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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)May 1, 2012

Sharon Van Blijdesteijn
Sharon Van Blijdesteijn
Telesphore Kagaba
Telesphore Kagaba
Eugenie Mukeshimana
Eugenie Mukeshimana

(MAHWAH, NJ) – The Gumpert Teachers’ Workshop, “Transitional and Transformative Justice in the Aftermath of Genocide,” will be held at Ramapo College on May 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Trustees Pavilion.

Sponsored by the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in cooperation with the New Jersey State Commission on Holocaust Education and with funding from the Gumpert Foundation and the New Jersey State Department, workshop participants will learn how exploring societal experiences from Germany and Yugoslavia to Peru and Rwanda, coming to terms with and transcending their tainted pasts can enhance the teaching of the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights in the classroom.

Transitional justice is implemented by a society coming to terms with an occurrence of mass violence, e.g. genocide or the widespread abuse of human rights.  It may be used in tandem with restorative measures to foster the recovery from mass violence and transgressions of human rights.  As such, they are not intended to be solely punitive, but are designed to assist a society as a means of building a better future.

Professor of Political Science and International Studies Dr. Rebecca Root will deliver the keynote to introduce the topic, focusing on the efforts in Peru to right the wrongs of the Fujimori regime (1990-2000) and the nearly two-decade long struggle against the Shining Path insurgency.

Dr. Root has a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts and has recently written her first book, “Transitional Justice in Peru,” which will be out this fall from Palgrave Macmillan.  At Ramapo, she teaches Political Science and International Studies, with a special focus on human rights.  She also serves as convener for the minor in Human Rights and Genocide Studies.

Sharon Van Blijdesteijn of Milburn High School will deliver a hands-on presentation on how the subject matter of transitional and transformative justice can be brought into the classroom to foster student involvement and engagement.

Van Blijdesteijn has been a history teacher at Millburn High School for the last eight years where she teaches World History, Global Issues, and Economics.  For the last three years she has served as the chair of the Holocaust Remembrance Day Committee and has worked to transform the event into a broadly focused Genocide Awareness Program, involving both survivor testimony and student-led discussion.  Van Blijdesteijn holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree (with Distinction) in Political Economy from the London School of Economics where her graduate research focused on philo-Semitism in Eastern Europe during Post-Communist Transition.

Two survivors of the Rwandan Genocide will reflect on the route their country has taken since the murderous events of 1994. Telesphore Kagaba was a teacher and interpreter at the time of the genocide and now an Immigration & Refugee Services Case Manager at Catholic Charities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Eugenie Mukeshimana, also a Human Services professional, is the founder and executive director of Genocide Survivors Support Network, a charitable organization based in South Orange, New Jersey with a mission to help genocide survivors rebuild their lives and use their voice to educate the world about the crime of genocide.

The workshop (including breakfast and lunch) is free.  Educators may register at: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=hpok9gdab&oeidk=a07e5snes5n94f48c13
For more information or to register by phone, please call 201.684.7409.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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