WWU and Northwestern University Partner for ‘Teaching the Holocaust in the Global Age’ May 10-12

The Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University (HEF) will hold its inaugural Regional Institute for faculty from the U.S. and Canada at Western Washington University May 10-12.

Founded in 1976 by Zev Weiss, a Holocaust survivor and trained educator, the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern has been an international leader in Holocaust Education for nearly four decades and through many different projects, including its annual faculty Summer Institutes at Northwestern University and the biannual Lessons and Legacies Conference.

“We are delighted that Northwestern’s Dr. Sarah Cushman, director of the Holocaust Educational Foundation, invited us to spearhead the organization of their first ever Regional Institute on our campus,” Sandra Alfers, director of Western’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, said.

“Partnering with the most recognized university organization in Holocaust Education is an outstanding accomplishment for WWU, and it speaks to the quality work the Wolpow Institute has engaged in since its creation in 2016,” Brian Burton, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Western, added. 

The inaugural Regional Holocaust Institute offers an opportunity for scholars new to HEF as well as those who have previously attended the Summer Institute to expand their knowledge of the Holocaust. The weekend seminar at Western will focus on new topics in the field, cutting-edge research, and pedagogical practices as it brings outstanding scholars with expertise to serve as faculty and create an environment conducive to high-level learning and discussion.

Twenty faculty participants from across the United States and Canada have been admitted to the Regional Institute and will attend sessions and talks by Amy Wlodarski (Dickinson College), Devin Naar (University of Washington), Martina Cucchiara (Bluffton University), Sarah Cushman (Northwestern University), Sarah Zarrow (Western), and Sandra Alfers (Western). Topics include musical witness and Holocaust representation, antisemitism, queer theory and gender, Holocaust memorialization, and Best Practices in Holocaust Education.

As part of the weekend program, the public is invited to attend the free keynote lecture, “From the Ottoman Empire to Auschwitz: The Mediterranean Jewish Experience of the Holocaust” by Devin Naar (University of Washington), at Congregation Beth Israel, 751 San Juan Blvd., 7:30 p.m. on Saturday May 11.

“We are very excited to host the keynote lecture on our new campus in Bellingham,” Steven Garfinkle, president of Congregation Beth Israel and professor of History at Western, said. “The work of the Wolpow Institute on Holocaust Education in the Global Age, and its partnership for this event with HEF, are both timely and critical, and we welcome the honor of supporting this work.”

The inaugural Regional Institute is made possible by the generous support from Northwestern University, Bernhard Kohlmeier & Lisa Ann Mikulencak, David Goldman & Linda Blackwell, Congregation Beth Israel, the Western Libraries, The President’s Office, Office of the Provost, University Residences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Modern and Classical Languages, Global Humanities and Religions, and The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity.

For more information, contact RWI’s Sheila Pennell at (360) 650-7737 or sheila.pennell@wwu.edu.