PLU offers multiple Holocaust-focused conferences

Although the Wang Center Symposium, entitled Legacies of the Shoah, takes place next week, it is not the only Holocaust focused event Pacific Lutheran University will offer this spring.Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.27.59 PM

Annually, PLU hosts the Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education. This year’s conference is the seventh of its kind, and will take place March 12-14. The conference is free to students but registration is requested. The theme is “Survivors and Rescuers,” and features speakers Dr. Susannah Heschel, Dr. Hartmut Lehmann and Dr. Christopher Browning.


PLU is known nationally as one of the premier centers for studying the Holocaust. PLU approved the addition of an interdisciplinary minor in Holocaust and genocide studies to its curriculum offerings in October 2013.

Leading up to the Powell-Heller Conference, students have the opportunity to apply for a Kurt Mayer Fellowship.

“It provided me with a grant to do further research on a topic of my choice about the Holocaust,” senior Kels Mejlaender, a 2013 Kurt Mayer Fellowship recipient, said.

The Kurt Mayer Fellowship is named after donations made by two Tacoma families who funded the first $1 million in an effort to provide education about the Holocaust to students and to honor family and friends who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Legacies of the Shoah will take a different approach to the topic by focusing on the question “Why do people degrade, exploit and exterminate others?”

The symposium, which runs Feb. 20-21 with various speakers and events, is free and open to students and the public. The speakers include Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the US Department of State Jerry White, Dr. Dorothy Roberts, and Dr. Jean Franco.

“I’ll be attending Dorothy Roberts’ lecture because it pertains to my history capstone on civil rights movements,” Mejlaender said.

Previous Wang Center Symposiums have focused on China, Norway, global health and water usage.

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