Experimental new VCU course takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the phenomenon of migration

Mayda Topoushian, Ph.D., gives a lecture drawing parallels between the Armenian genocide and the conflict and Syria to an experimental new School of World Studies course on modern migration.  Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs

Mayda Topoushian, Ph.D., gives a lecture drawing parallels between the Armenian genocide and the conflict and Syria to an experimental new School of World Studies course on modern migration.
Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs

Mayda Topoushian, Ph.D., an instructor of international studies, is giving a lecture drawing parallels between the Armenian genocide that occurred 100 years ago and the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Syria, which is leading to a massive wave of migration across Europe and around the globe.

“Why is it important today?” Topoushian asked the classroom filled with VCU students. “We are sitting here in the luxury and security of our campus. Why should we care about events that are occurring far away?”

Many of the students expressed frustration that the atrocities being committed are failing to provoke significant outrage or action in the U.S.

“People in general don’t care, but really they should,” said Chalen Aleong, a political science major in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “Because what does that say about us? And what will it say about us 20 or 30 years from now, when we did nothing?”

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