In the wake of terrible disaster, the International Coalition stands in solidarity with the people of Japan and with our members across Asia, including the Kyoto Museum for World Peace of Japan.
To donate to relief efforts, visit these charities’ websites:
Is immigration good for my country? Is immigration good for my community? Is immigration good for me?
This spring, museums visitors in Belgium, Italy and the United States will have the chance to respond to these simple but provocative questions. Navigating Difference, a new interactive installation opening this spring at three immigration-related sites – Le Bois du Cazier, Galata Museo del Mare, and Ellis Island – will encourage guests to question their own beliefs and to build understanding about the immigrant experience in different nations.
To more fully explore these issues with their local communities, each site hosted dialogue sessions with area schools – at Le Bois du Cazier, an ESL group; at Galata Museo del Mare, a high school class; and at Ellis Island, a class from New Jersey City University.
The students learned about the history of immigration at each site, which led in to discussions about similar issues that immigrants and nations face today: who should have access to education, health care and social services? Is immigration a boost to or a drain on the economy? What challenges do immigrants face when entering a new community?
To learn more about the dialogue sessions and the Navigating Difference installation, see our slideshow, and one from Galata Museo del Mare, below.
And if you’re on Facebook, LIKE Navigating Difference, and you can read articles on immigration in Europe and the US, see more photos, and read quotes from museum visitors who’ve visited each site.
The Coalition was pleased to participate in Memory, Silence, Screen, Spectacle, a multidisciplinary conference on memory issues, hosted by the New School for Social Research. Coalition Deputy Director Bix Gabriel was part of the opening panel titled “U.S. Silences, Accountability, and Public Memory,” presenting on the Coalition’s project to raise public awareness of the history of the US military base at Guantánamo.
Recent discussion around Gitmo has mostly focused on its use as a place of detention after 2001. But the site, which has been a US Naval base since 1898, is littered with remains of past Guantánamos, closed and forgotten. How can we “remember” Guantanamo when so much of its history has been erased from public memory? What can remembering its longer history achieve now and in the future? And how we build a global, collective memory of a place so inaccessible — geographically situated in Cuba; managed by the US; and politically linked with about 50 other countries?
The Coalition shared the experience of sites of torture and detention from Chile to Cambodia that have been activated as Sites of Conscience and invite debate on these questions.
The full agenda can be found here: http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/subpage.aspx?id=57135
The International Coalition is sponsoring two classes this summer at the UMass Amherst Center for Heritage and Society. Learn strategies for exploring social justice issues at a heritage site and how to turn painful history into an opportunity for community collaboration and dialogue. The best part? Both classes will be offered online, so you can participate from anywhere.
Program Director Sarah Pharaon’s course, “Introduction to Sites of Conscience: Addressing Social Issues at Heritage Sites and Making the Past Matter,” will discuss best practices and program strategies from Sites of Conscience around the world. Project Consultant and former Director Liz Sevcenko’s course, “From Controversy to Community Engagement: How to Turn Disputes into Dialogue,” will look at how sites can serve as forums for the public to gain historical perspective on difficult contemporary questions. These classes are offered during different sessions so you’ll have the opportunity to take both.
Read more about both courses here: http://www.umass.edu/chs/courses/online.html.
Registration is now open – visit www.umassulearn.net.
UMass Amherst’s International Heritage Studies Online Program provides training to graduate students in heritage-related fields and professionals engaged in heritage administration. It places emphasis on economic sustainability, community engagement, local identity and social development.
The International Coalition congratulates our founder and current board member, Ruth Abram, who was honored on Sunday, March 13 by the Jewish Women’s Archive for her pioneering work in the field of urban immigrant history. Ms. Abram founded the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in 1988, and 11 years later, conceptualized the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience as a worldwide network of historic sites dedicated to using past struggles for justice to address today’s pressing social issues.
As part of its Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Centennial commemoration, the JWA celebrated three Jewish women activists who have played a role in struggles for social justice. Ms. Abram was honored alongside ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr and attorney turned entrepreneur Kate Frucher.
The Jewish Women’s Archive makes the stories of women activities past and present known in order to inform and inspire current and future generations.
On January 26, Villa Grimaldi launched the Oral Archive of Villa Grimaldi, a collection of testimonies by Chileans who survived the brutal Pinochet regime of the 1970s and 80s. To date, roughly 120 people have discussed their lives under the dictatorship, their connections to Villa Grimaldi (a former secret detention center), the end of military rule, and the transition to democracy in the 1990s. The interviews will be accessible to the general public though listening stations on site.
This oral history project, begun in 2006, contributes to Villa Grimaldi’s ongoing effort to communicate the history of state terrorism in Chile. Once a clandestine center for the torture and murder of political dissidents, Villa Grimaldi has become a public space dedicated to remembering victims of human rights violations and promoting a culture of human rights. Site directors hope this oral testimony will help to bring the perpetrators of Chilean state terrorism, many of whom have not cooperated with officials, to justice.
To learn more about the Oral Archive, listen to this interview with anthropologist Claudia Fernández (in Spanish).
The Oral Archive of Villa Grimaldi was supported in part by the International Coalition’s Project Support Fund, which backs innovation and experimentation on how places of memory can inspire dialogue and action in contemporary issues. The project was also supported by the University of Chile, the European Union and the Ford Foundation.