The Anne Frank Project (AFP), a campuswide conference that uses storytelling to examine issues such as racism, intolerance, and genocide, will be held September 11–13. Now in its fifth year, the conference is composed of more than 50 events, all of which are free and open to the public.
Working within the theme “Transforming Lives,” this year’s conference aims to channel the young Holocaust victim’s wisdom into solutions to deep-seated problems and effect change, said AFP director and theater professor Drew Kahn.
“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. It is certainly an element deeply imbedded in the personality of Buffalo State.”
New this year is a provocative exhibit at the 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.
Also new this year is an AFP Youth Conference that Buffalo State is hosting September 10. Approximately 200 students from five Buffalo high schools will work with visiting artists, activists, and educators to examine intolerance, bullying, and worldwide oppression through the visual and theatrical arts. AFP serves the Common Core Learning Standards for public schools by turning theory into action.
“Kids want to be involved in social justice and make changes when they see wrong in the world,” said Eve Everette, AFP assistant director. Everette, is a 2009 alumna who works year-round with Buffalo State theater students to teach conflict resolution through theater in high-needs city schools.
The AFP Conference begins with opening ceremonies September 11 at 9:00 a.m. in the Warren Enters Theatre followed by a keynote address by Rebecca Davis, a professional dancer who works with youth in post-conflict countries, at 10:15 a.m. in the Donald Savage Theater and Communication Building.
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.
Conference-goers also can see Dear Me, a play created by Buffalo State theater students that deals with sexual identity, bullying, and suicide, on September 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Flexible Theater. They also can participate in the poetry slam AFP Rocks!, on September 12 at 7:00 p.m. in Warren Enters Theatre.
Visit the Anne Frank Project website to view the entire AFP 2013 schedule, download a mobile app, and more.