Crossing Lines: Tools for Teaching Tough Topics

Date: Plans for 2021 are currently underway. Applications will open in early 2021.
Location: Sacramento, California

How do we bring the experiences of Japanese-American WWII internees, refugees of the Secret War in Laos, and the survivors of the Rwandan genocide into our classrooms? How can their experiences be shared within a wider historical lens, connecting their hardships with those of Holocaust survivors in Europe? These questions are what educators will explore during our 12 session online professional development seminar to be presented over a 6-week span from late-May through mid-July. Focusing on the power of stories to promote the acceptance and appreciation of all cultures, the seminar brings together Holocaust survivors, Japanese-American internees, Mien and Hmong refugees, and Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, to share their family histories, personal experiences and lessons learned.

2021 applications will open in early 2021.

Please contact our Satellite Seminar coordinator, Wendy Zagray Warren, at for more information.




  • Gail Desler

    Gail Desler is a technology specialist for the Elk Grove School District (California). Using technology to help students cross the line from bystander to upstander is central to her workshops. Her passion for teaching for social justice has been nurtured by the Area 3 Writing Project, the National Writing Project, and the Olga Lengyel Institute

  • Pam Bodnar

    Pam Bodnar is a retired middle school counselor at Marsh Jr. High in Chico California. She is a passionate advocate of social justice and cultural awareness. Pam is dedicated to training student peer mediators as peace ambassadors through Holocaust Education programs and international travel experiences.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)