Our Center offers speakers on a variety of topics related to the mission of the Center. Our speakers are professors who teach at Bergen. Some are also descendants of genocide survivors who continue to share their ancestors’ stories.
For faculty who wish to join our Speaker’s Bureau, fill out the Speaker Proposal Form.
“The Ridgewood AM Rotary Club of NJ. has been honored on two occasions with speakers from the Center for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation: Both presentations were compelling, informative, and enlightening. … and the audience was highly engaged — a testament both to the vital subject matter of these presentations and the skills of the presenters.”
“Your presentation was the perfect complement to the material we have covered so far about not only the Armenian Genocide, but also genocide in general. … the kids were enthralled.” – Lauren Weber – Riverdell High School
- Medieval Spain: This talk will explore the history of medieval Spain as a model of “La Convivencia” during a time in which Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived in relative peace and harmony.
- Magna Carta & the Foundations of Liberty: The political history of medieval England will illuminate the origins of individual rights and the rule of law.
- Fascism & Communism: Discussion of political movements that are identified with totalitarianism, state terror, and mass violence. The nations/societies that were ruled by these extreme ideologies will also be explored.
- First Nations and Cultural Genocide
Focus on the historical issues surrounding the First Nations experience in the US and how that experience can be considered a genocide with cultural implications including the residential school system in North America.
- The Forgotten Holocaust: Transnistria
In September 1941, the Romanians began deporting Jews from the Bukovina and Bessarabia districts to what had been dubbed Transnistria. Over 100k Jews, including members of my father’s family, were sent, via death march, to the camps at Transnistria. This presentation will discuss the role of Romania in this aspect of the Holocaust and will review the experience of my family.
Cristina Haedo – Conflict Resolution Dialogue
- Conflict Resolution through Deliberative Dialogue
Organize a dialogue around difficult topics related to your subject matter. Engage students across differences in critical thinking by creating a safe space where controversial questions can be explored and students can tell their story and share their perspective. Dialogue builds trust and enables people to be open to listening to perspectives that are very different from their own. “Train the Trainer” facilitation sessions available.
For more information about dialogue models visit ncdd.org, The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
- TEDx Collaborators, Bystanders & Heroes –one person can make a difference, from a kind word to the boldest courageous act. The story details the desperate journey of the presenter’s parents from Paris to Ceyroux during the Holocaust and the roles of the righteous.
- Propaganda and Anti-Semitism
- Nazi-occupied France – “TonTon’s Story” describes the presenter’s Uncle escape from Nazi-occupied Paris and his survival in a Forced Labor Camp (STO) in Toron, Poland.
View 5-minute excerpts of her family’s oral histories from Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah: youtube.com/bevmargo
- “Uniting the diaspora with social media” – using the Internet and Facebook to fill in the blanks for families decimated by genocide – connecting survivors, documenting and identifying victims
Bonnie Fox Platter
- The Holocaust – “Hidden in the Hay: My Father’s Story” Abstract: This is a heart-wrenching account of the horrors of the Shoah/Holocaust, told in the words of the presenter’s father and mother. From the Jewish ghetto to the labor camps of Poland, to the city of Vienna into the Swiss mountains, the survivors’ memories and nightmares are shared by their daughter through interactive role-play and personal reflection.
- Other Topics: Antisemitism in schools and the workplace, French resistance, inter-generational trauma
- What is Fascism? This talk explores the scholarship devoted to understanding fascism as a generic political ideology identifiable in Italian Fascism, German Nazism, and other European extreme right wing movements of the interwar years. The talk asks students to use primary and scholarly sources in a seminar style discussion of how historians and contemporaries define fascism and whether it can be identified in the post WWII political environment.
- What is Genocide? This talk considers the extremely different definitions that modern society has for genocide. Students will learn about the UN legal definitions, the scholarly definitions, concepts of cultural and political genocides, and how related concepts like exploitation of labor, rape, forced conversion, and ethnic cleansing influence our understanding. The talk will also include student discussion of documents related to defining genocide and engage students in the construction of a usable definition of the term for the modern day.
- Collaboration and Resistance: This talk explores the experience of France during WWII and engages students with the primary, literary, and scholarly sources that show choices people faced under Occupation to resist, collaborate, or accommodate in a gray zone between the two. We discuss motivations that people had to collaborate, the ethically murky aspects of resistance, and how in some villages collaboration and resistance broke expected concepts of right and wrong/patriotic and traitorous.
Nvair Kadian Beylerian
- Armenian Genocide, Armenian Culture
Win Win Kyi – Myanmar series
- Part One: Chronology and Impact of various eras in Myanmar ( formerly Burma) from First Century to Twentieth Century
- Part Two: Myanmar under the British Rule from 1886 to 1948 with Divide and Rule Occupation
- Part Three: Post Independence to 1962 and from 1962 to 2016.
- Armenian Genocide
Elease A. Wiggins
- Elease A. Wiggins is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, trainer, and philanthropist. In 2015, Wiggins released her book, A Farewell to Welfare: 25 Strategies to Freedom, Independence and Prosperity which focuses on helping individuals overcome mental, physical and spiritual poverty through sharing stories, statistics, strategies and solutions.
Wiggins was named Black New Yorker of the Week by Amsterdam News and New Jersey’s Leading Women Entrepreneur. Wiggins shares her techniques in her online course farewell-to-welfare.teachable.com .