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Dawn Hayes Selected for Educator's Conference

Six teachers who attended conference Dawn Hayes, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Veronica E. Connor Middle School, was selected through a competitive process as one of five Western New York area teachers to attend The Richard and Roberta Handel Educator's Conference in Washington D.C. In the group photo, Ms. Hayes is pictured second from right.

The Educator's Conference, sponsored by the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, allowed participants to tour and receive educational materials from three organizations dedicated to promoting peace: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, as well as the United States Institute for Peace. The goals of the conference are to aid teachers willing to develop, teach, share, and promote the history of the Holocaust and the knowledge necessary to recognize the warning signs of crisis and genocide today.

The teachers experienced two exciting and very busy conference days attending various presentations intended to provide an in-depth understanding of the background to the Holocaust and its connection to issues impacting our world today. At each of the three sites visited, representatives shared the goals of their organizations and presented examples of their efforts toward preventing abuses and furthering world peace. Teachers learned techniques for conflict resolution and teaching human rights. Additionally, teachers received training for peace-building and human rights advocacy.

In the weeks following the conference, the participating teachers used their new knowledge and experiences to create and share a variety of new lesson plans and materials resulting from their post-conference work. Some of these lesson plans and materials will be shared with teacher colleagues throughout Western New York, including lessons on media censorship, the rise of anti-semitism, and the Syrian crisis.

U.S. Peace Center Throughout history, education has often proven to be a first-line of defense against the rise of hate, violence, and extremism. "Today, through the efforts of the dedicated teachers who participated, The Richard and Roberta Handel Educators Conference and students across Western New York will be one step closer to becoming part of the solution to world problems," said Ms. Hayes.