Dr. Stephen D. Smith, Andrew J. and Erna Finci Viterbi Endowed Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education, holds the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education. He is also Adjunct Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California. Dr. Smith is committed to making the testimony of survivors of the Holocaust and of other crimes against humanity a compelling voice for education and action. His leadership at the Institute is focused on finding strategies to optimize the effectiveness of the testimonies for education, research, and advocacy purposes.
A theologian by training, Smith has a particular interest in the impact of the Holocaust on religious and philosophical thought and practice. He wrote his dissertation on the “Trajectory of Memory,” examining how Holocaust survivor narrative — and in particular, visual history — has developed over time and shapes the way in which the implications of the Holocaust are understood. He founded the UK Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire, England and cofounded the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. He was also the inaugural Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which runs the National Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom.