Kelley H. Szany
DAMEN AWARD - THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
Kelley Szany (MA ’02) serves as director of education at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (IHMEC). In this role, she oversees all educational initiatives and programs relating to educational curricula, field trips, and student leadership programs offered by the museum. She also oversees all public programming, professional development, and trainings, including for all recruits to the Chicago Police Department.
During her 15-year tenure, Szany has become recognized as a leading Holocaust and contemporary genocide educator. She empowers audiences to engage in the power of social change and youth activism. With her guidance, the IHMEC speakers’ bureau program has developed into the largest cadre of survivor speakers in the U.S. with over 60 volunteers.
Szany has served as an adjunct faculty member at Aurora University and Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland, and sits on the board of directors for the Unsilence Project, a program that delivers story-driven learning experiences to inspire young people to ask critical questions about marginalized narratives of atrocity. She also serves on the board of directors for the Educators Institute for Human Rights, which provides professional development and support for Holocaust educators by partnering with teachers and local organizations in nations impacted by genocide and mass atrocities, such as Bosnia and Rwanda.
In 2015, Szany was appointed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to serve on the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission. She is a two-time recipient of the Friend of the Jewish Community Award from the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana and was the first non-Jewish recipient of the Samuel Goldsmith Award from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. In 2014, Szany was awarded the Carl Wilkens Fellowship, a year-long program where she worked alongside national leaders to create and strengthen a permanent anti-genocide constituency through both advocacy work and influence of U.S. policy. This past April, she was invited to deliver the keynote address at the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Rwandan genocide at the U.S. Embassy to the Republic of Rwanda in Washington, DC.
Szany holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Canisius College, as well as a master’s degree in public history from Loyola University Chicago.