A team of HLS Negotiators students carried out a semester-long project with Zikaron BaSalon (Hebrew for “memories in the living room”). Zikaron BaSalon is an initiative seeking to offer intimate and engaging platforms for people to commemorate the Holocaust around the world. The students’ primary objective for the project was to understand and provide feedback on Zikaron BaSalon’s existing approach to facilitating dialogue. The team had a particular eye towards what might work as the initiative seeks to expand more in the U.S. context.
As part of their work, the Negotiators team hosted and facilitated a real Zikaron BaSalon event, open to the public, on Harvard Law School’s campus. The event consisted of three parts: a video-recorded testimony of a Holocaust survivor, the sharing of personal stories and sentiments, and finally a facilitated discussion, which gave participants a space to reflect on the memory of the Holocaust. Afterwards, participants had an opportunity to reflect on the experience and give in-depth feedback about what worked well for them and what they would have liked to see changed. Neha Singh ’19 and Max Bevilaqua (Tufts Fletcher School, ’18) facilitated the discussion and teammates Harout Ekmanian LLM ’18 and Tamsin Parzen ’20 participated along with a group of fifteen others. One theme of the discussion was: to what extent should Holocaust commemoration occur alongside commemoration of other genocides? The vast range of personal backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in the group made for a rich discussion and raised for the students some core, and even universal, questions about facilitation.