VOC seminar equips educators to teach about the crimes of Communism
National Seminar for Middle School and High School Educators
Earlier in July, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation hosted its seventh annual National Seminar for Middle School and High School Educators. Teachers from public, private, and home schools came together for a week-long event at the Victims of Communism Museum where they learned from top academic experts the foundational concepts of Communism, its history, and over 100 million victims. They also heard first-person testimony from survivors of Communist rule and received the newest tools and curriculum resources to teach students in their classrooms the history of Communism and its ongoing threat to freedom.
Educating America’s Future About the Crimes of Communism
Unfortunately, many of today’s school children –– America’s future leaders –– have not been given a solid grounding in American civics, history, or our unique constitutional government. Many more have never been exposed to a crucial comparative study of totalitarian communism versus individual and economic freedom.
One of the core tenets of Victim of Communism’s mission is educating Americans about the deadly history, ideology, and legacy of Communism.
That is why on July 18-22, teachers from across the country convened in Washington, DC to hear from prominent academic experts on how to better understand and learn strategies that are most effective in teaching students about Communism, its Marxist ideology, history, and its impact today.
Seminar faculty included Dr. Elizabeth Spalding, VOC Board Vice Chairman and Founding Director of the Victims of Communism Museum, and Senior Fellow at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy; Dr. Paul Kengor, Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace; and best-selling author; Dr. Jonathan Pidluzny, Director, Higher Education Reform Initiative at the America First Policy Institute; and Catherine O’Connor.
Among others, Soviet-born Dr. Naya Lekht, who immigrated to the US in 1989, spoke on the Communists’ powerful use of propaganda in film, literature, and art; and Dr. Carlos Ponce, VOC’s Director of Latin American Programs, spoke on Castro, Cuba, and Communism today in Latin America. Steven W. Mosher, social scientist, and anti-communist, detailed Chairman Mao’s legacy of mass starvation, torture, and death in China; Dr. Flagg Taylor from VOC’s Academic Council and Associate Professor of Government at Skidmore College discussed totalitarianism and the role of dissent; and Ken Pope, VOC’s Director of Academic Programs, provided a briefing on Putin’s War on Ukraine and the West.
Seminar attendees also met and heard the unforgettable stories of the victims and survivors of Communism. Men and women such as Channy Chhi Laux, a survivor of the brutal Cambodian Khmer Rouge’s genocidal regime; Tanel Kapper, who escaped imprisonment from the Red Army during the Soviet occupation of Estonia; Merita McCormack, whose family in Albania was branded “kulaks” and stripped of their property; Daniel Di Martino, Venezuelan dissident; and Lily Tang Williams, a compelling advocate for freedom against the Chinese Communist Party’s regime of oppression.
A highlight of the week’s activities was a special lunch with Dr. Lee Edwards, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Heritage Foundation, Distinguished Fellow, Catholic University of America adjunct professor, and noted author. Edwards recounted the road to establishing the VOC Museum, and the essential role of America’s school teachers to educate our young people about the evils and continuing dangers to freedom of Communism –– in all its totalitarian forms.
For more information about VOC’s free educational resources on Communism for teachers and the latest news on how to apply to participate in the 2023 National Seminar for Middle School and High School Educators, visit our website at: https://victimsofcommunism.org/programs/education/.