July 18, 2013 – High school educators are on campus this week to learn more about the Holocaust and genocide studies and earn a Georgetown certificate named in honor of a university professor who brought the first reports to the world about the World War II tragedy.
The 17 educators will earn a certificate from Georgetown’s Jan Karski Institute for Holocaust Education, part of the School of Foreign Service’s Program for Jewish Civilization (PJC).
Jan Karski was a Polish diplomat and resistance fighter who later received his Ph.D. from Georgetown, where he taught for 40 years until his death in 2000.
Preventing Future Tragedies
The July 14-20, non-degree certificate program is taught by Georgetown faculty and includes guest lecturers from think tanks, government and non-governmental agencies, authors, independent scholars and clergy.
“The institute provides leading high school educators with state-of-the-art instruction in Holocaust and genocide studies,” says PJC director Jacques Berlinerblau. “It is our hope that these fine pedagogues will return to their classrooms not only enlightened by the instruction they received at Georgetown, but also equipped to use their knowledge to prevent tragic events in the future.”
The educators also have access to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and countless other Washington-based entities, and meet with leaders of major Jewish organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee the and Anti-Defamation League.
A highlight of the certificate program took place this past Monday, when the educators and Georgetown students serving as staff for the institute attended a dinner hosted by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Apostolic Nuncio, at the Apostolic Nunciature of the United States.
The U.S. Apostolic Nunciature, located in Washington, D.C., is a top-level diplomatic mission of the Holy See, equivalent to an embassy.
The evening included a presentation by Archbishop Emeritus of Washington Theodore Cardinal McCarrick on Jewish-Catholic relations.
“We were greatly honored to have been the guests of His Excellency Archbishop Vigano and His Eminence Cardinal McCarrick,” Berlinerblau says. “This type of event, the inspiration of PJC’s Rev. Dennis McManus, epitomizes what is best about Georgetown University – earnest dialog, interfaith exchange and the mutual transmission of knowledge.”
Berlinerblau says he personally “thanked the Papal Nuncio on behalf of Georgetown University and its Jewish community for hosting our teachers and students at this wonderful event.”
The institute, created in 2011, is the brainchild of McManus and Melissa Weinberg Spence, the program’s associate director. The certificate program debuted in 2012.
Responding to Questions
Participants earning the certificate gain an understanding of how the Holocaust developed, and how the tragedy continues to impact international relations and foreign policy.
“As a teacher, I am repeatedly amazed-and often unprepared to respond to the range of sensitive and emotional questions asked by our students,” says participant Geoffrey Smith of All Saints' Academy in Winter Haven, Fla., when asked why he is seeking the certificate.
Berlinerblau says the educators will leave Georgetown prepared to teach the subject matter in a way that satisfies state requirements for public, private and parochial schools.
The School of Foreign Service established the PJC in 2003 in keeping with the Georgetown mission to promote a deeper understanding of the world's religious communities and their role in global affairs.
Berlinerblau now directs the institute with Weinberg Spence and a 24-member executive committee led by government professor Robert Lieber.