USC Shoah Foundation was featured at the USC Institute of Armenian Studies’ Innovate Armenia festival for the first time on Saturday.
Now in its third year, Innovate Armenia is an all-day event on the USC campus including scholar talks, live music, exhibitors, and more. This year’s themes were post-Armenian Genocide research, diaspora studies, and Armenian STEM innovators.
USC Shoah Foundation Senior Director of Programs and Operations Kori Street spoke at USC’s Bovard Auditorium as part of a symposium featuring short talks by over a dozen scholars in the fields of Armenian studies and education.
In her talk “How to Fathom Genocide,” Street spoke about the powerful testimonies of Armenian Genocide survivors and survivors of other genocides in the Visual History Archive and IWitness. The testimonies illustrate the survivors’ humanity in the face of tragedy and can teach students valuable lessons about empathy, tolerance and respect.
“This is how we can bring students and individuals and humanity back to the point that genocide doesn’t happen to six million, or one and a half million, or what the big numbers are. It happens to individuals,” Street said. “These individual lives are what we need to focus on. And if we can listen to these 55,000 voices [from the Visual History Archive], they talk about horror and hate as much as they talk about love and beauty, we can start to close that gap. We can make it relatable. And if we can make it relatable and build that empathy we can help students fathom not only how genocides happen, why they happen, and hopefully fathom how they can contribute to stopping them.”
The symposium was live streamed, reaching a global audience of thousands. View it in its entirety in the video above; Street’s talk begins at 2:43:30.