Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the initial 15 appointments to the Governor’s Council on Genocide and Holocaust Education, which will work to identify strategies for providing and enhancing genocide education to students and providing resources for teachers.

In June, Snyder signed a law making it mandatory in Michigan schools to add lessons about genocide to the social studies curriculum for grades 8-12, particularly teachings about the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.

Many of the council members are well-known in the Metro Detroit Jewish community.

Appointees are:

  • Robin Axelrod of Ann Arbor, founder and principal of Axelrod Consulting and education director of the Holocaust Memorial Center.
  • Edmond Azadian of West Bloomfield, retired from Masco Corporation in 2012.
  • B. Scott Durham of East Lansing, a Lakeview High School teacher named an American Memory Fellow by the Library of Congress.
  • Corey Harbaugh of Gobles, director of teaching and learning at Fennville Public Schools and regional educator/teacher fellow of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a master teacher of the USC Shoah Foundation and a participant and satellite leader of the Memorial Library Holocaust Educators Network.
  • Nelson Hersh of Orchard Lake, an orthodontist at Hersh Beattie Orthodontic. He is a member of the West Bloomfield School Board, sits on the Holocaust Memorial Center board of directors and is a member of the International Alliance to End Genocide.
  • Cindy Hughey of East Lansing, executive director of Hillel the Foundation for Jewish Student Life at Michigan State University.
  • Corinne Khederian of Bloomfield Township, assistant to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson as well as member of the Armenian Genocide Education Committee and the Facing History and Ourselves Committee.
  • Lara Nercessian of Royal Oak, assistant prosecuting attorney with the Wayne County Persecutor’s Office and vice chair of the Armenian Relief Society, member of the Michigan Chapter of the Armenian National Committee and member of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Greater Detroit.
  • Richard Norsigian of Farmington Hills, adjunct professor at Madonna University and member of the Armenian Genocide Education Committee.
  • Ara Sanjian of Dearborn, professor of Armenian and Middle Eastern History and director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
  • Lori Talsky of Bloomfield Hills, recently retired as an attorney after 20 years with the Maddin Hauser law firm. She founded the Center for International Human Rights at MSU Law School.
  • Michael Walenta of Grand Rapids, general manager for WGVU Public Media at Grand Valley State University.
  • Kenneth Waltzer of Haslett, previously served as the executive director of the Academic Engagement Network and the director of Jewish Studies at Michigan State University.
  • Yosef Weingarten of Grand Rapids, a rabbi and director of the Chabad House of Western Michigan.
  • Lori Weisberg of West Bloomfield, docent at the Holocaust Memorial Center and a board member of Women’s Philanthropy for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

“It is incredibly important that future generations of students understand the impact that genocide has had on this world,” Snyder said. “This council will be instrumental in assessing and advising schools on how we can educate Michigan students on this topic.”

Members of the council will serve two-year terms expiring Aug. 26, 2018.