USC Shoah Foundation Partners with Armenian Genocide Museum

Wed, 12/22/2021 - 9:20am

USC Shoah Foundation and the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Foundation (AGMI) in Yerevan have launched a new partnership to develop programming to extend the reach of their collections, research and education initiatives using testimony related to the 1915 Ottoman campaign that murdered 1.5 million Armenians.

Under the new partnership, USC Shoah Foundation and the AGMI will formulate a program of research and create testimony based educational material for both AGMI platforms and IWitness, the USC Shoah Foundation’s online resource for secondary school teachers and students.

Dr. Edita Gzoyan, Deputy-Director at the AGMI, said the partnership will help raise awareness about the genocide and displacement that took place more than a century ago.

“Both the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Foundation and USC Shoah Foundation work towards the same goal—to educate people about the crime of genocide and its horrible consequences for humanity. We hope that in partnership we will be able to reach this goal more easily,” Dr. Gzoyan said.

Dr. Kori Street, Interim Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation, said there is no better way to fight the denial of the Armenian Genocide than by preserving and including the voices of survivors in education work.

"Collaborating with AGMI and learning from their deep expertise will ensure the survivor voices reach the largest possible audience," Dr. Street said.

USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive currently contains 450 preserved and indexed audio and video testimonies of Armenian Genocide survivors, witnesses, descendants and scholars, along with hundreds of photographs and documents. Hundreds more testimonies and photos are in the process of being indexed with support from the Dadourian Foundation and others.

More than 120 of the testimonies in the Visual History Archive stem from the Richard G. Hovannisian Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection, a massive library of more than 1,000 interviews collected by Professor Hovannisian and his UCLA students over a 50-year period. The Hovannisian collection was donated to USC Shoah Foundation in 2018, joining hundreds donated by Dr. Michael Hagopian of the Armenian Film Foundation which were integrated into the Visual History Archive in 2016.

A key component of the partnership between USC Shoah Foundation and AGMI will be the transfer—after full restoration and digitization—of a digital copy of Professor Hovannisian’s collection to the AGMI.

Cumulatively, the Armenian Genocide testimonies made available through USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive comprise one of the largest sets of Armenian testimonies in the world, and the largest non-Holocaust-related collection in the Visual History Archive.

USC Shoah Foundation is making good use of these testimonies, with the education team designing and delivering training programs to K-12 and university educators. On the IWitness page dedicated to these resources, educators can find 35 clips of testimony from USC Shoah Foundation’s Armenian Genocide collection.

These cover topics including Forced Marches, Adana & Hamidian Massacres, Forced Conversion, Resistance, Rescuers/Aid, Genocide Denial and Memory, and are offered alongside classroom-ready activities for middle school and high school classes across a range of subject matters  In addition, a suite of pre and post-viewing lessons extending the reach of The Promise (2016) film are also available for educators in English and Armenian.