Newswise — When SUNY Buffalo State Theater Professor and Anne Frank Project Director Drew Kahn wove a Rwandan theme into his student production of The Diary of Anne Frank six years ago, he never imagined the play would blossom into a three-day, campus-wide conference or spread to other colleges and universities. But that is how the project has progressed.
Now in its fifth year, the Anne Frank Project returns to Buffalo State September 11-13 spreading its message of tolerance to combat hate, racism, and genocide. It is free and open to the public and more than 4,000 visitors are expected to attend.
The enduring popularity and growth of this conference demonstrates its relevance to new audiences of all ages today.
“Each year as I refer back to Anne Frank’s diary I am amazed by the poignancy, compassion, and contemporary relevance of her words,” Kahn said. “Anne, like so many children whose stories were cut short by genocide, reminds us of our simple responsibility to be human. The element of ‘service’ is something young children seem to practice instinctively—we are all wired to serve each other; that’s what transforms lives. That is the essence of what we are exploring in this year’s conference.”
New this year is a provocative exhibit at Buffalo State’s Burchfield Penney Art Center, Anne Frank: A History for Today, which explores the life of Anne Frank and her family against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It runs September 10 through October 6 and marks the first time the exhibit has left the Anne Frank Center in New York City. Included is a hands-on component, “Virtual Annex,” where participants choose an avatar to experience Frank’s Amsterdam annex.
The AFP Conference begins a keynote address by Rebecca Davis, a professional dancer who works with youth in post-conflict countries. Other sessions over the three days include testimonials from genocide survivors, a session on creative problem-solving, a digital music performance, and a discussion about bystander intervention.