Why Genocide Recognition Matters

Posted by Jen Langley on April 22, 2022

This piece was originally released in April 2021 prior to President Biden's formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide. What follows is a reflection written by Facing History Sr. Director of Marketing & Analytics Jen Langley on her personal connection to this critically important historical chapter.


In late winter 2018, I walked into the Facing History and Ourselves offices to interview for a new job. Immediately, I stopped in my tracks as I saw a framed cover of Facing History's publication Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians. The cover depicts a painting by Arshile Gorky of the artist and his mother from a photograph taken in 1912 near the city of Van, in what was then the Ottoman Empire. Three years later during the Genocide, they would flee their homeland. Gorky’s mother would never recover, dying in his arms in 1919. 

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide

5 Timely Reads on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 16, 2022

In the wake of President Biden’s recent statement that Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine constitutes genocide, we are witnessing an outpouring of discussion and debate surrounding the implications of this charge.

What follows are 5 timely reads from Facing History’s archives that speak to crucial questions educators and their students may be asking at this moment. These pieces feature the voices of both educators and leaders in the fight to prevent genocide around the world, and address the following questions–

  • What is the meaning of the word “genocide” and how did this concept emerge?
  • How and with what tools can educators effectively teach about genocide today?
  • What does it look like for educators and students to contribute to the movement to prevent genocide? 
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Topics: genocide

5 Tools for Teaching About Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 13, 2022

Teaching about genocide is challenging for a number of reasons. Each instance of genocide is unique to the historical, cultural, and political contexts in which it emerges, demanding sustained intellectual engagement. Simultaneously, however, educators teaching about genocide are also called to engage themselves—and their students—in a level of emotional engagement and ethical reflection not required by most other topics of instruction. Below are 5 virtual tours, exhibitions, and professional development opportunities that educators can use to navigate these challenges with greater support:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

6 New Books on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 11, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary manifestations of various phenomena. However, the focus on these themes over one particular month can further marginalize the very phenomena we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Genocide Awareness Month this April and throughout all of the months of the year.

Below are six books that have been released in the last year that elevate understudied aspects of and connections between multiple historical genocides as well as the contemporary task of genocide prevention in a global climate of rising hate. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

9 Classroom Resources on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 6, 2022

Genocide Awareness Month each April is an annual period of remembrance that sheds light on the extremes of human behavior, surfacing the evil, altruism and resilience of which human beings are capable. As we sit with the strong emotions that this reflection elicits, there is also a rich opportunity to think critically about the specific historical and contemporary conditions under which genocide has occurred.

Below are 9 classroom resources that educators can use to unite head, heart, and conscience in their instruction on genocides past and present:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, genocide

New Books on Genocide, Resistance, and Resilience

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 1, 2021

Genocide Awareness Month every April is an important time to draw our attention to the victims of genocides that are ongoing in the contemporary world, that may yet happen, and that have already taken place, leaving an indelible mark on individuals, communities, and nations. However, Genocide Awareness Month is also an opportunity to recover and amplify the stories of people who, despite being targeted by perpetrators, have refused to be victims and resisted against all odds.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, genocide, china, Native Americans

"Never Again" in Action: Armenians Remember Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 24, 2020

Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day—an annual, international observance of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire between the years of 1915 and 1923. Despite the denialist rhetoric and political coercion of leaders in Turkey, nations around the world are beginning to tell the truth about the genocide perpetrated against Armenians, and witness the Armenian community’s immense resilience and humanity. After decades of political gridlock came to an end last December, the United States joined twenty-eight countries in formally recognizing the genocide. But there’s much more that must be done to honor this history of genocide and, this year, Armenians are leading the way through an unprecedented campaign.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide

New Books on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 10, 2020

During Genocide Awareness Month this April, we would like to draw educators' and parents' attention to Facing History’s rich array of teaching resources on genocide. But we also invite you to deepen your own learning with these 7 brand new titles written by scholars and memoirists grappling with the nature of genocide, its impacts on people around the world, and the acts of resistance and humanity that persist amid horrific circumstances. These books range in format from survivor testimony and multigenerational biography, to accounts of historical upstanders and scholarly analysis of how we represent and teach about genocide itself.

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Topics: Memory, Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, Upstanders, genocide

April is Genocide Awareness Month

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 8, 2020

In the midst of global catastrophe, it might seem counterintuitive to pause and acknowledge Genocide Awareness Month this April. But we cannot approach painful histories as ones to remember only when times are good. Further, this month is actually an opportunity to consider some of the tragedies that have unfolded—and may yet unfold—when people play upon fear, panic, hatred, and even apocalyptic thinking to marshal support for mass violence against particular populations. As we move through the month of April, stay tuned for these 5 new pieces of content related to the history and contemporary reality of genocide:

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Topics: genocide

On Yom HaShoah: Is "Never Again" a Question?

Posted by Roger Brooks on May 1, 2019

Commemorated with rituals and traditions, Yom HaShoah—or Holocaust Remembrance Day—helps us pause to focus on the lessons of history—painful, brutal history. In most communities, observations will feature presentations from Holocaust survivors or their children, remembrances in the flesh andthrough their storiesliving reminders of the exclamation, “Never again!”

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Topics: Holocaust, Holocaust and Human Behavior, genocide, international holocaust remembrance day

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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