this year is a community kick-off event on April 4 at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater. Concert pianist Mona Golabek will perform her mother’s story of survival based on her book “Children of Willesden Lane,” the story of her mother’s escape from Nazi-controlled Austria on the Kindertransport at age 14 and her new life at the Willesden Lane Orphanage in England. She went on to become a classically trained concert pianist.

“This year it feels different in a good way,” said John Liffiton, founding director of Genocide Awareness Week (GAW) and SCC English professor. “We’re getting more recognition and support of our event as one of the largest – if not the largest – conference of genocide studies. That has allowed us to expand our partnerships.”

Opening day includes a return visit from Holocaust survivor Oskar Knoblauch, whose story of survival and triumph has inspired many of today’s youth. Opening night (April 9) includes a reception, sponsored by Sacks Tierney, P.A., and presentation by retired Ambassador John Evans, who publicly broke from U.S. government policy to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

GAW has traditionally added to the complexity and nuance of Holocaust history by tackling subjects often less examined. Several speakers will recount the Holocaust’s impact in other countries such as France and Italy. On Thursday, April 12, James Palmer, founder of the Mondex Corporation, will discuss his work to help clients recover fine art, assets and unclaimed estates looted during WWII.

Other periods of genocide also will be featured. Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 slaughter, will discuss his work to bring food, water and medicine to orphan groups during that period.

Also, activists, lawyers and academics will present on acts of genocide and human rights abuses against Native Americans and indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, both present day and historically. Jennifer Denetdale from the University of New Mexico will discuss “From Genocide to Navajo Governance and Revitalization.”

One of four exhibits to be displayed throughout the week includes the work of award-winning artist Robert Sutz, whose masks and sculptures of Holocaust survivors are aimed at getting future generations to connect with people and their experiences.

As in the past, an educator workshop will be offered on Saturday, this time coordinated by the USC Shoah Foundation.

For the complete schedule of presentations, events and art and photo displays, visit www.scottsdalecc.edu/genocide.

if you go

When: April 9-14. Daily, starting at 9 a.m., and evening presentations starting at 6 p.m.

Where: Turquoise Room, Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E. Chaparral Road. See campus map.

Admission: Free and open to the public

For more information: Contact John Liffiton at (480) 423-6447 or john.liffiton@scottsdalecc.edu.