June 8, 2018


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MSU Billings to host TOLI seminar for educators

Seminar will enable teachers to bring lessons of the Holocaust and Indian Education for All to classrooms and communities



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings’ Elk River Writing Project will host a seminar sponsored and organized by the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) for educators June 10-16.


The professional development seminar on the MSU Billings campus will focus on bridging the past and the present through building knowledge about the Holocaust and Indian Education for All and gaining writing-based classroom strategies for building community and processing difficult information. Participants will also consider the roles—perpetrator, ally, bystander—individuals choose for themselves in their daily interactions with one another, as well as the stereotypes and prejudices that continue to affect local schools and communities today.


The program will be available to educators for the next two years and will host 28 participants this year. Educators in attendance have the option to earn three graduate credits for attending the event. Last year was the inaugural year for the program sponsored by the Olga Lyengel Institute.


TOLI participants
Over 500 teachers will attend these professional development seminars in the US and Europe during the next four months, learning about the Holocaust and bringing its lessons to their classrooms and communities to confront rising intolerance and extremism. The seminars, 20 altogether, range from locations in Billings to Warsaw, Poland.


The first seminar began this week in Jackson, Mississippi, comparing the exclusionary policies of Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow laws operating during the same time period in the United States.


Other seminars in the US, each with its own theme, will be conducted in Albuquerque, NM, Amherst, MA, Charlotte, NC, Eugene, OR, Farmington Hills, MI, Milwaukee, WI, Sacramento, CA, Salisbury, MD, San Diego, CA, and St. Paul, MN. The TOLI flagship seminar will take place in New York City this month, bringing educators from around the US for an intensive 12-day program.


Internationally, TOLI will hold a seminar in Warsaw, Poland, in cooperation with the Museum of Polish Jewish History. The program, in the country where the Nazi death camps massacred millions of Jews, will be conducted in frank and free discussion about Nazi genocide, notwithstanding the recent controversy over Poland’s “Holocaust law.”


Other European seminars will take place in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Italy and Portugal. Each European program will enable teachers, often for the first time, to delve into how the Holocaust impacted their own countries and to help address the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, racism and ultra nationalism.


The Olga Lengyel Institute was established to educate students in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides, so that such atrocities may never again take place. To accomplish its mission, TOLI provides professional development seminars for educators in the US and abroad that link the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides to current world events, thereby working with teachers to promote a human rights and social justice agenda in their classrooms.


For more information visit TOLI’s website or contact Tami Haaland, department chair of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages, at thaaland@msubillings.edu.


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