WORCESTER, Mass., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- John Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York and strong advocate for improving relations between Roman Catholics and Jews, will speak at the inauguration of Clark University's pioneer Ph.D. program in Holocaust History on Thursday, Sept. 17. Through its Center for Holocaust Studies, Clark created the world's first Ph.D.-granting program in Holocaust history-which welcomes its first students this month. The program, which is administered through the Department of History and the Center, will produce the professors, scholars, archivists and museum directors of tomorrow. In addition, Clark is the only university in the United States offering a comprehensive undergraduate education in Holocaust and genocide studies. Clark boasts two permanent, fully endowed professorships in Holocaust history. "I am honored, and I am delighted, that Cardinal O'Connor offered to come to Clark to support our new doctoral program in Holocaust History," said Rose Professor and Center for Holocaust Studies Director Deborah Dwork. "It is another instance of the powerful steps that Cardinal O'Connor has taken to insist on the profound importance of Catholic-Jewish relations, most particularly in the shadow of the Holocaust." O'Connor oversees an archdiocese of more than two million Roman Catholics. He has condemned anti-Semitism, and has introduced education about the Holocaust in the archdiocese schools. He is an advocate of inter-faith dialogue and, in 1990, co-authored "A Journey of Faith" with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, in which the two discussed the Holocaust and the persistence of anti-Semitism. During his 1987 trip to Israel, the Cardinal prayed for the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In 1997, he received the Fiat Lux Award from Clark University in recognition of his contributions to Holocaust education. The award honors those who have shown exceptional leadership in increasing humankind's understanding of issues crucial to the 21st century. "The Center for Holocaust Studies stands as an important-indeed necessary- endeavor in studying and teaching the iniquities of the past in search of a moral and humane future," said O'Connor. "The work of Professor Dwork and her colleagues extends far beyond any religious boundaries to support our most important responsibility as human beings: teaching the world's children to love and care for one another as God intended."
SOURCE Clark University