Exhibition ''The Forty Days of Musa Dagh: Testament of the resistance at the heart of the Armenian Genocide''
Following three months of struggle and resistance against the Ottoman army, 4,500 Armenians from the villages of Musa Dagh (Turkey) were saved by the French navy in September 1915. This exhibition tells their story through the historical novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh written by Austrian Jewish writer Franz Werfel and published in 1933.
The exhibition includes archival photos and documents and a micro-documentary with interviews of descendants of the resistance of Musa Dagh.
The exhibition is presented as part of Neuberger Holocaust Education Week 2017. Pivotal Moments.
The Exhibition Opening Event will take place on Wednesday, November 1st at 6:30pm at the Toronto Reference Library
A co-presentation of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada and the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education.
The exhibition was first presented in Montreal, as part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Project sponsored by: Government of Canada - Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Embassy of the French Republic in Canada and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.
Exhibition ''The Forty Days of Musa Dagh: Testament of the resistance at the heart of the Armenian Genocide''
July 1, 2017, marks Canada’s 150th birthday and the 94th anniversary of the arrival of the first 46 Armenian genocide orphans at Georgetown, Ontario. A group of 50 were collected from the London, UK-based Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor's) Fund Orphanage in Corfu, Greece, and traveled via Marseilles to Cherbourg, France. Four were held back for several weeks, with the rest continuing on to Quebec City. Taking a train through Quebec and Ontario, they finally arrived at Georgetown on what was then called Dominion Day. The project was a milestone in the history of a country that has prided itself for its humanitarian record.
As summer school classes begin, we encourage teachers to take some time to discuss this history with their students. Topics such as immigration, humanitarianism, human rights, and genocide are relevant to many courses and are curricular expectations in many Canadian, World Studies, and Humanities courses. Questions educators may wish to explore can include, How do we accept new immigrants in our classroom? What are our attitudes towards those in need? How might these boys have felt as they arrived in a country they knew nothing about? A perfect resource to use on this occasion is the one published by the Corning Centre on the Georgetown Boys and Historical Thinking Concepts
The Corning Centre has been interested in the story of the orphaned survivors of the Armenian Genocide who were brought up at Georgetown, Ontario, since its inception. It is a tale of the admirable efforts of Canadians to resist prejudice, demonstrate compassion, and give hope to a people marked for extinction. For more on this history and related lessons and resources, check out our Online Lesson Portal, our resources page, and our 100 Voices project.
The Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education has visited over 1500 students through its guest lecture services throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. By inviting the Corning Centre to their classrooms, teachers in various school boards have created a unique opportunity for their students to receive information on topics such as the legacy of genocide, genocide denial, eyewitness testimony and Canada and the Armenian Genocide. The visits have been highly interactive and allowed students the opportunity to ask questions as they navigate the complexities surrounding genocide, human rights and world politics.
The Corning Centre is dedicated to promoting human rights, anti-racism and genocide education in Canada. Our presentations inspire students to become active voices in promoting diversity and respect for all. We encourage teachers to contact us and book a classroom visit for the 2017-2018 academic year, or even for their summer school classes. Stay connected with us through our website, Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events!
Happy Canada Day!
Over 180 students and teachers from four schools in three school boards attended the Corning Centre's 2017 Ontario student conference titled Armenian Genocide: A Just Resolution. The event was held during Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month and on the official remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide, Monday, April 24, 2017.
Students had the opportunity to hear from our keynote speaker, Dr. Henry C. Theriault, professor and chair of the philosophy department at Worcester Sate University in Massachusetts. Theriault's expertise is in genocide and human rights studies, and he is the chair of the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group. The study group published their report, titled Resolution with Justice: Reparations for the Armenian Genocide, in 2015.
In his address, Prof. Theriault focused on the five components of justice (recognition, responsibility, reparations, rehabilitation and reconstitution) and provided a wide range of examples from various cases of genocides and other atrocities. This allowed students to secure a firm understanding of what justice entails, and it prepared them for the workshops that followed.
The workshops focused on each of these five components and were developed by Corning Centre teachers. Grade 11 and 12 students had the opportunity to engage with a variety of documents, which included information on private, institutional and national reparations, legal and educational barriers to social transformation in Turkey, and the 1919 Turkish Military Tribunals. In groups, their shared their understanding of these documents and discussed their significance.
Grade 10 students participated in a presentation on Canada and the Armenian Genocide, and they had an opportunity to view the Corning Centre's exhibits on the Georgetown Armenian Boys and Canadian upstanders in the Ottoman Empire. We were fortunate to have on display sculptor Taline Iskedjian's unique piece Journey of Hope, which is dedicated to the centennial of the genocide and represents the past and the future of the Armenian people.
After reconvening in the auditorium, several students had an opportunity to share their thoughts on the day. Inspired by the conference, they shared powerful messages about the need to defend human rights and to prevent future genocides. They also had the opportunity to ask Prof. Theriault questions about the content they had worked on during their respective workshops.
Inspired by the recent film The Promise (2016) and the role it plays in educating about the Armenian Genocide as well as its wider humanitarian and philanthropic work, students posted their own promises under the hashtag #keepthepromise.
After the concluding remarks, conference attendees laid carnations at the nearby Revival monument by sculptor Arto Tchakmaktchian.
On this occasion, Corning Centre founder and chair Raffi Sarkissian stated, "Through this conference, our centre's goal was to highlight for students the roles justice plays in securing positive futures for victim groups and preventing new atrocities internationally. Moreover, we wanted the students to reflect on their responsibilities as Canadian citizens to become moral agents and to become empowered to defend collective rights."
Capacity Attendance Expected and Henry C. Theriault Announced as Keynote Speaker at "Armenian Genocide: A Just Resolution", Corning Centre's 2017 Student Conference
The conference has already reached its capacity attendance with 230 students and 12 teachers registered from six Ontario schools and four school boards! We are still taking requests, since we may be able to accommodate more students. Please visit our registration page to submit your school information.
We are happy to announce Henry C. Theriault as our keynote speaker for the 2017 Student Conference, The Armenian Genocide: A Just Resolution. Henry C. Theriault is a Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Worcester Sate University. He has taught there since 1998. Theriault's expertise is focused on Genocide and Human Rights studies, and he is the chair of the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group. The study group published their report in 2015 titled Resolution with Justice: Reparations for the Armenian Genocide. He has published a number of papers focused on genocide denial, prevention, violence, and reparations.
We look forward to collectively commemorating Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month and the official remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide on Monday, April 24, 2017.
Corning Centre's 2017 Student Conference
The Armenian Genocide: A Just Resolution
Applying Historical Thinking Concepts While Exploring Justice
During Genocide Education and Prevention month, on Monday, April 24, 2017, the day Canadians will mark the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we invite Ontario Social and World Studies and Humanities teachers to participate in the Corning Centre’s Grade 11 and 12 student conference.
Students will have the unique opportunity to also visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial at the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto on the very day marking the annual commemorative anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The conference is free to attend and includes a complementary lunch. Travel stipends are also available (see below). Spaces are limited.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Monday, April 10, 2017
Armenian Youth Centre, 50 Hallcrown Place, Toronto, Ontario M2J 1P6 (map)
We will be providing travel stipends to schools arriving by school bus on a first-come-first-served basis, up to the following maximums. There are limited funds available.
Student Conference Program
Two Ontario Teachers and Four Students Receive Awards on the Occasion of the Speak Out Contest
The Corning Centre had the honour of introducing Bared Maronian's inspiring and powerful documentary, Women of 1915 for the second time at Hamazkayin Toronto Pomegranate Film Festival Committee's special encore presentation in benefit of the A.R.S. Armenian School annual Telethon on Saturday, February 25. Corning Centre Founder and Chair Raffi Sarkissian introduced the film stating "The documentary you are about to see is very unique as was Bared Maronian’s previous documentary, Orphans of the Genocide. Both left audiences worldwide with knowledge they would not have otherwise come across and a high level of curiosity, prompting one to dig deeper and learn more. Bared’s creations embody every aspect of an excellent documentary. Therefore, it is no coincidence that he has received many honours and awards."
At the event, the Corning Centre's Director of Finance, Paul Ternamian, presented the Speak Out contest to the audience and invited the awardees to stage. Director Bared Maronian joined the Corning Centre on stage to present the awardees with their certificates and awards. On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, among its several initiatives, the Corning Centre held an Essay and Creative Writing Contest called Speak Out. The contest was open to all senior level high school students in Ontario, awarding a first place prize in each category of $500 and a runner prize of $100.
This year’s winners represented two schools from two school boards. Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in the Waterloo Region District School Board and Sir Allan Macnab Secondary in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
The students who won this year were fortunate to have had exemplary teachers who attended the event, both of whom have worked with the Corning Centre in the past. The Corning Centre recognized the two outstanding Ontario teachers for their commitment to genocide education, Erin Ledlow from Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in the Waterloo Region District School Board and Deborah Brown from Sir Allan Macnab Secondary in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. The two teachers received a copy of Aram Adjemian’s “A Call From Armenia: Canada’s Response to the Armenian Genocide” and Bared Maronian's two films on DVD "Orphans of the Genocide" and "Women of 1915".
The Corning Centre awarded prizes to their students whose works were chosen for first and second places for the centre's Speak Out Contest, held on the occasion of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. Congratulations to the winners of the essay contest, Gabriella Zepeda Ayala (first place) and Nate Skeen (second place) and the winners of the creative writing contest, Casey Monkelbaan (first place) and Lareb Zahra (second place).
We want to congratulate all the winners and participants and thank teachers for their continued support and dedication to Genocide Education. Paul Ternamian concluded the award ceremony by stating "Education is the most effective means to equip every new generation with the knowledge and skills needed to become positive contributors in society and agents of change. The grade 11 Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity Course has been doing just this thanks to dedicated teachers like Erin and Deborah."
We are excited to announce the publication of Understanding Atrocities: Remembering, Representing, and Teaching Genocide, edited by Scott W. Murray and published by the University of Calgary Press. The book includes a chapter by Corning Centre Founder and Chair Raffi Sarkissian.
"Understanding Atrocities is a wide-ranging collection of essays bridging scholarly and community-based efforts to understand and respond to the global, transhistorical problem of genocide. The essays in this volume investigate how evolving, contemporary views on mass atrocity frame and complicate the possibilities for the understanding and prevention of genocide." It is published as part of the Arts in Action series, which "focuses on illuminating, promoting, or demonstrating the fundamental significance of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to public well-being and contemporary society."
Murray, the editor of the book, is associate professor of history in the department of humanities at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.
Sarkissian's chapter, titled "Benefits and Challenges of Genocide Education: A Case Study of the Armenian Genocide," explores the benefits of genocide education and the challenges faced when advocating for its implementation. It uses the Armenian Genocide as a case study. An exploration of the history of genocide curricula helps to contextualize the issue. The chapter examines the Toronto District School Board’s efforts to develop and implement Canada's very first high school senior-level course dedicated to genocide education. A review is also given of Holocaust education in the United States, which was a catalyst for the implementation of curricula on other genocides in the US. The focus of the chapter is primarily the Armenian Genocide and the challenges involved in teaching about it due to the policy of denial pursued by the government of Turkey.
Understanding Atrocities can be preordered through Amazon. For more information, click here.
Sarkissian holds a BA Hons. in history and an MEd from York University and a BEd from Trent University. He holds principal’s qualifications and teaching certifications in the primary, intermediate, and senior divisions. He has conducted extensive research in the field of genocide and human rights education and serves as a board member of the Armenian Legal Centre for Justice and Human Rights. He is vice-principal of ARS Armenian Private School in Toronto and an occasional, part-time professor in the department of General Education and Liberal Studies at Centennial College. He has over 15 years of experience in leadership positions in Canadian-Armenian organizations.
Please refer to the table of contents below for information on the list of contributors and topics.
1. Atrocity and Proto-Genocide in Sri Lanka
Christopher Powell and Amarnath Amarasingam
2. Finding Global Justice Locally at Sites of Atrocity: The Case for the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center and Cemetery
Laura Beth Cohen
3. Troubling History, Troubling Law: The Question of Indigenous Genocide in Canada
4. The Benefits and Challenges of Genocide Education: A Case Study of the Armenian Genocide
5. “We Charge Genocide”: A Historical Petition All but Forgotten and Unknown
Steven Leonard Jacobs
6. “A Tragedy to be Sure”: Heteropatriarchy, Historical Amnesia, and Housing Crises in Northern Ontario
Travis Hay, Kristin Burnett, and Lori Chambers
7. Remembering Them All: Including and Excluding Atrocity Crime Victims
Andrew R. Basso
8. Helping Children Understand Atrocities: Developing and Implementing an Undergraduate Course Titled War and Genocide in Children’s Literature
9. Thinking About Nazi Atrocities Without Thinking About Nazi Atrocities: Limited Thinking as Legacy in Schlink’s The Reader
10. Atrocity, Banality and Jouissance in Performance
The Corning Centre had the honour of participating in Toronto's Holocaust Education Week this year with a presentation titled Memory and Justice: The Armenian Genocide in partnership with Temple Kol Ami. The event took place on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 7:30pm at Temple Kol Ami during the Friday night service.
Raffi Sarkissian, founder and chair of the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education, presented about the importance of memory and justice and the challenges faced in remembering and commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the face of genocide denial and the passing of the surviving generation.
Sarkissian focused most of the talk on denial both as a catalyst for destruction and a barrier to social transformation in Turkey, “The systematic destruction and appropriation of sites of memory (religious and cultural sites and sites that could have been significant in educating about genocide) by the Turkish Republic, prevented these spaces from becoming sites for education and healing. The unceasing policy of denial has also led many families who saved Armenian lives between 1915-1923, to live in shame and remain silent about their good deeds while the memory of the perpetrators of genocide are celebrated. This assault on memory, realized through various state mechanisms and institutions, has prevented Turkish society to transition to a post-genocide era that could have been based on respect for the human rights of all citizens. Today, the Turkish government chooses to promote hatred and violence toward minorities. We see the most recent example of dehumanization and polarization in Turkey, with the unlawful arrest of eleven MPs representing the Peoples’ Democratic Party, including its co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.”
The Corning Centre will have the honour of introducing the documentary, Women of 1915 during its Canadian Premiere at the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural & Educational Society of Toronto’s 11th annual Pomegranate Film Festival. The documentary is directed by Bared Maronian, a four time regional Emmy Award winner. (www.pomegranatefilmfestival.com) The screening will take place on Sunday, November 20th at 1:00 PM at the Armenian Youth Centre auditorium, 50 Hallcrown Place, Toronto, Ontario M2J1P7.
Women of 1915 is the first documentary ever to unveil the role of Armenian women of the era, who lived through the horrors of the first Genocide of the 20th century. The documentary highlights the integral role Armenian women played in their respective communities and the heroic, humanitarian women advocates who came to their aid from around the world. It also shines light on those who died at the hands of the war-ravaged Ottoman Empire to empower the Armenian women as pillars of war-torn, post-Genocide societies. Four-time regional Emmy award winning filmmaker Maronian’s documentary film, Women of 1915 follows his highly acclaimed documentary, Orphans of the Genocide. This documentary was selected by the Hong Kong World International Film Festival, and was distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association to over 250 TV stations across the U.S..
The Corning Centre has the honour of participating in Toronto's Holocaust Education Week this year with a presentation titled Memory and Justice: The Armenian Genocide in partnership with Temple Kol Ami. The event will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 7:30pm at Temple Kol Ami.
36 Atkinson Avenue, Thornhill
The event description on the official website, http://holocaustcentre.com/HEW-Program-Search, reads,
"Raffi Sarkissian, founder and chair of the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education, will present about the importance of memory and justice and the challenges faced in remembering and commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the face of genocide denial and the passing of the surviving generation. This program takes place during Friday night services."
We look forward to seeing you there.