Gr. 11 and 12 students join conversation about Holocaust and genocide at UBC

Public invited to UBC education forum on genocide and the Holocaust

UBC Professor Emeritus Rene Goldman.

On April 28, UBC's Okanagan campus will host the third annual Holocaust and Genocide Education Forum, bringing together community members, UBC scholars, students from Grades 11 and 12, and victims of genocide or the Holocaust in a discussion of the causes and consequences of genocide.

The forum aims to use education and self-awareness to prevent future occurrences of genocide.

"This is an important initiative because both here at home and internationally civil unrest can turn into a genocidal policy, as history shows," says Claude Desmarais, Reichwald Professor in Germanic Studies. "Teaching the leaders of tomorrow about past genocide and introducing them to survivors of genocide and their narratives is essential to creating awareness about the injustices that have been perpetrated in the past.

"As our world faces increasing turmoil for a variety of reasons, including demands for more democracy and climate change, the need to actively fight against the factors and events that lead to genocide becomes more and more important."

The forum, which is free and open to the public, takes place April 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the University Centre building, room UNC 200. Anyone interested in attending should register by April 21 at

Panellists and presenters at this year's forum are:

  • Adam Jones -- Professor of Political Science, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. Jones is the executive director of Gendercide Watch and was recently chosen one of Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide.  He will speak on genocide worldwide and provide the context for the types of genocide the program will touch on.
  • Rene Goldman --A child survivor of the Shoah (Holocaust). Goldman will speak about his experiences in France, French complicity and Jewish resistance efforts. A professor emeritus who taught at UBC’s Vancouver campus, he currently resides in Summerland, B.C.
  • Claude Desmarais -- Reichwald Professor in Germanic Studies, Department of Critical Studies, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. Desmarais teaches and publishes on the Shoah and the attempts to deal with this past in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
  • Gurmakh Parmar -- with the RCMP homicide department. Parmar will speak on hate crimes from the current legal perspective.
  • Angela White -- White is from the Snuneymuxw Nation on Vancouver Island. She works for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and has worked for First Nations for the past 20 years. She has given numerous talks on the legacy of the Indian residential schools.
  • Vera Jones -- Jones is from the Nisga'a Nation on BC's northwest coast. She is a residential school survivor and a resolution health support worker with the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

"Though it is impossible to represent the voices of those who have perished in genocides, or even all the voices of survivors, this forum will bring together survivors and specialists from a wide variety of fields, expressing inter-generational aspirations to, in fact, create a better world," says Desmarais.

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