“The Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) [at the University of Denver] is sponsoring a $1 million project to build the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site that is scheduled to be completed and ready for use as a gathering space to cultivate intercultural activities by May 5…The site…will be used for students to learn intercultural dialogue and social justice initiatives, according to Sarah Pessin, director of the CJS…The Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site will have outdoor seating to accommodate up to 60 people with an area around it large enough to hold up to 300 more using folding chairs…Pessin said that the site is meant to be a completely different way of looking at a memorial because the lives of those lost during the Holocaust will be honored through activities that promote diversity and create a better world…”The spirit of the site is open and inclusive,” said Pessin. “Anything that makes the world a better place is what the site is all about.
According to Pessin, the site construction is also linked to a $3 million Endowed Chair of Holocaust Studies project, which is an endowment for a new faculty person to join DU to teach classes on a range of issues related to the Holocaust, genocide and social justice. The exact time for when the new faculty member will be hired is yet to be determined.
“We do not know who this will be,” said Pessin. “We will do an international search for this faculty hire, as we do for all DU faculty members, once the funds are in place.”
The first related program, “Voices in Dialogue: An Interfaith Bridge-Building Workshop” will occur April 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management. The theme of this event is “Engaging the Stranger” and will feature religious leaders from Muslim, American Indian, Jewish and Christian traditions…speakers will discuss how to use their own tradition to “engage the stranger” …
“I anticipate learning a lot more about other religious backgrounds that I was not familiar with previously,” said Meaghan Burns, program development coordinator for the CJS. “I find the religion of the human race fascinating and the way people reach out to their spirituality extremely engrossing.”
The first scheduled event for the usable site, “Digital Storytelling for Social Justice,” will be held on May 5. It will be part of a screening project where 16 students show a two-to-three minute digital story on a range of student selected social justice issues…”As DU spends more time and effort focusing on diversity and inclusivity, I think that this format in particular is very relevant to those goals,” Burns said. “The Holocaust Memorial Social Action site is all about social action and learning about others so that atrocities like the Holocaust can be prevented. The dialogue of the site is directly related to the goal.”
For more information, see the original article in the University of Denver Clarion.