SCC hosts 6th Annual Genocide Awareness Week, April 9-14

Sixth annual Genocide Awareness Week is April 9-14 in the Turquoise Room of Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E. Chaparral Road. (Submitted photo)

The sixth annual Genocide Awareness Week filled with lectures, exhibits and storytelling is scheduled April 9-14 in the Scottsdale Community College Turquoise Room, 9000 E. Chaparral Road.

The free event starts at 9 a.m., with evening presentations at 6 p.m., and is open to the public.

According to a press release, the event has become one of the largest conference of genocide studies in the nation uniting various speakers, survivors, activists, artists, humanitarians and members of law enforcement.

Speakers will discuss confronting collective violent actions as a global society and addressing ongoing threats and past periods of genocide. 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 is about her mother’s escape from Nazi-controlled Austria on the Kindertransport at age 14, her life at the Willesden Lane Orphanage in England, and becoming a classically trained concert pianist.

“This year it feels different in a good way,” says John Liffiton, Genocide Awareness Week founding director and SCC English professor, in a prepared statement. “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, sharing a story of survival and triumph. Opening night on April 9, includes a reception, sponsored by Sacks Tierney, and presentation by a retired ambassador, John Evans, who publicly broke from U.S. government policy to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the release notes.

Since Genocide Awareness Week 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, the press release stated.

On Thursday, April 12, James Palmer, founder of the Mondex Corporation, will discuss his work helping clients recover fine art, assets and unclaimed estates looted during WWII. Other periods of genocide will be featured as Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 slaughter, discusses his work to bring food, water and medicine to orphan groups during that period.

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

The work of award-winning artist Robert Sutz, whose masks and sculptures of Holocaust survivors aim at getting future generations to connect with people and their experiences is one of four exhibits to be displayed throughout the week, the release notes.

An educator workshop, coordinated by the USC Shoah Foundation, will be on Saturday.

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

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