The Zoryan Institute Delivers its “Promoting Equity, Tolerance, Reconciliation, and Awareness Through Genocide Education Program” to Toronto High Schools

14 Dec 2023

TORONTO, Wednesday, December 13, 2023: In recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the Zoryan Institute delivered its high school program, Promoting Equity, Tolerance, Reconciliation, and Awareness Through Genocide Education, to four high school classrooms across the GTA this past month, reaching over 100 students. This program provides secondary school students with a foundational understanding of human rights and genocide, and with the knowledge and language to address issues of inequity and injustice with a more informed approach. Through these presentations, students receive the tools they need to call out human rights violations when they see them and to better understand and discuss current events that relate to these issues.
The Promoting Equity, Tolerance, Awareness and Reconciliation Through Genocide Education Program delivers secondary school level presentations to high school classrooms with the support of PhD candidates and early career scholars trained through the Zoryan Institute’s graduate-level Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP). Each presentation opens with an introduction to United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention, with examples from select cases of genocide, such as the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the cultural genocide of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The presentations include interactive classroom activities, including a group quote activity analyzing firsthand testimonies of genocide survivors, and the viewing of a short excerpt of the animated film, Aurora’s Sunrise, based on the Zoryan Institute’s oral history archive. By analyzing excerpts from powerful firsthand genocide survivor testimonies and literature in a comparative and interdisciplinary manner, high-school level students can understand and process the information presented and relate it to their lives and to various communities within the Canadian context.

The four classes that took place this past week were conducted by 2023 GHRUP alumna, Lauren Fedewa, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. When asked about her experience leading this program and making connections between Anne Frank, Matilda Mallet, and Aurora Mardiganian’s experiences of genocide, Lauren stated:

“Teaching these students how to identify elements of genocide and make connections between three different experiences of genocide was a fulfilling and impactful professional endeavor. It allowed me to get my own head out of the books and see firsthand how the next generation of young scholars and professionals engages with and responds to these lessons from history.”

Reflecting on some of the takeaways from one of the presentations, particularly about the Genocide Convention, this past month, a student commented:

“I learned that the definition of ‘genocide’ isn’t always inclusive to the different types of discrimination of groups that exist. I learned about the Armenian Genocide and what happened, as well as the terms that are used when discussing these issues.”

Another student remarked:

“Many genocide stories have a lot of commonalities. These topics should be talked about, so we know not to repeat them.”

The Zoryan Institute launched its Promoting Equity, Tolerance, Reconciliation, and Awareness Through Genocide Education program in 2022, with the support of the Ontario Ministry of Education. Since then the institute delivered presentations to 36 classrooms, and over 900 secondary school students. The Institute also offered these presentations to three high school classrooms in Phoenix, Arizona in April 2023, as part of the 11th Annual Genocide Awareness Week.  With the support of its 500+ alumni of Genocide and Human Rights University Program located in 70 countries across the world, and the financial support from its donors, the Zoryan Institute intends to expand its efforts to host this program in classrooms across the world.

For more information, or to book your classroom presentation today, please click on the link below:


This program requires a $300 donation per class to cover the expenses of the program.