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April 9: College to host panel of genocide survivors from the Holocaust, Cambodia and Rwanda

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Apr 05, 2019

Three survivors of genocide—an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, plus two who endured atrocities in Cambodia and Rwanda—will share their stories at “While the World Watched: The Human Consequences of Nonintervention,” a panel discussion from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at the College of Lake County. The event will take place in the Room A011 Auditorium at the college’s Grayslake Campus. Admission is free.

The four speakers include the following:

--Estelle Laughlin: She endured three concentration camps during the Holocaust. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Laughlin was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto with her family at age 10. During the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943, she hid in a bunker before being captured. Now a Lincolnshire native, Laughlin is the author of "Transcending Darkness: A Girl's Journey Out of the Holocaust."

--Anneth Houy: She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after her family fled Cambodia to escape the brutal Khmer Rouge, which killed more than two million people from 1975-79. It would be nearly 10 years before her family received approval to come to the U.S. currently the youth program director at the Chicago-based Cambodian Association of Illinois.

--Claire Mukundente: At age 15, she fled Rwanda during the genocide with her 6-year old sister, Clementine. She lived with Clementine in several African refugee camps before coming to Chicago in 2000. Later, in 2006, she was reunited with her parents, after 12 years apart from them, on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” where Clementine was appearing as the winner of an essay contest on book “Night,” by the late Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, professor prolific author. In 2017, she founded the Chicago-based Women United for Refugees & Immigrants of Illinois.

--Kaoru Watanbe: She is the associate director of the Chicago-based National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial. The museum works to facilitate intergenerational dialogue within the Cambodian community, between survivors of the genocide who don't wish to share their stories and their children and grandchildren who were born here.

CLC, in collaboration with partnering organizations, is hosting the event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and in solidarity with all victims of ethnic, religious and hate based violence from Armenia to Christchurch, according to Larry Leck, moderator of the event and CLC adjunct professor of humanities. “The central question we will address is: Can we use social equity, economics and environmental sustainability to make to make ‘Never Again’ a reality?” said Leck, who also is coordinator for CLC’s Center for Nonviolence.

Besides the National Cambodian Heritage Museum, Chicago-based organizations collaborating with CLC on the panel discussion include the Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center and the Women United for Refugees and Immigrants of Illinois. Another collaborator is the Skokie-based Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes,

provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County.