Education

Exploring the Legacy of the Armenian Genocide, a Virtual Field Trip from Teaching with Testimony

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Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is held annually on April 24th to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Educators can help students understand the impact of this historic tragedy with an all-new Virtual Field Trip from Teaching with Testimony, developed in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation. 

In Identity, Belonging, Legacy: How Testimony Makes Us Stronger Than Hate, take a look back at this often-overlooked tragedy in human history to show students the perennial importance of testimony. The VFT includes firsthand stories of anti-hate advocates working to preserve the legacy of the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The chaptered version is now available on-demand. 

Hosted by Sosé, a student of Armenian heritage and intern at the USC Shoah Foundation, the VFT begins at the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in Los Angeles, CA as the backdrop. Sosé introduces students to the history of Armenian people around the world and their forced expulsion from Historic Armenia by Ottoman Turkish regimes. Survivors of the Genocide, including Sosé’s own great-grandparents, emigrated to other countries, including the United States. Students also get an inside look at The Promise, the first major motion picture telling the story of the Armenian Genocide. 

The second chapter immerses students in USC Shoah Foundation’s mission and introduces them to Carla Garapedian, a documentary filmmaker and journalist for the Foundation. She provides a powerful personal testimony about her dedicated efforts to bring the truth of the Armenian Genocide and human rights atrocities around the world to light, while highlighting how what is most meaningful to her about her work. 

In the final chapter, Sosé interviews her grandfather, a former professor at UCLA who pioneered Armenian studies in the US and is responsible for collecting the catalogue of testimonies USC Shoah Foundation now maintains. Students also have the opportunity to hear from other peers, junior interns at USC Shoah Foundation, about how experiencing the power of testimony has impacted them personally. 

The comprehensive educator guide that accompanies the VFT includes everything teachers need to conduct a pre-VFT exploration with students about their own identity and the concept of testimony. There are also resources for a post-VFT guided discussion that allows students to apply their understanding of identity, belonging, and legacy by researching and sharing how some groups are currently challenging stereotypes and hateful speech by telling their own stories and leveraging a collective group identity.  

Now is the time to spark timely discussions with students about the need to speak out and actively counter hate in their communities. Students ages 13 to 18 in the US/Canada and the UK are invited to enter the Stronger Than Hate Challenge with an artistic expression of their choice that demonstrates their potential to create a community that is stronger than hate. Winning entries are eligible to win up to $10,000 in prizing. 

You can find this powerful VFT, recorded testimonies from survivors of genocide around the world and more at TeachingwithTestimony.com or on the Teaching with Testimony channel in the Discovery Education K-12 learning platform. 


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