November 19, 1997

Washington, D.C. -- In support of New Jersey’s mandate on human rights education, the Julius and Dorothy Koppelman Holocaust/Genocide Resource Center at Rider University sponsored a workshop on the Armenian Genocide on October 23, 1997.

The Armenian Genocide and its implications were the theme for the University’s tenth annual Holocaust/Genocide Human Rights Program for high school students and teachers. Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute (ANI), was the featured speaker and leader of the Lawrenceville workshop attended by 35 teachers from the New Jersey public school system. Adalian also addressed a group of 300 high school students, who engaged him in a very telling question and answer session. Central to their queries were the topics of world reaction to the Armenian Genocide and the role played by the United States in alleviating the plight of the survivors.

“Students today are very aware of human rights problems around the world. They see an important lesson in the failure of the international community to respond forcefully to the Armenian Genocide and draw their own conclusions about current problems,” observed Dr. Adalian. “Teachers find the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the Irish Famine, and other examples of inhumanity as important sources for understanding history, and many committed educators are now wholly familiar with the literature on these subjects. Their grasp of the issues would impress any specialist,” added Adalian.

Following Adalian’s talk was a poignant presentation by Mrs. Alice Tashjian. She shared the survival story of her mother who was abducted by Kurds and subjected to terrible physical abuses as a slave laborer. Mrs. Tashjian explained how and why she wrote her recent book, Silences: My Mother’s Will to Survive. She wanted to capture the pain and the meaning of the long moments of silence that followed whenever her mother spoke of her suffering during the Genocide.