Keene State College is now welcoming international scholars to study on campus.
International Genocide Scholar Hikmet Karcic is an coming from the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said he is currently auditing four Holocaust and genocide studies (HGS) classes that will allow him to compare other mass atrocities to the one he specializes in: the Bosnian genocide.
Karcic said, “I have always been interested in the history of Bosniaks [Bosnian Muslims]. Unfortunately, a large part of our Bosnian history is also related to persecution, forced migration and mass atrocities of Bosniaks.”
Like other students taking HGS courses at Keene State College, Karcic wishes to broaden his knowledge about these events in history and apply what he learns to the genocides he studies. “I am interested in learning a comparative aspect of other genocides and the Holocaust,” he said.
Each fellow will have a semester to live on campus with a meal plan and office space, and will study alongside other college students. Not only that, but Karcic also has the opportunity to share his expertise with students by giving guest lectures in a number of classes. “I have been invited so far to be a guest lecturer at around half a dozen different classes and I will also take part in other activities at the Center,” he said.
KSC sophomore Ashley Arnold said that the HGS classes she has taken have forced her to take a deeper look into the darker side of humanity. “It’s made me reflect on the politics and motivation behind genocides and what countries have and haven’t done to aid them. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from taking those classes,” she said.
KSC is one of the few colleges in the United States that offers the Holocaust and genocide studies major. Karcic added that he plans to take advantage of the unique amount of resources on genocide studies KSC offers in the Cohen Center. “It has a rich library which I plan to extensively use,” he said.
KSC sophomore Karli Sou said she has also taken HGS classes, even though they stray from her major. “People have the opportunity to take HGS classes as an elective outside their major. The great thing is that if you’re writing a paper for your class, they have so much material in the library you can use. I think more people should take advantage of that,” she said.
KSC senior and HGS major Elizabeth Coleman said she recommends other students to take a HGS class to shine light on topics that get overlooked in history class. “For example, I think it’s so important for students to learn more about the Native American genocide in the U.S. because we forget about it and the people we oppress to this day,” she said.
Coleman also explained how the Global Fellowship Program is beneficial to the HGS department. “I think accepting international scholars is more than helpful to the program; I think it’s integral,” Coleman said. “The international scholar program helps us as students realize, a little more firsthand, the realities of what we are learning about and trying to prevent. They can also help us learn some of the same events from a different perspective.”
Thanks to the Global Fellowship Program, more people can take advantage of the HGS program at Keene State College.
In the fall semester of 2018, Patricia Fernanda Perez Valdes will be coming from Santiago, Chile, where she works at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
Hikmet Karcic said he advised future fellows to engage in the Keene community while they are here. “They will have a unique opportunity to learn from the best and to use that knowledge in their future research. Engage in the community work [and] try to give back as much as possible,” he said.
Katie Jensen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org