The newly appointed Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Council of Higher Education, Jonathan Peri, Ph.D., J.D., lent copies of Ann Applebaum’s new book Stalin’s War on Ukraine: Red Famine to all members of Pennsylvania’s State Board of Education. (Dr. Peri lent the books to uphold the Governor’s Executive Order that bans accepting gifts). In late January, Governor Wolf appointed Peri to the role of Council Chair.
Dr. Peri, who is the President of America’s only Ukrainian Heritage institution of higher education, Manor College, distributed Applebaum’s book in support of the Board of Education’s recent committee work ensuring that Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights violations are included in Pennsylvania’s basic educational curriculum, along with appropriate resources, according to a release from the college.
Several months earlier, Craig Snider, son of the esteemed late Flyers founder and Comcast Spectacor chairman, Ed Snider, led a specially appointed committee of the State Board examining the issues. During hearings, Dr. Peri voiced the matter of the Holodomor and suggested raising awareness for curricular purposes. Once board members are finished reading the Applebaum books, Dr. Peri will be donating them to interested Pennsylvania college students upon request.
The Holodomor was the genocide of the Ukrainian peoples through starvation-deaths in their own land. Between 1931 and 1933, an estimated 5 to 10 million people were forced off of their land and onto collective farms, had their food shipped away, or were otherwise precluded from eating any foods grown on their lands. Soviet Russia under the reign of Joseph Stalin is considered the source of these heinous atrocities.
“Craig’s and the special committee’s work was remarkably well done, and they are to be commended” said Dr. Peri, “Adding the Holodomor to the global set of considerations here assists us all in affirming: never again!”
Since Dr. Peri’s leadership at Manor College, now a little more than two years, the college has increased its profile concerning the need for social justice and advocacy against human rights violations, including through social justice conferences led by college faculty. Last November, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article about sophomore Allied Health student-athlete, Zola Makanda’s escape on foot from the bloody conflict in the Congo. Makanda is thriving at Manor College as he is pursuing his degree while playing soccer on Manor’s Division I Men’s soccer team.
In addition to his service on the State Board of Education, Dr. Peri may be the only person in Pennsylvania history to serve on five education related boards simultaneously, the State Board of Education, the Tuition Account Program 529 College Savings Advisory Board, the Charter School Appeals Board, the Pennsylvania College Textbook Policies Advisory Committee, and ex-officio on the Professional Standards and Practices Commission. Dr. Peri graduated from Villanova University and Widener University’s Delaware Law School. He recently completed the Organizational Leadership doctoral program at Eastern University, making him one in approximately .00054 percent of people globally admitted to practice law and having earned the J.D. and the Ph.D.