The Zoryan Institute Launches a New Genocide Education Program in Ontario High Schools with the Support of the Ministry of Education

From L-R: Megan Reid, Zoryan Institute Deputy Executive Director, MPP Aris Babikian, Hon. Stephen Lecce, K.M. Greg Sarkissian, Zoryan Institute President

The Zoryan Institute announced the launch of a new Genocide Education Program titled, Promoting Equity, Tolerance and Reconciliation Through Genocide Education, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education. This programdeveloped by the Zoryan Institute, will provide secondary school students across the Greater Toronto Area with a foundational understanding of the numerous, complex, and often emotional issues related to genocide and crimes against humanity.

With the support of the Zoryan Institute’s Board of Directors, genocide education specialists, secondary school level educators, and curriculum consultants, the Institute developed an effective and impactful lesson plan for this program. When asked about the reasons behind the development of this program, Megan Reid, the Zoryan Institute’s Deputy Executive Director, stated:This program is designed to be delivered to classrooms between May and June 2022, and will be led by notable graduates of the Zoryan Institute’s Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP) at the University of Toronto. Each presentation will open with an interactive discussion introducing human rights and genocide, and will explore select cases of genocide, such as the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the cultural genocide of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, among others, in a comparative and multidisciplinary manner. This will be done using both written and oral testimonies and first-hand accounts of those impacted by genocide. This approach will also allow students to compare and understand commonalities in the processes and experiences of genocide and will contribute to a better understanding of the universality of the phenomenon.

Alison MacAulay, a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Toronto, and graduate of the Zoryan Institute’s 2017 GHRUP, is working closely with the Institute on this initiative. She had this to say about the program’s impact: The Zoryan Institute is thankful for the consultation it has received from Ontario educators, Sossy Terzian-Kheir of William Berczy Public School of the York Region District School Board, and Christine Zaghikian the Curriculum Support Leader of Guidance at Earl Haig Secondary School of the Toronto District School Board, on the program’s structure and method of delivery to a high-school audience. Reflecting on the new program Ms. Zaghikian said:

On this occasion, the Zoryan Institute’s Co-Chairs, Prof. Roger Smith, Prof. Maureen Hiebert and Prof. Varouj Aivazian, wish to express their sincere appreciation to the of the Ontario Ministry of Education, and particularly Minister of Education, Hon. Stephen Lecce, for funding this program through the 2021-2022 Anti-Hate Initiatives Fund offered by the Indigenous Education and Well-Being Division. The President of the Zoryan Institute, K.M. Greg Sarkissian, also wishes to extend his gratitude to MPP Aris Babikian, representing the Scarborough-Agincourt riding, for his ongoing support in promoting the Zoryan Institute and its work to the Ministry of Education. He stated:The feedback that the Zoryan Institute and the Ministry of Education receive from this new program will be utilized to inform the development of a lesson plan and complimentary educational materials for Ontario secondary school teachers and students in future school years. The Zoryan Institute’s long term goal with this initiative is to train teachers and extend the program’s reach beyond the province of Ontario, and deliver these presentations nation-wide.

The institute is inviting all educators or parents in Ontario, who are interested in hosting the Promoting Equity, Tolerance and Reconciliation Through Genocide Education Program at a public high school in the GTA, to contact the Zoryan Institute at