USC College's Shoah Foundation Institute, established by Steven Spielberg in 1994 to gather video testimonies from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, has begun an international search for an executive director to continue and expand upon its current initiatives and programs. The new executive director will be expected to implement a new strategic plan and increase the global impact of the institute’s mission to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry — and the suffering they cause — through the educational use of the institute’s visual history testimonies.
The search follows the appointment of former executive director Douglas Greenberg as the executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at his alma mater Rutgers University.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Doug Greenberg during this past year, on behalf of this extremely important and prestigious institute,” said USC College Dean Howard Gillman. “Doug will be missed. We are grateful for his exceptional service to the institute and to USC, and we wish him all the best in his new position.”
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries.In addition to preserving the testimonies, the institute helps document the stories of survivors and other witnesses of other genocides. Currently, the institute is working with the Rwandan organization IBUKA to begin a project to collect testimony from survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that claimed as many as one million lives. Once collected and indexed, the testimony will be incorporated into the visual history archive.
After broadly consulting with the Shoah Foundation Institute community, Gillman appointed a search committee composed of four senior faculty and four members of the institute’s distinguished Board of Councilors. Gillman will chair the committee, and the search will be assisted by representatives from Korn/Ferry International.
"The newly developed strategic plan of the Shoah Foundation Institute provides a visionary road map for the new director that includes projects in Rwanda as well as enhancing access to the existing collection of Holocaust testimonies," said Don Miller, Leonard K. Firestone Professor of Religion in the College and executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC.
In a July memo, Gillman announced that senior manager Kim Simon will serve as the interim executive director of the institute. She has been the principal architect of all its international work, and also has been deeply involved in its educational efforts, and in the crafting of the new strategic plan.
During this past year Gillman worked with Greenberg, the Shoah Foundation Institute staff, the institute’s Board of Councilors and USC faculty to develop a new strategic plan for the institute. The plan, which was approved in May of 2008, focuses on scholarship and research; education; access to the archive; expansion of the archive to include new content; and the long-term preservation of current content.
"Our partnership with USC has enhanced tremendously the institute's ongoing missions of preservation, education and outreach. I am confident that our new executive director will build further upon that strong foundation in executing our strategic plan and taking the institute to the next level," said Robert J. Katz, member of the Board of Councilors and of the search committee.