FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kathy Rowan, 704.338.7219 or [email protected]
Sarah Mabus, 704.347.3844 or [email protected]
Marcia Merrill, 704.364.0084 or [email protected]
Echo Foundation Brings Elie Wiesel to Charlotte
Elie Wiesel Holds Dialogue with 1,000+ Students at Myers Park High School
March 27, 2007 (Charlotte, N.C.) – Some 1,000+ students and teachers from 25 regional public and private middle schools and high schools, as well as students and teachers representing 28 additional schools from across the country, are participating today in a dialogue with Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate for Peace and Holocaust survivor. The dialogue will be held at Myers Park High School, 2400 Colony Road, from 9:00 to 11:15 a.m.
Students have focused year-long, in-depth studies on the work and life of Elie Wiesel and on his example of taking personal responsibility for creating a better world. Today they have the opportunity to present their informed questions to Professor Wiesel. The dialogue will spotlight the urgent issues of our time, what one person can do for positive change, and the global cost of complacency when people and governments remain indifferent to suffering and injustice. The Student Dialogue is designed to connect students, on a personal level, with one of the great humanitarians of the century, to urge them to act with compassion toward others here and abroad, and to believe in the difference they can make.
“We see the Elie Wiesel Project as a way to put a moral compass into the hands of young people to help guide them in ethical decision making. We place our hopes for the future in these students to serve the greater good of all humankind,” said Alan Dickson, Anniversary Ambassador of The Echo Foundation’s 2007 Voices Against Indifference Initiative, “A Decade Inspired by Elie Wiesel.”
Professor Wiesel’s visit celebrates the 10th Anniversary of The Echo Foundation. His activities while in Charlotte are part of the Voices Against Indifference Initiative, an educational program that brings to Charlotte individuals whose personal experience illuminates how one person can make a positive difference for humanity through words, action and moral courage. Through its year-round comprehensive educational programs, The Echo Foundation seeks to increase awareness of humanitarian concerns across the globe, and to teach respect and understanding for all people.
“Our young people have an extraordinary opportunity to learn from a man who bears witness to man’s unimaginable capacity for evil, yet, Elie Wiesel’s enduring message is one of hope and personal responsibility for humankind. Professor Wiesel is a living example of the difference one person can and has made for humanity,” said Stephanie Ansaldo, president of The Echo Foundation.
In preparation for the Wiesel Student Dialogue, The Echo Foundation collaborates with educators, students and community leaders to create an interactive educational program. Components of The Elie Wiesel Project include high school art and writing competitions in French and English, curriculum materials for educators, a teacher workshop and Humanity’s Day for students.
This past fall, Professor Wiesel addressed the UN Security Council urging action to help the people of Darfur, labeling it “the world capital of human suffering, humiliation and despair.” Wiesel has also defended the cause of Soviet and Ethiopian Jews, Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians, Argentina’s Desaparecidos, Cambodian refugees, the Kurds, victims of famine and genocide in Africa, victims of apartheid in South Africa, victims of war in the former Yugoslavia, and is a devoted supporter of Israel.
His internationally acclaimed memor, “La Nuit” or “Night,” about his experiences in the Nazi death camps, has been translated into more than thirty languages. “Night” has experienced a surge in readership since Oprah Winfrey chose it for her television book club in January 2006. Professor Wiesel is the author of more than 40 books of fiction and non-fiction, and the recipient of more than 100 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning.
In 1978, President Carter appointed Wiesel Chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980, he became the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is Chairman of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife created to promote acceptance, understanding and equality. He has been Honorary Chair of The Echo Foundation since its inception in 1997.
About The Echo Foundation
The Echo Foundation was founded in 1997 to carry on the message Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel brought to Charlotte that year – a call to action for human dignity, justice and moral courage. The Echo Foundation creates programs and brings speakers to Charlotte that illustrate how one person can make a difference for humanity through its Voices Against Indifference Initiative. Last year, as part of the ECHO RETURNS: Young Heroes of Hope project, five former Echo students were honored as recipients of the inaugural “Young Heroes of Hope Award” for their global humanitarian work. The Young Heroes participated in a series of dialogues and forums with students and leaders of the Charlotte community. Previous Echo speakers also include internationally renowned Nobel Laureates in physics and medicine, Doctors without Borders founder Bernard Kouchner, Harvard Afro-American Studies Department Chairman Henry Louis Gates Jr., Columbia Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and Chinese dissident Harry Wu.
For additional information about The Echo Foundation and upcoming programs, visit www.EchoFoundation.org or call 704.347.3844.
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NOTE TO EDITORS: Schools participating in the dialogue from Mecklenburg County are: Butler, Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Country Day, Charlotte Latin, East Mecklenburg, Garinger, Harding University, Hopewell, Independence, Myers Park, North Mecklenburg, Northwest School of the Arts, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Providence, Providence Day, Smith Academy of International Languages, South Charlotte Middle School, South Mecklenburg, Vance, and West Charlotte. Other North Carolina schools participating are Cherryville High in Gaston, Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, Outdoor Academy of the Southern Appalachians and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy in Mooresboro. Schools represented by the Outdoor Academy are: Mountain Brook, Etna, Gainesville, Henry W. Grady, Roswell, William Henry Harrison, Bryn Mawr, Friends School of Baltimore, Gaithersburg, J.F. Kennedy, Montgomery Blair, St. Paul’s, Wellesley, Bosque, Santa Fe, Asheville, Mountain Heritage, West Forsyth, Carolina Friends, Paisley Magnet, Mount Airy, Conostoga, Trinity Collegiate, Franklin, Nashville School of the Arts, Berkeley Springs and Charleston Catholic.