To make a secure gift to the Ray Wolpow Institute or contact the Wolpow Institute Director, Dr. Sandra Alfers, or Associate Director, Dr. Babafemi Akinrinade.

Current Areas of Focus

We strive to offer outstanding scholarly and educational programming for our university and the local, regional, national, and international communities it serves. As we continue to build the institute, we ask for your support – to design innovative courses for our students, develop study abroad opportunities, offer professional development opportunities for our educators, and offer scholarly and relevant public programming.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGST) Minor:  WWU is the first public university in the state of Washington with an Holocaust and Genocide Studies minor. The program includes courses from six different disciplines and two colleges and combines historical understanding with a cross-disciplinary exploration of both the Holocaust and genocide. Our minor prepares students to be successful and engaged members of society and will enable them to learn the tools needed to work in and across disciplines to identify and creatively solve key societal problems, both local and global.

Human Rights (HR) Minor: The Human Rights minor is a combined program of study offered in cooperation with Fairhaven College. Human rights education integrates exploration of the questions of human freedom at the core of traditional liberal arts education with a critical examination of the institutions designed to promote and protect human freedom in the past and in the contemporary world. Because of its flexibility, the minor in Human Rights course of study complements any majors within the University.

Noémi Ban Memorial Speaker Series: In honor of the life and legacy of local Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban (1922-2019), we are raising funds to provide exceptional scholarly and educational programming through public lectures and performances. 

Collegial Partnerships: In light of the success of our 2019 Regional Institute on the Holocaust, a second Regional Institute at WWU will be hosted with Northwestern University during the 2022-2023 academic year. During the pandemic our programming has been online, thus allowing us to connect with other universities (e.g. University of Minnesota and the Queensborough Community College|CUNY Kupferberg Holocaust Center) to partner with their programs. The Wolpow Institute also recognizes and supports the excellent programs offered by WWU's Fairhaven College. Western's World Issues Forum offers students, faculty, staff, and community members an opportunity to be active engaged global citizens by producing programming for distinguished guest speakers addressing urgent global justice topics.

Faculty Research and Support: The Wolpow Institute aims to provide funding opportunities for WWU faculty to support their teaching and scholarly activities related to Holocaust and Genocide Studies. During the 21-22 academic year, the RWI contributed to several classroom speaker events, including Bree Blackhorse (Seminole Nation), Devin Naar (University of Washington), and Natalia Aleksiun (Tuoro University).

Student Support: The Wolpow Institute facilitates student financial aid through scholarship opportunities. Generous donations from Bernhard Kohlmeier and Lisa Ann Mikulencak in honor of Arthur Poznanski, a Holocaust survivor, have provided students from various majors’ financial support for their education. To be eligible, an applicant must address one question: “When have you stood up for an individual or a group of people in a meaningful way and made a difference for that individual or group?”

To learn more about how you can become a part of our community and support the goals of the institute, please contact our director, Dr. Sandra Alfers, or visit the WWU Foundation website.

We much appreciate your generosity!