Speakers Program

"I believe firmly and profoundly that anyone who listens to a witness becomes a witness."  --  Eli Wiesel


Our conference will be driven by the aim to humanize the tragedy of genocide (since statistics of fatalities can only take one so far); and we want to have a conversation about how human beings perpetrate and are affected by such horrific acts of violence. To that end, the conference will open with a nationally recognized scholar of genocide, Dr. Norman Naimark, Professor of East European Studies at Stanford University, who will define and historicize genocide.  (A summary of his most recent publication, Genocide:  A World History, can be accessed on Amazon.)  naimark_news.jpg (87508 bytes)

Among the most powerful forms of remembrance comes through music.  Therefore following Dr. Naimark's presentation, Lou De La Rosa, the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at West Valley College, will lead a choral performance dedicated to music of the Holocaust and other genocides.

But if our goal is to show the faces of genocide, a panel of survivors is essential to the success of our conference.  We are honored to have three additional speakers who are genocide survivors:

These extraordinary individuals will provide three distinct experiences to our audience guided by moderator Rabbi Philip Ohriner from Congregation Beth David.

But what will happen to our collective memory when the survivors pass on?  Will their experiences be retold?  Or do we risk forgetting the dead which would, in the words of Eli Wiesel, "be akin to killing them a second time."  We explore this issue in our second panel consisting of the descendants of genocide survivors who will provide testimony about the legacies inherited, the lessons they learned from their parents and grandparents, and their ideas about continuing to bear witness to those experiences even after the survivors have passed on.  We are extremely pleased to have the following panelists:

In order to integrate student participation into the seminar, the student winner of the "Genocide and Its Legacies Speech Contest" will present a speech following this panel.

champa patel.jpg (21308 bytes) Our final speaker will be Champa Patel, Head of the Asia Program of Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and formerly of Amnesty International.  She will close the day by leading a discussion about how the individual can work to prevent genocide specifically; and, more generally, how to seek opportunities to foster social justice, and to think globally and act locally, which is a tenet of being a "Global Citizen."

You can watch the speakers series on YouTube!



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Speakers Program

Room of Remembrance

Reading of Names

A Learning Space

Conference Schedule

Film Series

About the WVC Global Citizenship Committee

WVC Library Genocide Resources