Genocide Awareness Week returns to SCC with special guest speakers

The Holocaust, atrocities in Africa, persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses and genocide of Native peoples in the Americas are among several important topics to be covered at this year’s Genocide Awareness Week at Scottsdale Community College.

The fourth annual “Genocide Awareness Week: Not On Our Watch” will be April 11-16, with most events taking place in the school’s Turquoise Room. All events and exhibits are free and open to the public.

Among the highlights will be the return of 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Oskar Knoblauch to share his story of survival and forgiveness. Mr. Knoblauch’s first-hand account is part of an impressive week-long lineup of talks and discussions with genocide survivors, scholars, humanitarians and activists, according to a press release.

In addition to the talks, SCC will host photo exhibits, a film premiere and an opening night session featuring another Holocaust survivor, Isaac “Ike” Feiges.

“This year, the Holocaust presentations are even more critical because our survivors are aging and won’t be with us forever,” stated John Liffiton, coordinator and co-founder of Genocide Awareness Week at SCC, in the release.

Other highlights include a panel discussing criminal courts and tribunals, a lecture addressing the psychological impact of being a concentration camp survivor, an overview of how the native peoples of South America fared under the New World conquest and the premiere of a film documentary examining daily life in a Syrian refugee camp.

For a full schedule, visit

Other periods of genocide to be covered include the Syrian civil war, Armenian mass killing, and genocidal eruptions around the globe.

“We will continue to look far afield at other periods of genocide,” stated Mr. Liffiton in the release. “But we also want to look more in-depth at the psychological and legal ramifications of genocide.”

Exhibits such as “Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide” and “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Faith Under Fire” will be in the lobby of the Student Center throughout April. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. will provide a photographic essay on the Holocaust during the conference.

In February, SCC was designated an educational center by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which will result in even greater collaboration during next year’s event, noted Mr. Liffiton.

“We say ‘never forget’ and ‘never again’ but we need to keep striving for that,” stated Mr. Liffiton in the release. “Some people still have the idea that this happened 80 years ago only. That’s not the case. It continues to happen today.”

As in the past, workshops for educators and law enforcement training sessions will be part of the conference.

The event concludes with a Genocide Memorial Service Monday, April 25 at SCC.

The programming is presented and sponsored by the SCC Honors Program, Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction, The Arnold Liebster Foundation, Generations After, International Association of Genocide Scholars, The Genocide Education Project, Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner, P.C., The University of Melbourne, California State University at Fresno, Phoenix Holocaust Survivors’ Association, University of Manitoba, The Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, The Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University, Assyrian Cultural Organization of Arizona, Anti-Defamation League, SCC Center for Civic & Global Engagement, the Armenian Church of St. Apkar and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.