On October 15, Dr. Constantine Hatzidimitriou gave the keynote address at the Illinois Council for the Social Studies (ICSS) Annual Conference to an audience of over 120 high school teachers. The ICSS is the state affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies and this was its annual state conference with over 30 workshops on various topics dealing with the social studies.
Teaching about Genocide at Wisconsin Social Studies Conference
WI - On March 16-17, the Genocide Education Network of Illinois (GENI) and the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago shared an exhibit booth and a presentation at the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, held near
Volunteers from St. John Armenian Church and from the Armenian National Committee of Wisconsin, Zohrab Kaligian and Lyle Dadian, along with Anastasia Skoupas from the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, discussed with educators the booth display, which commemorated the Armenian and the Pontian and Anatolian Greek Genocides. Also on display were historical works, such as Samantha Powers’, A Problem from Hell; Taner Akcam’s, A Shameful Act; Constantinos Fotiadis’, The Genocide of the
Pontus Greeks Vol. 13; and Edward Hale Bierstadt’s, The Great Betrayal. Additionally, the novels and memoirs on display included Antonia Arslan’s Skylark Farm and Thea Halo’s Not Even My Name. Curricular guides displayed included the Choices for the 21st Century Project, the Facing History and Ourselves, and the Genocide Education Network. Over fifty of the conference’s participants stopped by the booth to review materials, ask questions, and discuss how they teach genocide in their classrooms.
For more information, contact Sona Birazian at (773) 968-9595 or George Mavropoulos at(630) 303-4361.
Canton, OH - On Saturday, April 19, 2008, the Pontian Society, Komninoi of Canton, Ohio, and President H. Steven Poulos, organized a public lecture, Turkey: A Country Still in Denial, at Walsh University as part of their continuing education program. Local educators and community members in attendance followed the lecture, which covered three historical periods: Early Pontian Greek History, The Genocide of the Pontian Greeks, and the violent events of 1955 experienced by the Greek community in Istanbul, Turkey.
George Mavropoulos, President of the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, and Anastasia Skoupas, Seminar Director for the organization, discussed the Pontian Greek Genocide. They also distributed The Pontian Greek Genocide: A Teaching Unit, which is a curriculum guide for educators created with the assistance of members of their organization.
Professor Bill Samonides, a historian who has researched and documented interviews with national and local Pontian Greek families, spoke on the early history of Pontian Greeks living in Asia Minor. Samonides is responsible for the Golden Fleece exhibit at the McKinley Museum in Canton, OH.
Special guest speaker, Apo Torosyan, artist and documentary filmmaker, presented his personal account of the 1955 pogrom of the Greek community in Istanbul, Turkey. A viewing of Mr. Torosyan’s powerful film VOICES concluded the lecture. Torosyan recently completed a documentary entitled The Morgenthau Story, which will premier in Athens, Greece on September 27, 2008.
Before the question and answer segment, Eleni Phufas, a professor of Erie Community College, Buffalo, NY, briefly discussed her most recent project, the translation of the book Number 31328: the Book of Slavery by Elias Venezis. She read a powerful passage from this memoir, which details the author’s living conditions after being taken hostage by the Turks and sent to work for over a year in forced-labor brigades.
87th Annual National Council for the Social Studies Conference - 2007
San Diego, CA - In an effort to promote genocide education and awareness, ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian, Anastasia Skoupas, a member of the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, and Ron Levitsky an educator at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield, IL presented at the 87th Annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference which took place November 29th to December 2nd  at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.
On October 19th, 2007, the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago and the Genocide Education Network of Illinois (GENI) co-sponsored a six-hour workshop, “Are you prepared to teach about Genocide?” at the historic home of former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson in Mettawa, IL.
Anastasia Skoupas, English teacher at Proviso East High School and Board Member of the Pontian Greek Society, delivered a 20-minute lecture and PowerPoint presentation on the Pontian Greek genocide.
Members of the Society distributed curriculum guides and flyers concerning the genocide to the dozens of high school teachers in attendance. The event gave the members of the Pontian Greek Society an opportunity to speak individually with interested high school teachers who lack resources on teaching the Pontian Greek genocide - a historical event which many teachers had been unfamiliar with.
The Pontian Greeks shared the program with presentations on the Armenian genocide and the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur.
Volunteering their time from the Pontian Greek Society were George Mavropoulos, Savvas Koktzoglou, Thomas Mantzakides, and Demetrios Varnasidis.