Syracuse University Joins Program for First Time
Educators from China to Visit Houston Museum to Hear from National Experts, Gain New Perspective on the Holocaust

HOUSTON, TX (May 15, 2006) – Professors from three universities in the People’s Republic of China will visit Houston this May to study – and potentially replicate in their own country – a one-of-a-kind program that helps future educators learn how to teach their students about one of history’s grimmest times.

Professors Lihong Song of the Department of Religious Studies at Nanjing University, Qianhong Zhang of the College of History and Culture at Henan University and Jianxin Hou from Tianjin Norman University in China will join 21 future teachers from Texas colleges and six from Syracuse University in New York for the 2006 Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers at Holocaust Museum Houston.

Five other Chinese educators may attend but are awaiting final clearance to enter the United States.

The nationally acclaimed week-long fellowship begins May 22 and provides intensive training and opportunities to hear from international experts on World War II history and survivors of the Nazi atrocities of the Holocaust.

“Because of its previous history as a nation closed to the outside world, many Chinese educators and their students have very little knowledge about the full scope of the Holocaust,â€? said Susan Myers, executive director of the Museum. “Many are aware of the invasion of the Chinese mainland, but they are largely unfamiliar with what occurred in Europe and the lessons to be learned from those events.”

She said the visit marks the first time that educators from China have traveled to the United States as an organized group to learn how to teach the Holocaust to future generations in that country. The goal is that the Chinese professors will return to their country and establish an extension of the Warren Fellowship there, she said.

The visit was arranged after Myers and former Houston City Councilman Mark Goldberg visited China last summer under the auspices of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research – an organization of governments, agencies and institutions from 24 member countries.

Internationally recognized Holocaust experts who will address the group include:

Dr. Benjamin Ferencz, who at age 27 served as chief prosecutor at one of the Nuremberg war crimes trials, where he convicted 22 leading Nazis of murdering more than a million people.
Dr. Bryan Mark Rigg of the American Military University and Southern Methodist University and author of the book “Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler’s Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe;â€?
Dr. William Meinecke, a scholar with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; and
Orit Margaliot of Yad Vashem in Israel.
Other instructors will include Dr. Mary Lee Webeck and Dr. Sherry Field of The University of Texas at Austin and Susan Shaw, associate director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Southwest Regional Office.

The students also will take a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) to hear Ferencz speak on “Protecting Human Rights through Law.â€? That session, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, will be free and open to the general public.

The group also will hear from the MFAH’s Dr. Anne Wilkes Tucker, who will speak about the MFAH’s current exhibition, “Bringing Shadows to Light: Contemporary Argentine Photography,â€? to draw parallels with the Holocaust and other human rights violations.

Rigg also will speak at a free lecture open to the public at 7 p.m., on Thursday, May 25, at Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St.

The fellows, who will become elementary or secondary school teachers, also will meet in small groups with Houston-area survivors of the Holocaust to hear their experiences first-hand.

Participants this year, their schools and hometowns are:

Baylor University: Suzanne Palmer (Irving, TX).
Schreiner University: Caroline “Mimiâ€? McMurrey (Hunt, TX).
Stephen F. Austin State University: Shannon T. O’Brien (Nacogdoches, TX).
Syracuse University: Melanie Mehanna (Clinton, NY); Thomas Moran (Bedford, MA); Sharon Ostrowsky (Waban, MA); Jonathan Smith (Webster, NY); Christina Valerino (Weedsport, NY); and Joy Wilson (New London, CT). They will be accompanied by professors Alan Goldberg (Fayetteville, NY); and Ruth Stein (Syracuse, NY).
Texas A&M University at Texarkana: Toni Norton (Texarkana, TX).
The University of Texas at Arlington: Nick Clark (Crowley, TX); Carolyn Cullum (Arlington, TX); and Christine Kesling (Mansfield, TX).
The University of Texas at Austin: Laura Davis (Houston, TX); Julia Englund (Austin, TX); Demare Flynn (Austin, TX); Carol Franklin (Austin, TX); Amy Larcade (Beaumont, TX); Matthew Payne (Austin, TX); Muquita S. Rodriguez (Austin, TX); and Brenda Townsend (Del Valle, TX).
The University of Texas at El Paso: Aaron Edstrom (El Paso, TX); Luis Jacquez (El Paso, TX); and Maria Pace (El Paso, TX).
The University of Texas at San Antonio: Kimberly Dooley (San Antonio, TX); Marisol LaSelva (San Antonio, TX); and Juan Ozuna (San Antonio, TX).
Fellowship recipients were selected based on an application process that included an essay about the importance of teaching the dangers of intolerance, prejudice and hatred to today’s students.

The Warren Fellowship was developed by Holocaust Museum Houston with funding from survivor Naomi Warren and her family, through the Warren Fellowship Fund, to train future teachers on strategies and approaches for bringing Holocaust education into the classroom. Additional sponsors of this year’s program include the task force and the Solomon Spector Foundation of Syracuse, New York.