Mission Statement:

Based at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Southern Institute is a non-profit race relations center dedicated to improving ethnic relations in the Deep South through tolerance education and communications training. Founded in 1993, the Southern Institute's programs help young people understand the causes and consequences of prejudice by examining the past. For the adult community, the Southern Institute offers a highly acclaimed cross-cultural communication workshop that enables participants to understand and work effectively with people from different cultures.

At the heart of the Southern Institute's work is the conviction that history compels us to speak out against racism in all forms, or pay dearly for our indifference. In the area of tolerance and Holocaust education alone, the Southern Institute has provided training to more than 3,600 teachers from 800 schools in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. These teachers reach more than one million students annually.

TOLERANCE AND HOLOCAUST EDUCATION

History can illuminate the tragic consequences of prejudice and the moral imperative to speak out against the suffering of others. The Southern Institute uses case studies of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement to help young people understand the moral and ethical decisions that they may make someday. Training and speaking services are available only in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Florida. Free resources include:

HOLOCAUST EDUCATION WORKSHOPS
for middle and high school teachers that address the psychology of altruism, moral indifference, the history of racism and anti-Semitism, and how to apply these insights to the world today. In addition, the Southern Institute offers the Goldring Summer Workshop, a three-day Holocaust education seminar for advanced teachers.

CIVIL RIGHTS EDUCATION WORKSHOPS
train teachers how to use oral histories of inspiring unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

COMPREHENSIVE TEACHING MATERIALS
including teaching guides tailored to each workshop and oral histories of Holocaust survivors and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement.

SPEAKERS BUREAU
featuring speakers who were witnesses to the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement.

DOCUMENTARY SERIES ON HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS IN NEW ORLEANS
This is a ten-part televised series of interviews with survivors in New Orleans who have spoken to thousands of teachers and students over the years. The programs, which come with teaching guides, can be copied for free on this website. Teachers who have met the survivors can use the videos to bring to life for future generations these witnesses to history.


RACE RELATIONS COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND RESEARCH

People, even with the best intentions, often do not understand and communicate effectively with those from different cultural backgrounds. The Southern Institute has developed a highly acclaimed cross-cultural communication workshop that helps leaders in business, community life, and faith and grassroot organizations to resolve cultural conflicts and communicate and work more effectively in multicultural settings. Services include:

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION WORKSHOPS
Entitled TIES (Teams for InterEthnic Solutions), this one-day workshop teaches advanced communication skills based on successful models used in international training. The emphasis is on learning practical skills to improve communication among whites, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians. Past participants include law enforcement agencies, Chambers of Commerce, and community and faith organizations.

SCHOOL COLORS- CROSS-CULTURAL TRAINING FOR SCHOOLS
A customized workshop designed to increase the capacity of educators to teach students from differing backgrounds.

CULTURAL COMPETENCY RESEARCH
The Southern Institute is leading an initiative to develop evaluation methods that help organizations select effective diversity and cross-cultural programs. The project will result in a free, web-based "Consumers Guide" for selecting cross-cultural training services. The goal is to develop standards that require trainers to prove that their training results in positive and measurable skills for improving inter-ethnic relations.


HOW IS OUR TOLERANCE EDUCATION DIFFERENT?

Many organizations share the Southern Institute's goals, but none has been as successful in reaching communities in racist strongholds in the South. The key to the Institute's strategy is understanding how schools can be moved to address the subjects of prejudice and tolerance. If we want to change the way young people think, we have to change the way they are taught. We have to do more than occasionally send a teacher a video or teaching guide, or offer them a one-time workshop. It takes consistent, long-term personal attention. It means that we have to inspire and motivate teachers. And there is no greater inspiration to confront evil than the personal stories of Holocaust survivors and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Institute provides year-round support for teachers and has arranged hundreds of presentations by survivors and civil rights leaders. The target audiences are communities that are bedeviled by racial bigotry; we do not want to preach to the choir. The results speak for themselves. Since its inception, the Southern Institute has provided tolerance and Holocaust education training to more than 3,600 teachers from 800 schools in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. These teachers reach more than one million students annually.

Simply put, the Southern Institute goes where other organizations have never gone, and brings the past to life where it has long since been forgotten.

View our Staff and Executive Board.