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Holocaust Lecture Series aims to explore new ground

Monday, January 13th, 2014 | Posted by


Professor Mathilde Mukantabana

Professor Mathilde Mukantabana

“Never Again” is the title of the upcoming Holocaust and Genocide Lecture Series at Sonoma State University. The 31-year-old lecture series promises to explore new ground with speakers covering topics that include the genocides in both Bosnia and Guatemala.

The series will take place in the Warren Auditorium beginning on Tuesday, Jan 14 at 4 p.m. and will run through April 29.

Thirty years ago a combination of local Holocaust survivors, SSU faculty and community member came together to form the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide to ensure that “never again” would such tragedies and devastation occur. In turn, this led to the creation of the SSU lecture series on the Holocaust and Genocide in 1984 and the creation of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in 1987.

One of the highlights of the event will be on Tuesday, March 25 when the Rwandan ambassador to the U.S. will discuss the state of affairs in Rwandan society 20 years after the genocide in that nation. Her Excellency, Mathilde Mukantabana, has been a long-time speaker in the lectures series and is a member of the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide Board.

“My work with the Alliance and my contribution to the lecture series strengthened my nascent steps into the arena of social activism and broadened the scope and extent of my influence in both Rwanda and outside Rwanda,” said the ambassador in a statement. “My friends and colleagues at the Alliance enriched my life in more ways than I can count and have been my anchor for more than a decade.”

In addition to the series there will be a special event about preserving the legacy of Holocaust and genocide education on Sunday, Jan 26 at Congregation Ner Shalom from 2 to 5 p.m. which will include a speech from Mukantabana. A donation of $20 is asked for those who attend. Congregation Ner Shalom is located at 85 La Plaza in Cotati.

The full schedule of discussions includes:

  • Jan. 14: Introduction to the series & “The Master Race”, Prof. Diane L. Parness, Sonoma State University
  • Jan. 21: The Holocaust in Historical Perspective, Prof. Stephen Bittner, Sonoma State University
  • Jan. 28: Breaking the Silence: A Holocaust Childhood, Paul Schwarzbart
  • Feb. 4: The Armenian Genocide, Prof. Sergio LaPorta, CSU Fresno, Armenian Studies Program
    (Armenian Genocide Memorial Lecture)
  • Feb. 11: The Concept of Genocide, Prof. Myrna Goodman, Sonoma State University
  • Feb. 18: Origins of Anti-Semitism in Europe, Prof. Barry Preisler, Sonoma State University
  • Feb. 25: Lessons Learned from a Holocaust Childhood, Hans Angress
  • March 4: Perspectives On International War Crimes, Prof. Eric Williams, Sonoma State University
  • March 11: The Bosnian Genocide—Past, Present and Future, Mirza Velagic, Voices of the Bosnian Genocide
  • March 25: Rwanda Twenty Years After Genocide, Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana, Rwandan Ambassador to the United States
  • April 1: Becoming Evil, Prof. James Waller, Cohen Endowed Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Keene State College
  • April 8: Gender & Genocide (Robert L. Harris Memorial Lecture), Prof. Carol Rittner, RSM, Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies and the Dr. Marsha Raticoff, Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
  • April 15: The Guatemalan Genocide, Prof. Beatriz Manz, University of California, Berkeley
  • April 22: Hungary: The Perfect Storm, Prof. Diane Parness, Sonoma State University
  • April 29: Genocide Beneath Our Feet, Prof. Greg Sarris, Endowed Professor, Sonoma State University and Chairman, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Each presentation begins at 4 p.m. in the Warren Auditorium on the Sonoma State University campus.

The Holocaust and genocide lectures have featured the participation of Holocaust survivors, liberators and rescuers, as well as the contributions of leading scholars in the field. Lecture series faculty regularly receives comments from students about how the experience of this series has moved them to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility. For further information, contact Diane Parness, Holocaust Lecture Series Academic Coordinator, 664-3142.

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Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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