About the Consortium
There are approximately two hundred centers dedicated to Holocaust, genocide and/or human rights studies located on the campuses of private and public universities and colleges across North America. These centers respond to the ongoing challenges of upholding rights, preventing genocide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust, thereby fulfilling an educational need for colleges and universities, their neighboring communities, and the world at large. With support for such centers at risk, and the scourges of racism, xenophobia and antisemitism rising, the value that these centers add to the higher educational landscape is vital. However, to survive and thrive, these centers need leadership that a formal consortium provides as well as financial, institutional and research support.
In December 2017, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum assembled key stakeholders from these centers to foster exchange and to explore the potential for a more formal collaboration that would secure the existence of these centers and amplify their work. This summit determined that the establishment of a formal consortium was a viable and necessary endeavor. In December 2019, at its first regular meeting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, members officially established the Consortium of Higher Education Centers for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies. The Consortium became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2021.
The Consortium provides a formal network of diverse academic centers dedicated to advancing public and scholarly research and education on the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights. It advocates on behalf of these centers in terms of individual support and legitimacy within host academic institutions, as well as in terms of content relevance at local, regional, national, and international levels. The Consortium facilitates and launches new networks and collaborations among specific centers that would share regional and state resources and develop projects, programs, and other defined initiatives. It helps cultivate and leverage opportunities and resources at the national level, including but not limited to financial support, professional development, curricular enhancements, job placement for students, and to train the next generation of Consortium leaders. Our vision is to secure these centers as vibrant research and educational programs, to integrate the subject areas across disciplines in the curricular and degree programs, and to support students and faculties who seek professional opportunities on and off campus as educators and activists in the fields of Holocaust, genocide and human rights studies.
Higher education centers dedicated to the study of Holocaust, genocide, and human rights are vital and irreplaceable resources for the colleges, universities, and communities they serve. They contribute to public education, teaching, research, policymaking, community engagement, and advocacy. The Consortium supports the growth of Holocaust, genocide, and human rights centers, endeavors to empower them, and stands for the following values:
- Recognition of fundamental equality of all people regardless of religion, ethnicity, class, nationality, gender, sex, social status, age, or (dis)ability
- Assurance of basic human rights for all people, especially among vulnerable, marginal, threatened, or at-risk communities
- Protection from harm and injustice, systemic and otherwise, especially when hateful ideologies are promoted and discriminatory acts carried out by social agents or political systems.
- Acknowledgment and commemoration of past and present traumas suffered in genocides, atrocities, and human rights abuses
- Commitment to the integrity of free and open scholarly inquiry in higher education and in public discourse
As directors of Holocaust, genocide, and human rights centers in our institutions, we are often serving many constituencies who have different needs and demands, respond to public pressures, and navigate requests and regulations that come to us from the administration or donors. At times, we may feel overwhelmed, or stuck, or simply need some advice, recommendations, or a sympathetic ear. For this reason, the Consortium’s Executive Committee decided to offer our members an opportunity to schedule a talk (confidential, if requested) for feedback, ideas, and encouragement. We call this initiative the Consortium Sounding Board (CoSoBo):
The Consortium’s Executive Council (EC) offers advisory sessions to any members of the Consortium who need guidance on issues, concerns, and problems related to their work as center directors. We will provide a support group from the EC that will carefully listen, understand the problem, and give feedback and advice in a respectful and nurturing environment.
- Such a session can be initiated by any Consortium member at any time by writing to the co-chairs.
- At first contact, the co-chairs will clarify with the initiator
– the main areas/topics to be addressed
– whether any information needs to be treated confidentially
– that we can neither provide legal nor psychological expertise
– how many EC conversation partners the initiator would like to have in an advisory session
- The co-chairs bring the case to the full EC in a timely manner and ask for volunteers. The co-chairs will assist in facilitating the setup of such a session.
- If requested, confidentiality before, during, and after will be assured.