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Officials at Holocaust center at FAU optimistic it will get money to continue

May 19, 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Officials at Holocaust center at Fau optimistic it will get money to continue, by Scott Travis.

Agency official confident of reaching goal

A Holocaust Center at Florida Atlantic University will likely receive the $200,000 needed to continue operating, an official from a funding agency said.

Donors were responsive when word got out that the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education was losing its state money, said Robert Alrod, president of the Boca Raton-based League for the Educational Awareness of the Holocaust, which pays half of the center's annual budget.

FAU has paid the other half in the past but has to make $9 million in budget cuts this year and can't afford the $100,000 expense, Provost John Pritchett said. Officials with FAU and the league have been looking for donations.

"Whether we've raised the total funds, I don't know," Alrod said Friday. "But the response is terrific. All kinds of people are calling, and I'm confident we'll reach our goal."

He declined to identify donors.

Alrod said the center needs the money before July 1, the start of the new budget year.

The center, established in 1996 at FAU's Boca Raton campus, provides the Holocaust studies curriculum for seven county school districts, including Broward and Palm Beach. It also offers professional development, a lending library and a speaker's bureau. Six members of Congress appealed to FAU President Frank Brogan to find the needed money.

"At a time when anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are on the rise around the world and atrocities continue to occur in Darfur, it is critical that the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education be fully funded to ensure we do not forget the lessons of the Holocaust," the letter said.

It was signed by U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler, D- Delray Beach; Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton; Alcee Hastings, D- Miramar; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston; Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami; and Kendrick Meek, D-Miami.

Pritchett said the university needs help for two years to keep the center open.

Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,5866468.story

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