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PLU signs partnership MoU with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center

PLU signs partnership MoU with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center

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Sheryl Ochayon, an attorney and educator who directs Yad Vashem’s “Echoes and Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom” program, speaking at PLU’s Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education in 2019.

Image: Sheryl Ochayon, an attorney and educator who directs Yad Vashem’s “Echoes and Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom” program, speaking at PLU’s Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education in 2019.

June 7, 2021
By Zach Powers
PLU Marketing & Communications

Leaders from Pacific Lutheran University and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement. Among the first of its kind between Yad Vashem and an American university, the agreement pledges that the two organizations will work collaboratively towards a shared goal of strengthening efforts to promote education and remembrance of the Holocaust and encourage the study of the Holocaust in schools and universities, communities and other institutions.

“We are very proud to enter into this partnership with Yad Vashem,” said PLU President Allan Belton. “In the months and years to come PLU and Yad Vashem will be working together to provide robust opportunities for students and community members from all over the Puget Sound region to engage in the critical work of Holocaust education and remembrance.”

The ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research, Yad Vashem’s integrated approach to Holocaust education and rememberance incorporates meaningful educational initiatives, groundbreaking research and inspirational exhibits. Located on Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem and established in 1953 by an act of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), Yad Vashem is entrusted with the task of commemorating, documenting, researching and educating about the Holocaust. 

Yad Vashem is pleased to sign the agreement with Pacific Lutheran University,” said Yad Vashem Director-General Dorit Novak. “Our International School for Holocaust Studies aims to provide teachers  with the necessary tools and materials to address the topic of the Holocaust with their students. Through our efforts, Yad Vashem encourages young scholars to further research the multifaceted nature of the Holocaust.”

PLU is home to an academic minor in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, an endowed chair in Holocaust history, an annual conference on Holocaust education, summer research fellowships for students studying Holocaust questions, and more. Collectively, these programs and opportunities reflect PLU’s prominence as the home of internationally recognized Holocaust scholarship. PLU’s role in the partnership with Yad Vashem will be led by faculty members from the university’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies Programs. 

“This partnership is absolutely thrilling,” said Beth A. Griech-Polelle, PLU’s Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies. “It opens up a wealth of opportunities for PLU faculty and students to work with internationally-acclaimed scholars and educators both on PLU’s campus and virtually on the campus of Yad Vashem’s facilities.”

“Through joint programs, our Holocaust and Genocide Studies minor will be further strengthened- from internships, to guest speakers, to shared conference speakers, and, ultimately, to organizing study trips to the International Institute for Holocaust Research of Yad Vashem, our students and faculty will be able to expand our knowledge of the Holocaust and the long-lasting ramifications of antisemitism on societies.”

PLU Holocaust and Genocide Studies Programs and Yad Vashem have collaborated previously. 

Sheryl Ochayon, an attorney and educator who directs Yad Vashem’s “Echoes and Reflections: Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom” program, was a speaker at at The Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education in 2019. Ochayon also was a virtual guest speaker a teach training program that PLU Holocaust and Genocide Studies faculty members produced earlier this month in partnership with Yad Vashem and Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity.

In the months and years ahead, representatives from PLU and Yad Vashem will discuss and develop a wide range of activities, including: 

  • Conducting joint work with in- and pre-service classroom teachers in the US through various media, including video conferences and e-learning platforms.
  • Exploring the possibility of coordinating seminars for academics and university students in the US and/or in Israel.
  • Exchanging educational materials and expertise.
  • Inviting University faculty and staff to apply to attend conferences at Yad Vashem and to become fellows, such as at the International Institute for Holocaust Research of Yad Vashem.
  • Inviting University students, faculty, and staff for tours and lectures at Yad Vashem as deemed applicable.
  • Inviting Yad Vashem staff and researchers to lectures and/or to give lectures at Pacific Lutheran University as deemed applicable.