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Keene State College Announces First Endowed Chair In Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Rick and Jan Cohen signing the memorandum of understanding to create the endowed chair, December 14, 2006.
Rick and Jan Cohen signing the memorandum of understanding to create the endowed chair, December 14, 2006.

KEENE, N.H., 9/11/07 - Keene State College will announce the creation of the College’s first endowed chair at a reception on Monday, September 17, at 4:30 p.m. in the Marion Wood Reading Room of the Mason Library. This announcement will be followed by the 10th annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room.

A generous gift from benefactors Janet and Richard Cohen has funded the Cohen Endowed Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which will enable the College to strengthen its leadership role in Holocaust Studies and expand that leadership to genocide studies. A scholar who has made original contributions to the discipline will fill the position.

“This gift is transformational for the Cohen Center and for the College as a whole,” says College president Helen Giles-Gee. “This endowed chair gives the center’s academic program the power to broaden its intellectual scope and reach a new level of academic excellence.”

The Cohen Center currently supports a minor in Holocaust Studies that combines historical background with an interdisciplinary exploration of the Holocaust through film, literature, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, sociology, women’s studies, and other history offerings. The curriculum gives students a firm knowledge of the Holocaust and helps to develop an understanding of its precipitating factors and legacy. With a deeper awareness of such issues as prejudice, discrimination, and racism, students are better able to analyze contemporary political situations and to think critically about ethical responsibility.

The College is currently expanding its curriculum to embrace the broader field of genocide studies. On Monday, October 22, the College will launch an Annual Genocide Awareness Lecture series with former U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who will present Preventing Genocide in the 21st Century: Lessons from Iraq, Bosnia, and East Timor.

On Saturday, May 3, 2008, the Cohen Center will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the world premiere of Lawrence Siegel’s Kaddish: A Musical Reflection on the Holocaust. The Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, recognized as a “center of excellence” by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, boasts a strong collection of print and media resources and holds a biennial residential summer institute for educators. One of the nation’s oldest Holocaust resource centers, it is a nonsectarian organization dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. It fulfills founder Dr. Charles Hildebrandt’s charge, “to remember…and to teach,” through annual community programming and educational outreach activities. For a schedule of workshops, in-service training, classroom presentations, and individual curriculum consultations, visit

The announcement and memorial lecture are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at 603-358-2490.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435