ASU to host Educators Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide

This year's theme covers 'Teaching the Holocaust in Arizona Classrooms Today'

September 27, 2022

The Murray and Sabina Zemel z"l Educators Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide will be hosted by Arizona State University on Oct. 25 this year after being under the organization of the Bureau of Jewish Education for over 30 years. 

The conference aims to aid current and future Arizona teachers and educators in building programs, developing curricula and sharing best practices in educating on the Holocaust and other genocides.  Text reading "The Murray and Sabina Zemel z"l Educators Conference on The Holocaust and Genocide" Download Full Image

With the recent passing of Arizona House Bill 2241, which mandates teaching the Holocaust and at least one other genocide at least twice between seventh and 12th grade, this conference is especially helpful for new teachers who are looking for resources on how to effectively teach these sensitive topics.

The Phoenix Holocaust Association was one of the organizations that championed the bill and helped organize to get it passed. The association’s president Sheryl Bronkesh hopes the bills passage will help students realize their role in preventing future genocides.

“Through examination of the history of the Holocaust, students will learn the roles social, religious, political and economic factors had in the erosion of democratic values and human rights during World War II,” Bronkesh said. “This can enable students to identify contemporary circumstances that can threaten the rule of law and democratic institutions.”

This year’s conference theme is “For a New Generation: Teaching the Holocaust in Arizona Classrooms Today.” It will feature talks on climate issues and genocide, best practices in the classroom, media portrayals of genocide and more. 

Jacob Flaws, history lecturer within ASU’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, is the chair of the planning committee for the conference as it moves to ASU. He says this year’s conference will host many exceptional speakers.

“Attendees can expect a wide range of engaging content,” Flaws said. “From our introductory speaker, Dr. Alex Alvarez of Northern Arizona University, to our local area teachers, Kim Klett, Ashley Crose, Tracie McMurray, to ASU Professor Volker Benkert, to Isabel Mann, the teacher programs and curriculum specialist at the National World War II Museum, to Ambassador Edward O'Donnell, who served as U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and now teaches for ASU, to our keynote speaker, Ellen Germain, who is current U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues for the U.S. State Department.”

Local high school teacher Klett has been teaching on these topics for years and encourages other teachers to attend.

“This topic is important because so many lessons can be drawn from the Holocaust and other genocides,” Klett said. “We say ‘Never Again,’ but what does that mean? Why do we still see so many genocides and mass atrocities occurring? How does this history make us think about the way we view and think about others?”

Anyone wanting to attend can learn more and register on the website. It is free and open to the public. The public is invited to register for the keynote address to be held at 3 p.m. at Mirabella at ASU.

The conference is sponsored by the Zemel family, the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, the Phoenix Holocaust Association, the Center for Jewish Studies and the Bureau of Jewish Education.

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

ASU to recognize community health leaders at inaugural Celebration of Health event

College of Health Solutions celebrates 10th anniversary

September 27, 2022

Denee Bex was looking for a way to combine her love of food with a desire to give back to her community when she decided to study nutrition.

She initially thought about becoming a chef but found the necessary training was “crazy expensive.” A partial scholarship to Arizona State University helped solidify her plans. Woman with glasses and long dark hair standing in a demonstration kitchen speaking to students who are seen from behind. Denee Bex has been named Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Health Solutions for 2022 Download Full Image

“I was like, this (scholarship) is a sign I should go to ASU because I didn’t want to put that financial pressure on my family,” Bex said. “I grew up on the (Navajo) reservation and my parents didn’t make a lot of money, so I didn’t want to put that stress on them.”

Bex earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition in 2011 and that was just the start of her journey toward becoming a registered dietitian.

Her perseverance paid off.

She earned that credential in 2018, currently works as a clinical outpatient dietitian at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, and started her own business along the way.

Her company, Tumbleweed Nutrition, is dedicated to providing evidence-based and culturally relevant nutrition education for tribal organizations.

Bex has been named Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Health Solutions for 2022 and will be honored at the inaugural Celebration of Health event Oct. 19 at El Chorro in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Celebrating 10 years of advancing community health

Portrait of a woman with long brown hair wearing a coral shirt and black pants, seated in a wheelchair and smiling at the camera.

Six-time Olympic gold medalist and Arizona resident Amy Van Dyken will give the Celebration of Health event keynote address.

In addition to recognizing individuals and organizations with awards, the Celebration of Health event features what promises to be a dynamic keynote address by six-time Olympic gold medalist and Arizona resident Amy Van Dyken, along with inspiring stories from students and alumni.

“We are living in an age of unprecedented health challenges,” College of Health Solutions Dean Deborah Helitzer said. “As we continue to develop the health leaders of the future, we are focused on realizing the ASU Charter by assuming fundamental responsibility for the health of our communities, preparing and improving the health workforce of the future and building and strengthening strategic partnerships.”

The awards ceremony will recognize health leaders from across the Valley for their impact in the community. An interactive showcase will include exhibits and entertainment, giving guests the opportunity to experience the latest in health research and discovery.

Funds raised through sponsorships and ticket sales will directly support the next generation of health professionals through student scholarships. Visit or email for more information.

Inaugural Celebration of Health Awards honorees

Community Impact Award: Circle the City

The Community Impact Award recognizes an organization or individual who has made significant efforts to address the challenges facing people and communities to stay healthy. The recipient of this award has built relationships and forged connections that have led to healthier communities.

Health Equity Award: Arizona Burn Center - Valleywise Health 

The Health Equity Award is presented to an organization or individual who maximizes opportunities for underrepresented or marginalized groups. The recipient has advanced the principles of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, removed barriers to better health, addressed health disparities and improved access to health care.

Health Innovation Award: Terros Health Cafe 27 Youth Center

The Health Innovation Award honors an organization or individual who embodies the Sun Devil spirit of forging new frontiers. Through the use of innovative methods or technology, they have creatively imagined how to make better health happen and are leading the way to discover what it means to create a healthier world.

Outstanding Alumnus Award: Denee Bex, Tumbleweed Nutrition

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is presented to a graduate of the College of Health Solutions who advances its vision to reimagine health and has created a better future for people and communities on a local and global scale.

The College of Health Solutions will recognize the award recipients at Celebration of Health on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at El Chorro in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Sponsorships and tickets are available and directly support students through the college’s Student Scholarship Fund.

Weldon B. Johnson

Communications Specialist, College of Health Solutions