Eastchester AP Students Study History Of Genocides

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Global-Leap is helping Eastchester students use videoconferencing with experts to learn about human rights and genocide. Photo Credit: Global-Leap.org

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The Eastchester Union Free School District is combining with Global-Leap to host a series of videoconferences to educate students about international genocides.

The videoconferences focus on five historical events: the Armenian genocide from 1915 to 1923 and more recent genocides in Cambodia (1975-1979), Bosnia (1992-1995), Rwanda (1994) and Sudan (2003-2009). They provide an opportunity for Advanced Placement World History students to learn about the events, share knowledge and exchange ideas.

Each features an expert guest with experience teaching each event. The format includes an opening statement by the expert, followed by a question-and-answer session and moderated discussion.

The conferences kicked off on Sept. 12 with an introductory class, “The Eight Stages of Genocide.” On Friday, Sept. 21, Gregory H. Stanton, a visiting professor in human rights at Mary Washington College, spoke to the students about the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan. Stanton has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

The Armenian genocide was the topic on Monday, as Peter Balakian of Colgate University visited via videoconference. Balakian has written three books on the genocide. His prizes and awards include the Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the Republic of Armenia and the Raphael Lemkin Prize for best book on the subject of genocide and human rights, among others.

On Tuesday, Alexander Hinton, director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University, spoke about the Cambodian genocide. He has written an award-winning book on the subject and edited nearly a half-dozen others. He serves as academic adviser to the Documentation Center of Cambodia and is on three international advisory boards that study genocide.

The series concludes Friday with David Pettigrew of Southern Connecticut State University teaching about the genocide in Bosnia. He was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Institute for the Research of Genocide in Canada and is listed as one of an international team of experts on the subject.

Using print and online resources, the student groups will study the genocides and human rights issues for a selected nation. They use a Wikispace website to make postings on discussion boards and to participate in chats. After the videoconferences end, they will present their findings and conclusions.

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