Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- When Buffalo State College Theater Professor Drew Kahn wove a Rwandan theme into his student production of The Diary of Anne Frank four years ago, he never imagined the play would blossom into a three-day, campus-wide conference or spread to other colleges and universities.
But that is how the project has progressed.
Kahn, director of third annual Anne Frank Project, said the multifaceted conference evolved organically from the students and has captured the imagination of the entire campus. Last year, more than 4,000 people attended the conference held throughout the Buffalo State College campus.
This year’s Anne Frank Project, which runs September 14-16, features 45 events — from art exhibitions to genocide survivors’ stories — and includes livestreamed video with Rwandan participants.
Using the theme, “Our Shared Humanity: Looking Inward,” the conference closely examines intolerance, bias, hatred and genocide. All events are free and open to the public.
The popularity of The Anne Frank Project has created an unexpected ripple effect. In the fall and spring, Kahn will visit several universities interested in hosting an Anne Frank Project of their own.
The Anne Frank Project highlights include:
• I’m Not Leaving, a one-act play Buffalo State Theater Department students created based on the manuscript of humanitarian worker Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. 8:00 p.m. September 14 in the Warren Enters Theatre, Upton Hall. Audience members can meet Wilkens during a pre-performance discussion at 7:15 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required. (716) 878-6416.
• Keynote address, “Walking the Walk: Using Art to Face History,” by Hope Azeda, a leading figure in contemporary Rwandan theater and a voice for the arts and reconciliation in all of Africa. She will deliver her address via video livestreaming at 9:30 a.m. September 14 in the Warren Enters Theatre, Upton Hall.
• Predictions of the End of Time: A Performance of Clarinet and Poetry. Poet and Professor Emeritus David Landry blends his words with the music of clarinetist Benjamin Christy, the dean of the School of Arts and the Humanities. The title is derived from the famous “Quartet for the End of Time” composed by Olivier Messian during his interment in a German prison camp in World War II. 2:00-2:50 p.m. September 14 in the Flexible Seat Theatre, Donald Savage Building.
• “From Bullying to Hate Crimes, to the Holocaust, to Genocide: Can The Anne Frank Project Change a Bystander Into an Involved Citizen?” Sophia Veffer, Holocaust survivor and president of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, discusses the danger of being a passive bystander and how discrimination and hate crimes are detrimental in achieving a peaceful global society. 1:00-1:50 p.m. September 14 in the Warren Enters Theatre, Upton Hall.
The entire schedule can be found at: http://www.theannefrankproject.com/2011.html.