IWitness provides access to more than 2,000 oral histories and reaches more than 100,000 educators and students
In April, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) partnered with USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education to integrate all videos from the AGBU WebTalks series—addressing both the Armenian Genocide and Armenian identity—into the USC Shoah Foundation’s award-winning educational website IWitness.
AGBU WebTalks is an online video series that conveys the insights and passion of engaging, inspiring and dynamic thinkers from around the world speaking on a wide range of Armenian topics. The collaboration is designed to further the study of the Armenian Genocide and identity through professional-development opportunities for educators and new engaging, multimedia resources for students around the world.
The Institute’s Armenian Genocide collection was initiated in 2010, when the Armenian Film Foundation and USC Shoah Foundation signed a historic agreement to digitize, index and preserve footage of nearly 400 interviews with survivors and witnesses filmed by the late documentarian J. Michael Hagopian. The agreement paved the way for the preservation and dissemination of the largest collection of filmed interviews about the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century. Five years later, the collection was integrated into the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive® and the first set of interviews was made available in IWitness to educators and students worldwide.
IWitness provides access to more than 2,000 histories of survivors and witnesses to genocides for guided exploration, bringing human stories of the Institute’s Visual History Archive® to more than 100,000 secondary school educators and students in 80 countries.
Launched in 2017, the new IWitness Armenia page is dedicated to telling this tragic chapter in Armenian history. With all of the USC Shoah Foundation’s educational resources on the Armenian Genocide, educators can not only find video testimonies from the Hagopian collection, but the site has now expanded to include segments from the AGBU WebTalks series. The featured clips cover forced marches, the Hamidian and Adana massacres, forced conversion, resistance, rescuers/aid, genocide denial and memory, and are supplemented with lessons, teacher guides and other educational resources.
“By bringing the AGBU WebTalks series into IWitness, we are providing students with even more context and understanding about the Armenian Genocide, which far too few people know about,” said USC Shoah Foundation Senior Director of Programs and Administration Kori Street. “Our partnership will benefit both of our organizations by allowing us to share our expertise.”
AGBU WebTalks speakers include psychologist and genocide scholar Israel Charny; historians Richard Hovannisian, Raymond Kévorkian, and Khatchig Mouradian; human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson; French journalists based in Turkey Laure Marchand and Guillaume Perrier; editor and publisher of translations of Zabel Yessayan’s work, Judith Saryan; and others. The short video interviews currently available online are a rich repository of knowledge and provide online access to authoritative and reliable information about Armenian history and culture to meet the demands of our connected and visual world. Additional videos from the growing collection will be added over time.
“Our goal is to increase the exposure of our scholars, thinkers and artists to ensure students and learners of all ages have multiple means of accessing their expertise,” said Natalie Gabrelian, Director of Alternative Education at AGBU. “Thanks to the partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation, the Armenian story will now reach mainstream audiences, transcending cultures and ethnicities, thereby being heard by all of humanity.”
Based at the University of Southern California (USC), the USC Shoah Foundation is the world’s leading organization in visual testimony-based education, with professional development and digital tools reaching dozens of countries and a unique educational website, IWitness, whose goals are to help overcome prejudice, intolerance and hatred. At the heart of the Institute’s efforts is the Visual History Archive (VHA), the world’s largest collection of audiovisual interviews (over 55,000) of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust during WWII, the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the late 1970s Cambodian Genocide, the early 1980s Guatemalan Genocide, the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, and the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China.
To explore USC Shoah Foundation’s IWitness Armenia page, please visit http://iwitness.usc.edu/sfi/sites/armenia/Resources.aspx.
To learn more about AGBU WebTalks, please visit https://www.agbuwebtalks.org/.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org