Alan Arkatov

Educating About the Holocaust is A Family Affair

For USC Rossier School of Education Professor Alan Arkatov, supporting USC Shoah Foundation is a family affair. Alan’s role started when he created USC Rossier’s Center EDGE (Engagement Driven Global Education) -- a new research center dedicated to educational innovation and cross-sector partnerships that focuses on student engagement.

One of his first acts in this capacity was to form a partnership with USC Shoah Foundation’s education team. His aim: to help expand and scale the Institute’s award-winning IWitness education platform.

Providing the funding for this partnership were Alan’s parents, Salome and Jim Arkatov, civic activists and accomplished artists who respectively served as a piano faculty member at UCLA and as the founder of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Both Salome and Jim watched their families be directly impacted by antisemitism and the Holocaust. Being able to effectively address and counter the root causes and triggers for antisemitism, is a priority for them.

What the Arkatovs appreciate so much about IWitness is its dedication to offering an antidote to a rising tide of hatred and intolerance happening worldwide. “I think IWitness is an exceptional program -- and it has the transformative capacity to scale and lead the global fight against antisemitism,” Alan said.

The impact of IWitness has already been demonstrated at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the school in Parkland, Florida that was targeted in a mass shooting in early 2018. The school has been using IWitness in the classroom for years; this year, students from the school became national icons for challenging the status quo, and they were able to use many of the lessons learned from the content and discussions framed by the program. “IWitness does more than educate, it inspires students to take responsibility for changing the world,” Alan said, “And who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”