Steven Spielberg joins genocide survivors for Spotlight Friday


What happens when you invite Steven Spielberg to your employee event? Sometimes he shows up! That was the case on Friday, June 25 when USC’s Information Technology Services (ITS) hosted its monthly Spotlight Friday featuring USC Shoah Foundation. The award-winning producer, director, writer, and founder of the USC Shoah Foundation sent a video acknowledging and opening the event. Spielberg also provided information about the organization he founded in 1994 after having made the movie “Schindler’s List” about businessman Oskar Schindler protecting his Jewish factory workers from the Nazis.

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education develops empathy, understanding, and respect through survivor testimony by using its Visual History Archive of more than 55,000 video testimonies, academic programs, and partnerships across USC and 170 universities and its award-winning IWitness education program. USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive programming, research, and materials are accessed in museums and universities, cited by government leaders and non-government organizations, and taught in classrooms around the world. Now in its third decade, USC Shoah Foundation reaches millions of people on six continents from its home at the University of Southern California.

The event also featured touching testimonies from Edith Umugiraneza, Shoah Foundation Indexer and Vice-President of Ibuka USA (an organization for survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda), and Pinchas Gutter, Holocaust survivor, and Dimensions in Testimony interviewee.

They were also joined by:

• Stephen Smith, Andrew J., and Erna Finci Viterbi Endowed Executive Director Chair, USC Shoah Foundation

• Sam Gustman, Chief Technology Officer and Associate Dean, USC Shoah Foundation and USC Libraries

• Jonathan Dotan, Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Blockchain Research and the Stanford Compression Forum

• Douglas Shook, Chief Information Officer, USC Information Technology Services, Vice Provost, Professor of Data Sciences

• Kori Street, Senior Director of Programs and Operations, USC Shoah Foundation

• Lesly Culp, Head of Programs, Education, USC Shoah Foundation

To view testimonies from genocide survivors from around the world on USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, go to and search for “USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.” An on-campus connection or Shibboleth login is required.

If you missed the Spotlight Friday, you can watch the Zoom recording (sign in through SSO with the USC domain).

Spotlight Friday takes place the fourth Friday of every month to engage employees and showcase research, talent, technology, entertainment, and timely topics from students, researchers, faculty, and employees across USC and the greater community.

If you have any ideas for future Spotlight Friday topics, send an email to