RIC to host Belfer First Step Workshop on the Holocaust, March 22, 23

Rhode Island College is one of six institutions of higher education in the nation selected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to host the Belfer First Step Workshop, which is designed to prepare pre-service secondary teachers to integrate the Holocaust into their lesson plans effectively.

Ezra Stieglitz
According to Ezra Stieglitz, RIC professor of elementary education, “While there are some educators who are determined to teach their students about the Holocaust in a meaningful way, in many classrooms the Holocaust seems to be only a footnote of a history lesson.”

On Thursday, March 22, as part of the Belfer First Step Workshop, Peter Black, senior historian at the USHMM, will deliver keynote remarks titled, “The Nazis Among Us: The Prosecution of Perpetrators Living in the USA.” The event takes place in the Student Union Ballroom from 4-6 p.m.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and Christina Chavarria, program coordinator of the USHMM, will bring greetings and Judith Lynn Stillman, RIC’s artist-in-residence, will perform a musical interlude with two vocalists. The event is free and open to the public.

The second component of the Belfer First Step Workshop is on March 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Alger Hall 110. The multifaceted conference on Teaching the Holocaust is sponsored by the USHMM. Greetings will be delivered by Karen Castagno, associate dean of RIC's Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.

A host of topics will be covered by experts in the field including Peter Black, senior historian of the USHMM, and May-Ronny Zeidman, executive director, Holocaust Education Center of Rhode Island. Presentations will also be made by Stieglitz, Alice Goldstein, a local Holocaust survivor, and Kathleen Pannozzi, RIC assistant professor of educational studies. In addition, two representatives of the Regional Education Corps of the USHMM will participate.

Peter Black
This workshop will provide students with reference materials such as "The State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" and "Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust," and a flash drive produced by USHMM containing hundreds of photos, primary source documents and other curriculum materials.

Students from Rhode Island College, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Bridgewater State University and Salve Regina University have been invited to participate in this free conference. This event is not open to the public; members of the media are invited to attend.

“The Holocaust Museum has invested in RIC and put the materials in our hands to prepare our future teachers,” Pannozzi said.

Along with RIC, five other institutions were selected by the USHMM to participate in the Belfer First Step Workshop: Auburn University, CSU Long Beach, Illinois State University, St. Cloud State University, and the University of Northern Colorado.

The Belfer First Step Workshop is made possible by a grant from the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Foundation, in partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Holocaust Education and Resource Center of RI.

For more information about these events, please contact Ezra Stieglitz at (401) 456- 8560 or estieglitz@ric.edu or Kathleen Pannozzi at kpannozzi1@ric.edu.