December 4 marked an important highlight for the ongoing collaboration between AGBU Armenian Virtual College and the World Affairs Council of Austin. In anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and its Prevention, Genocide Awareness Conference was held online.
The collaborative initiative between the two institutions stood as a poignant testament to the efficacy of partnership and education. It brought together international students from Del Valle High School, Texas, who take Armenian History lessons as part of the AGBU AVC Hybrid Education Program to supplement their studies. The conference was also attended by the school principal, teachers, students, as well as other educators and distinguished guests from different countries.
AGBU AVC proudly presented honorary degrees to individuals who have significantly contributed to raising awareness about the topic of genocide. This recognition reflects AGBU AVC’s gratitude for the tireless efforts in fostering understanding, empathy, and a commitment to preventing future injustices.
As Dr. Yervant Zorian emphasized in his speech, “it’s important to examine contemporary history through the lens of the past.” This call resonated with the event’s broader objective of fostering a nuanced understanding of genocide.
Continuing the topic of the importance of education in such matters, Marine Khachaturyan, Manager of the Education Team, presented AGBU AVC’s substantial role in raising awareness through impactful projects, such as My Armenian Story of Survival, Women’s Response to Genocidal Crimes, Armenian Genocide Through the Eyes of Prominent Artists, and others among AGBU AVC special programs.
The event also featured a tribute to AVC alumnus Mike Cunningham, Director of the Geography of a Genocide Project, in recognition of his scholarly expertise and steadfast commitment to educational programs.
Beyond honoring accomplished individuals, the conference provided students with the unique opportunity to enrich their understanding of genocide through different opportunities like online courses, workshops, and other conferences.
After the award ceremony, AGBU AVC Hybrid Education Program students from Del Valle High School reflected on their experience with the AVC Armenian History Program. One of them said, “Thank you for this award and this opportunity to learn about the Armenian Genocide.”
“I think it’s important to learn about Armenian history because you need to be educated to prevent history from repeating itself,” another student added. “Not only are we getting knowledge but also making connections with other people. This project has been my favorite in school so far.”
In essence, the Genocide Awareness Conference and the partnership between the World Affairs Council of Austin and AGBU Armenian Virtual College not only marked a historically significant anniversary but also illuminated the perpetual imperative for collective awareness, remembrance, and proactive measures against genocide.