Annual Colloquium

Each year, the Colloquium, Chhange’s signature program, attracts up to 2,500 middle school and high school students from across the state. The plenary session features a prominent keynote speaker, who addresses issues related to Chhange’s mission.

Past keynote speakers include:

  • Terrence Roberts, PhD (Little Rock Nine: An Eyewitness Account)
  • Lt. General Roméo Dallaire (100 Days of Silence)
  • Michael Berenbaum, PhD (Survivors Empowering Voices for Tomorrow)
  • Mark Hanis (Become a Global Citizen)
  • Debórah Dwork, PhD (Refugees and their Flight for Life)
  • Sana Mustafa (Refugees and their Flight for Life)

After the plenary session, each student has the opportunity to attend one of 35-45 workshops. These workshops provide the opportunity to have a small group experience and connect with a hero, leader, or role model (Holocaust/genocide survivors, human rights activists) or address a specific topic with an educator, scholar or artist.

Examples of workshops offered in past years include the following:

1. Soulsaving: Common Threads of Kindness – In this heartwarming film produced by Chhange, local Holocaust survivors share “Threads of Kindness” that saved their souls, their lives, and restored their belief in humanity. A Holocaust educator at Chhange leads a discussion of the film and highlights the impact of individual acts of kindness on lives of others.

2. The Red Bandanna Project - The red bandanna refers to Welles Remy Crowther, a man who died on 9/11 but showed bravery, courage and caring for others in the last hour of his life. The lesson reinforces 'The Power of One' and is meant to help students discuss and explore their own individual power.

3. Teens Against Intolerance – Models for Student Activism! This workshop is presented by the educator and students who formed "Teens against Intolerance" - an interactive student performance designed to build bridges to mutual respect and social justice among all groups in the American experience.

4. A Chance to Touch History – Holocaust survivors share their testimony, relating their life experiences, and engages with students.

5. My Story: A Survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda - A survivor of the genocide in Rwanda shares her testimony, relating her life experiences, and engages with students.

6. Firsthand Eyes: Living Days of Civil Rights, Desegregation, and Hate – Growing up in the South and living through the changes brought on by the Civil Rights Movement meant good days and bad days for African-American teens who experienced them. The times were tough and triumphant. They were a'changing for certain, but they left lasting memories for many. A Brookdale Community College professor shares her personal experiences in this workshop.

7. LGBTQ Teen Issues – School advisors for the Gay-Straight Alliance for Middletown South and the Gay-Straight Alliance in Rumson share information about providing a healthy environment for all individuals, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. They present active ways lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons, and their families and friends, can educate and enlighten the public, and work to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights.

Chhange educates, inspires, and empowers individuals to stand up to injustice.