Greenspon Center hosts community International Holocaust Remembrance Day event featuring Stephen Smith, Executive Director Emeritus of USC Shoah Foundation & awards Rabbi Cytron-Walker with Inaugural Upstander Award

In Holocaust, Home, Queens University by Judy Schindler3 Comments

by Judy LaPietra

The Greenspon Center will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day with its inaugural community event titled Combatting Hate: One Voice at a Time on January 26 at 7:00 pm at Queens University. The evening will honor Holocaust victims as well as highlight the innovative trajectory of Holocaust education today. Reserve your seat now.


Stephen Smith, Executive Director Emeritus of the USC Shoah Foundation

The keynote speaker for the event will be Stephen Smith, PhD, Executive Director Emeritus of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, founded by Steven Spielberg in the wake of the filming of Schindler’s List. The program will also honor Rabbi Cytron-Walker as the inaugural 2023 Greenspon Center Upstander Award recipient.  This award, bestowed upon an individual who took great risks and exhibited great courage in responding to hate, is sponsored by the Novant Health Coexist BRG Group.

Smith founded the UK Holocaust Centre in England and cofounded the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. He was also the inaugural Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which runs the National Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom. Smith was the project director responsible for the creation of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda and trustee of the South Africa Holocaust and Genocide Foundation.

Smith was an early pioneer in using the groundbreaking holographic technology in Holocaust education. At a time when future generations will not be able to get first-hand narratives from survivors, Artificial Intelligence technology transforms interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses into an interactive experience.  AI holographic recreations allow students to have life-like conversations with survivors that establish an emotional connection and create learning that is meaningful and lasting. While such technology can never replace what is gained from a live interaction with a Holocaust survivor, it allows students to explore another powerful way to engage with the past.


Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, Greenspon 2023 Upstander Award Recipient

In addition to the keynote address from Smith, Rabbi Cytron-Walker, will receive the 2023 Upstander Award and share words of reflection. Rabbi Cytron-Walker, of Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, showed heroism when he and his congregants in Colleyville, Texas, were taken hostage in the midst of Bible study. Ending a standoff of nearly 11 hours, Rabbi Cytron-Walker acted throwing a chair at the hostage taker and allowing for a safe escape. Rabbi Cytron-Walker will be celebrated with an original piece of art will be created by Gwen Orland of Rockyknob Pottery. Queens musicians will add their special touch to the evening’s program.

From its inception in 2016, the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center has grown exponentially in its capacity to respond to the ever-increasing threat of prejudice and intolerance. From school programs, to DEI training for business and organizations, the Center continues to respond to the growing needs of the community today.  The foundational mandate that drives the Center’s work is the urgent need to maintain Holocaust memory and promote excellence in Holocaust education.

The Greenspon Center has selected International Holocaust Remembrance Day as the annual date on which to share the powerful message of the Holocaust to the community. In 2005, the United Nations selected January 27th, the day on which Auschwitz was liberated, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Their vision included global commemoration ceremonies with the aim of promoting education to prevent future genocides.

Join the Greenspon Center for this engaging evening to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, consider new directions in Holocaust education, and stand together as a community against hate. The event will be at 7:00pm in the Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for Civic Engagement at Queens University. This event is free and open to the public.

Partners in supporting this event include Novant Health Coexist BRG Group, Temple Beth El, and Temple Israel. To add your name as a supporter of this program, contact Judy LaPietra.

To register, click here or contact Judy LaPietra,




  1. I’ll be there!!
    Bringing Steven and Elleana and Jason Chalil!

    It’ll be great.

    1. Author

      You are such an awesome support of the Greenspon Center. Thank you!

  2. Stephen Smith is great — he’s made so many wonderful contributions over the years (and he’s not even very old!) – I met him in Kigali, where he played a big role in designing the marvelous genocide memorial centre there. Great work y’all, see on you the 26th!

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