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Northwestern University

A New Chapter

With a new director and new home at Weinberg College, the Holocaust Educational Foundation looks to further its reach

In 1976, Holocaust survivor and educator Theodore Zev Weiss founded the Holocaust Educational Foundation to be a key catalyst for Holocaust studies.

Over the last 40 years, HEF has accomplished just that, elevating its global standing and reach with research and teaching grants, an annual Summer Institute for educators planning Holocaust studies courses at their home institutions and a biennial conference for international scholars.

This September, HEF looks to take the next step in its evolution, leveraging the proven entrepreneurial spirit of new director Sarah Cushman and a new home in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to propel its mission.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining the Holocaust Educational Foundation, a seminal organization in the field of Holocaust education,” says Cushman, who takes over HEF directorship from Benjamin Frommer, an associate professor in the Department of History who had led HEF since its integration into Northwestern University in July 2013.

An accomplished educator, administrator and Holocaust historian, Cushman comes to Northwestern from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where she organized conferences and speaker series, increased academic outreach and developed curriculum for the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

"Listen, Learn and Observe"

Upon starting in September, Cushman says she will “listen, learn and observe” and also prepare to participate in HEF’s Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust Conference in November, an event considered to be the world’s premier intellectual gathering in Holocaust studies.

“I’m diving right in, but excited to get started,” Cushman says.

With a solid foundation to build upon, Cushman stands eager to engage new scholars, increase HEF’s fundraising efforts, develop new forms of pedagogy and expand the Foundation’s global reach.

“When we support solid scholarship about the Holocaust and provide ways for dissemination of this research, we help people better understand this important history and navigate through existing misinformation,” Cushman says.

HEF’s move into Weinberg College, meanwhile, comes after a three-year stay at The Graduate School at Northwestern University. Cushman calls the move a natural one given Holocaust studies’ interdisciplinary ties to areas such as history, literature and religion.

“We should have an opportunity to more fully leverage these connections by being at home in Weinberg, and that’s certainly something HEF looks forward to developing,” Cushman says.

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