In January 2015, I traveled to Poland for the Auschwitz: Past is Present professional development program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau. This entire experience, was and continues to be a life changing event for me on every level personally, professionally, and academically.
A person doesn’t visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and come away unchanged, and I was no exception.
The empty barracks, the barbed-wire fencing, the solemn exhibits, the telltale chimneys – all these vestiges left a strong impression. But what struck me most was the sheer vastness of the sprawling memorial to history’s most notorious death camp.
Walking through Birkenau with my tour group, I gaped at the emptiness stretching for a mile in every direction – nothing but the crumbling remains of buildings half-buried in snow.
On Jan. 19, 2016, the Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) organized a commemoration for the ninth anniversary of the assassination of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. It was exactly nine years after my friends and I learned of his murder without fully understanding who he was and what his legacy would mean to us in the years to come.