Dr. David Frey, Associate Professor of History Director,
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
at West Point
Ms. Jennifer Ciardelli
Director, Civic and Defense Initiatives Levine Institute for Holocaust Education United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum
West Point’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS), in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), will conduct the fifth iteration of an innovative “Mass Atrocity Education Workshop: Teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide.” The purpose of the workshop, which will take place between 10 and 13 September 2015, in Washington, DC, is twofold. First, the workshop will aid USMA, USNA, USCGA and USAFA faculty as they seek innovative ways to incorporate learning about genocide and mass atrocity into their respective curricula, fulfilling 2012 presidential and OSD imperatives. Second, the workshop will produce new scholarship and publications with a range of post-secondary applications.
Specifically, this workshop will convene scholars in order to produce greater understanding of ways atrocity detection and prevention can be integrated into service academy teaching and research. The co-organizers, Dr. David Frey of West Point and Ms. Jennnifer Ciardelli of the USHMM, will gather a group of West Point, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard faculty from multiple departments; renowned Holocaust and genocide scholars; staff and experts from the USHMM, including representatives of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide; and individuals engaged in atrocity prevention and response work in USAID, the State Department, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in various NGOs.
The three-day program will focus on the evolution of the United States government’s capacity to
prevent, mitigate, and respond to genocide and mass atrocities today. Through examination of the foundational event of the Holocaust and contemporary genocides, participants will examine early warning mechanisms to prevent atrocity, the actions of perpetrators, witnesses, rescuers, enablers, victims and others, and the interagency potentials for prevention and response. The program will take advantage of the unparalleled resources, artifacts, archives, exhibits and expertise of the USHMM, including excerpts from the soon-to-be-released text, Fundamentals of Genocide and ass Atrocity Prevention, written by scholar Scott Straus in conjunction with the USHMM.
An intended outcome from this experience is that workshop participants will plan the development of Holocaust and genocide case studies or capstone projects in order to enhance the learning experiences of cadets and midshipmen. These micro-histories, lesson plans, or student-faculty research projects will help explain the process of genocide in ways that consider how we might best predict or prevent atrocity today. Multi-disciplinary analyses through the fields of economics, geography, math/statistics, the humanities, and political science, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, will allow our future leaders to better comprehend the process of genocide and mass atrocity and the varied ways of coding and evaluating these dynamics as a means to improve prevention and response.
Workshop participants will learn about recently created case studies and projects as models for intended output. The program’s small size is designed to produce an intense, intimate, and productive environment conducive to creative thinking and enduring collaborative relationships, as past iterations of the MAEW have. The workshop has the following specific objectives:
- To advance the field of genocide studies by contributing novel, interdisciplinary scholarship;
- To further understanding of the Holocaust and genocide with particular emphasis on knowledge relevant to military officers;
- To empower participants with the competencies (knowledge and skills) to develop accurate and meaningful lessons on the Holocaust and /or genocide to be incorporated into existing curricula at the United States service academies and other levels of military education;
- To clarify the value of the Holocaust and genocide content in the education of future military officers;
- To build awareness of genocide and mass atrocity and current efforts to enhance the world’s ability to prevent and respond to genocide;
- To enhance the relationships among service academy faculty, Museum staff, other scholars and policymakers; and
- To contribute to the development of the Department of Defense’s readiness to develop further education and training related to atrocity prevention and response.