The Board of Directors of Chhange (Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education), located on the campus of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey, is pleased to announce the appointment of Asya Darbinyan, Ph.D., as Executive Director. Dr. Darbinyan assumed her role on Thursday, May 18, 2023, bringing a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to educating about genocide and human rights.
“The Board is very excited to welcome Asya to our organization,” commented Howard Dorman, Chhange’s Board President. “Asya brings a wealth of experience from her education and the organizations she has worked for in the past that will be of great benefit to Chhange.”
Dr. Darbinyan earned her Ph.D. in History from the renowned Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in 2019. During her doctoral studies, she also served as a Fellow in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University, teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses. Additionally, she has taught courses on genocide and women, the history of the Holocaust, and comparative genocides as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University and as a Visiting Professor at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Darbinyan held the position of Deputy Director at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia.
“I am honored to join this noble organization,” Dr. Darbinyan expressed. “Throughout my career, I have admired Chhange as a pioneer and leader in Holocaust and genocide education for over 40 years, standing up against injustice and hate in all its forms. Continuing to build on Chhange’s incredible legacy, I am enthused by the opportunity to work with our dedicated, hardworking, and creative team of professionals, educators, and volunteers. Together, we will reinforce and build new strategic partnerships to support Chhange’s mission and vision.”
Dr. Darbinyan’s passion for education as a means of genocide and mass atrocity prevention aligns perfectly with Chhange’s mission, which encompasses educating about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights, promoting the elimination of racism, antisemitism, and all forms of prejudice, and developing creative programs to address these crucial human issues.
Chhange’s origins trace back to 1979 when founders Seymour (Sy) Siegler, EdD, and Professor Jack Needle organized a Lunch and Learn series in response to a $200 grant proposal offered by Brookdale Community College to its faculty. The inaugural series, featuring testimony from local Holocaust survivor Arno Penzias, attracted an overwhelming response from the community and set the stage for Chhange’s educational focus on the human stories behind genocide. Recognizing the series’ impact, Norma Klein, Dean of Brookdale Community College Community Development, invited Sy and Jack to establish the Center for Holocaust Studies under her division at the College. On May 15, 1979, the opening ceremony was held for the first Holocaust studies center in New Jersey.
Dr. David M. Stout, President of Brookdale Community College, emphasized the longstanding partnership between Brookdale and Chhange, stating, “We extend our warmest congratulations and welcome to Dr. Asya Darbinyan as the new Executive Director of Chhange. Our college has been proud to have Chhange on our campus for over four decades, educating our community about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Dr. Darbinyan and Chhange as we work together to foster a more inclusive and tolerant society.”