Teaching About Genocide in Cambodia

 Kelly Watson, EIHR, photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016

Kelly Watson, EIHR, photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016

As part of the Sixteenth Commune Teacher Training, held this past October by the Documentation Center of Cambodia, or DC-Cam, participants learned about the history of Democratic Kampuchea and the Cambodian Genocide as well as strategies for engaging their students in the topic.  In the midst of this 5 day immersion, Kelly Watson presented twice.  

According to the final report on the event, "The main goal of the training was to equip teachers with the ability to teach about the history of Democratic Kampuchea (DK), providing them both with knowledge about different aspects of the DK regime and its legacy as well as with teaching methods to pass on that knowledge to their students."

 photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016

photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016

The same report summarized Watson's presentations:

"Kelly Watson, Educational Program Coordinator for the Educator‟s Institute for Human Rights (EIHR), gave two presentations during the training. Her first presentation focused on the definition of the Holocaust and how these characteristics are best taught to students. She started by exploring the terms “systematic”, “bureaucratic”, “state-sponsored”, “6 million Jews” and “collaboration” while giving examples of each one. In her second presentation Mrs. Watson displayed photographs of forced evacuations from three different genocides, drawing the participant‟s attention towards comparable patterns among different genocides. But before going into detail, Mrs. Watson-who is a teacher herself- stressed that the comparison of genocides is always difficult since one cannot compare the unique suffering and pain of people. At the same time, there exist parallels within genocides that are comparable, e.g. systematic killing, bureaucratic killing etc. Likewise she cautioned against a teaching of genocide which sets genocide as the only defining feature of a society. Rather, it would be important to include the events that happened before and after the genocide in order to teach about a society in a comprehensive way. When she asked the students if some of the terms would also suit to describe the genocide in Cambodia, many students drew parallels regarding forced evacuations, the bureaucratic killing reflected in the piles of documents such as photographs, forced confessions, and files on everyone who seemed suspicious. Tun Thang Doung, a Khmer literature teacher explained afterwards, she liked the presentation because “it is important for us to learn that it not only happened in Cambodia, but around the world”. "

    Kelly Watson, EIHR, photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016   


Kelly Watson, EIHR, photo courtesy of DC-Cam, October 2016


Kelly Watson, Educational Program Coordinator, accepts invitation from DC-Cam in Cambodia

 Kelly Watson considers the USHMM Cambodia exhibit.   July, 2016

Kelly Watson considers the USHMM Cambodia exhibit.

July, 2016

 July 23, 2016 (Washington, DC):  Kelly Watson, who serves as an Educational Program Director for the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, has accepted an invitation from the Documentation Center in Cambodia (DC-Cam) to present at a training on the History and Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust. Ms. Watson travels to Battambang, Cambodia, where she will also observe educational practices designed by DC-Cam for Commune Teacher Trainings on the history of Democratic Kampuchea. 100 Cambodian History teachers will gather for the event from October 10-14, 2016.

According to Youk Chhang, Executive Director of DC-Cam, “The trainings have the dual focus of developing the teachers’ understanding of the history as well as facilitating their capacity in student-centered learning approaches.”

“Kelly’s extensive experience with teacher training in both Holocaust and Contemporary Genocide Education make her an ideal presenter for this event,” observed EIHR’s Executive Director, Kate English.  “She’s an excellent practitioner, and understands the complexities of the content well.”

Ms. Watson is an 8th grade English teacher at Fishers Junior High in Fishers, Indiana. She is a member of the Regional Education Corps for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Master Teacher with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and a 2013 participant of the Centropa Summer Academy in Berlin. She has traveled throughout the US and Poland, working with teachers on how to effectively teach about the Holocaust and other genocides. In 2001 she published a collection of testimonies with her students, entitled Indiana Voices of the Holocaust: Teens Talk to Survivors and Liberators, and in 2012 along with colleague Robert Hadley published an online curriculum for the USC Shoah Foundation called If You Survive, Be a Man: Teaching the 1994 Rwandan Genocide of the Tutsis and an Information Quest on the USC Shoah Foundation's IWitness page about survivor Kizito Kalima. 

Educators’ Institute for Human Rights Executive Director Shifts to the Board

June 27, 2016 (Washington, DC):  The Educators’ Institute for Human Rights announces the transition of Co-founder and Executive Director, Mark Gudgel, to the Board of Directors.  Gudgel served as Executive Director for six years, creating and facilitating genocide education conferences in Rwanda and the United States.  

While Gudgel continues his involvement with EIHR as a Board Member, he looks forward to spending more time with his new family, as he and his wife recently celebrated the arrival of their son. Co-founder Drew Beiter currently serves as the Board Chair.  

Gudgel and Beiter conceived of EIHR in 2010 while planning a genocide education teacher workshop at the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda. They started with Holocaust education strategies they learned as Museum Teacher Fellows in the Regional Education Corps of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), who supported the first conference. They shared training and materials with Rwandan teachers to connect the lessons of the Holocaust to the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis in Rwanda. 

 “More than anything, we gave them a chance to dialogue…to share ideas and converse with one another,” Gudgel explained. “It’s a difficult conversation to have, but it’s important.”  

Beiter credits his Co-founder’s leadership for the NGO’s early success and stability. “Through his incredible communication and organizational skills, Mark’s work ethic and vision allowed us to grow in ways that we couldn't have imagined," he commented.

EIHR’s Board of Directors confirmed Kate English, EIHR’s Deputy Executive Director, as Gudgel’s successor in the role of Executive Director, effective July 1, 2016.  

Gudgel and Beiter invited English, also a USHMM Museum Teacher Fellow in the Regional Education Corps, to join the EIHR staff shortly after its founding. English traveled with Gudgel to Rwanda in 2014, and successfully organized and facilitated the 2015 EIHR Education Summit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

An educator for over 15 years, English was named the 2007 district-wide Teacher of the Year for Colchester Public Schools in Connecticut.  She graduated with a Masters degree in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Connecticut, and recently completed an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Georgetown University. English currently teaches for Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia. 

Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2016

After last year's successful Education Summit in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, returning participants and new invitees will gather again this summer to continue working on the practical logistics of meeting the established goals.  

Preceding the Summit, teachers participating last summer and supporting stake-holders will share lessons, curriculum, and materials to plan for a proposed event in October for Bosnian teachers.  Again, pragmatic action and logistical considerations will drive the agenda.  

Guest speakers for the event include Holocaust survivor and EIHR Board Member Louise Lawrence Israels, who will share her testimony as well as conduct a workshop on writing a memoir, and Valery Perry, who recently published a policy note for the Democratization Policy Council on Education and Extremism. 

RGTA Has New Online Presence

 RGTA Leadership in July 2015.  

RGTA Leadership in July 2015.  

The Rwandan Genocide Teachers' Association has a new online presence.  They can be found at their new website, www.rgta.weebly.com as well as at https://www.facebook.com/Rwandan-Genocide-Teachers-Association-1487689331524491/.

Albert Rutikanga, chairman of the RGTA, described the mission of the organization as that of facilitating teachers in learning about genocide studies and human rights in order to heal Rwanda.  He says they are excited to be in contact with others who value and work for human rights around the world.  


Summit in Jahorina, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Educators’ Institute for Human Rights held an Education Summit in Jahorina, Bosnia-Herzegovina from July 1-3, 2015, which included twenty-nine participants from a variety of regions and a wide range of interests in the future of human rights education. Participants engaged in dialogue to set goals for the summit, learned strategies for Holocaust and mass atrocities prevention education from representatives of EIHR, The Watchers of the Sky Initiative, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, and Aegis Trust, brainstormed ideas, prioritized essential questions, and created a plan for collaborating to realize the following goals for human rights education in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Generate political will and funding
  • Develop curriculum and materials
  • Determine teacher training strategies and materials
  • Support teachers as they work on sensitive topics
  • Foster ties with other human rights educators in the region and globally

All participants agreed to meet in Sarajevo at a location provided by Dr. Eli Tauber twice in the coming year as they are able, and to work together on an online platform provided and moderated by EIHR to make the ideas a concrete reality, with the essential outcome to produce tangible, concrete results on these priorities for a follow-up summit with a teacher training component in the summer of 2016. 

To read more, access our complete final report.

Photos of the event can be found at http://www.eihr.org/2015-bosnia-summit-photos.  If you use them in presentations, please credit the photo appropriately.

EIHR Welcomes New Board Members

We are happy to announce that the EIHR team is growing!  Not only have we raised our profile on social media, with more than 1700 likes on Facebook, more than 350 followers on Twitter, and a new Instagram account, we have just added to our core team.

The Board of Directors welcomes the addition of two new members, both of whom bring excellent experience and drive to the table.  We are excited and thankful to have them working with us!



Following her doctoral studies concerning the Holocaust and Jewish Identity, Nicola completed her PGCE at the University of Southampton. For the past 10 years she has taught in state secondary schools as an RE/Philosophy and Ethics teacher. At Royal Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA), Wiltshire,  United Kingdom, she has utilized her extensive academic experience and established a unique whole school, holistic program of Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education (HGP) that has proven hugely successful, gaining national and international recognition.

The program hosts events and conference and advocates innovative teaching and learning in this area whilst providing opportunities for students to engage with survivors and respected experts in the field of Holocaust Studies and genocide prevention; Nic's commitment to this program and her Lead Practitioner role was key to the Academy becoming a UCL IOE Centre for Holocaust Education (CfHE) ‘Beacon School’ championing and developing RWBA's status and its now 57 associated network schools. In 2013 she joined the UCL IOE’s CfHE teaching team as its Schools Network Coordinator – but was not prepared to leave RWBA and the classroom – and thus joined on a part-time basis so as to remain and continue to teach and inspire the next generation of humanitarians and social activists.

Remaining on staff at RWBA means Nic is able to combine her academic background in Holocaust and Genocide studies and current 'at the chalk-face' experience; a relationship that supports both the school and centre. Her 'on the ground' understanding of current educational challenges and opportunities means she is best placed in her IOE role to liaise with strategic partners, teachers and senior leaders - able to both theorize and know what practically works in a demanding school environment. Her part time post as Schools Network Coordinator has meant she leads the outreach to Teaching Schools and other educational networks and partnerships, looking to raise awareness of the CPD and innovative ways in which the CfHE can support and engage with colleagues embarking upon teaching this most important, challenging and complex history in our classrooms. As the impetus for the programme and the genesis and co-chair of the #EYP2CtW conferences Nic is proud to become an EIHR Board member and is delighted to be joining a team of such passionate, informed and empowered individuals dedicated to making a difference.



Kelley joined the Museum’s staff in 2001 and oversees all of the Museum’s education and public programming initiatives.

During her tenure Kelley has been instrumental in the development of the Museum’s broader genocide and human rights mission and vision. She has become recognized as a leading contemporary genocide educator, speaking to audiences not only on the Holocaust but the genocides of Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, as well as the power of social change and youth activism.

In 2011, she served as Co-Project Director on the Make A Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition enhancement project at IHMEC, developing the conceptual framework for three new interactive exhibits for the Museum based on the lessons of character education and social justice. In 2012, she created the Museum’s education framework, “On Our Watch: Genocide and Human Rights” which uses literature, film and primary resource materials to teach about 20th and 21st century genocide and human rights crimes.

Kelley currently sits on the advisory board of The Unsilence Project, a real-time and internet based program that delivers story-driven learning experiences that inspire young people to ask critical questions about marginalized narratives of atrocity and to develop individual and collective responsibility for human rights at home and around the world. She is a recipient of the Friend of the Jewish Community Award from the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana, and the Samuel Goldsmith Award from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Kelley was recently awarded with the 2014 Carl Wilkens Fellowship, a year long program where she will focus on expanding the visibility and impact of genocide awareness in Illinois, with a specific focus of bringing programming to underserved communities in Chicago, and fostering partnerships to create a larger network of anti-genocide advocates across the region.