The College welcomed incoming director Mehnaz Afridi

5/10/2011 – Riverdale, NY – Manhattan College hosted a community reception to celebrate the College’s expanded Holocaust Resource Center on May 10. The Center, while remaining committed to its long-standing mission to educate the public about the Holocaust and genocide, will broaden its focus to promote a better understanding among Christians, Jews and Muslims through interfaith dialogue related to the College’s educational mission. To mark this expansion, the Center will now be called the Manhattan College Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center, effective July 1, and a new resource space will also open for the Center in the Mary Alice and Tom O’Malley Library this fall.

Starting in August 2011, Mehnaz M. Afridi, Ph.D., will become the new director of the Center, replacing Jeff Horn, Ph.D., who has served as director since 2007 and is a professor in and chair of Manhattan College’s history department. Afridi brings an impressive record of scholarly commitment to the study of the Holocaust and genocide, and years of dedicated work in interfaith relations, and will also be an assistant professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in the fall. She has taught at Antioch University, National University, American Intercontinental University and Loyola Marymount University, and received her doctorate in religious studies from the University of South Africa, and her M.A. and B.A. from Syracuse University.

Horn introduced Afridi at the reception and explained how her publications have focused on themes of Muslim identity with emphasis on the ways in which anti-Semitism has been expressed by contemporaries. She is currently writing a book, The Shoah Through Muslim Eyes.

“In her public talks in academic conferences, in temples and synagogues all over the greater Los Angeles area, Dr. Afridi has dedicated herself to interfaith dialogue, the importance of the Holocaust and the critical importance of interpreting key Muslim texts accurately,” said Horn.

After Horn’s presentation and remarks sent by Michael Berenbaum, Ph.D., director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University, Afridi announced the upcoming speakers for the fourth annual Frederick M. Schweitzer lecture to be held on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Peter Black, Ph.D., senior historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Rebecca Erbelding, archivist of the museum, will present Kristallnacht: The Diary of Robert Harlan and Preserving Jewish Experiences.

“As Elie Wiesel recently stated on Holocaust Remembrance Day in an interview, ‘I am happy to say that I live for today’s children, they are our future, this is not only my life,’” commented Afridi, when discussing her background. “And with this message and memory and testimony I come to this point in my life where I bring with me the hope of educating non-Jewish communities about the stark realities of the Holocaust.”