Genocide Awareness Lecture
March or April
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Mabel Brown Room, Young Student Center
Price: Free and open to the public
Prior to the lecture, we will present the Susan J Herman Award for Leadership in Holocaust and Genocide Awareness.
Since the post-Holocaust declaration of “Never again!” the world has witnessed a number of genocidal actions that remind us that the work of remembrance is tied to the work of vigilance. And vigilance leads to the active acceptance of human responsibility for others outside our immediate domain. That lesson is directly rooted in the founding purpose of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies: “To remember … and to teach.”
The Genocide Awareness Lecture is an annual event designed to encourage people of good will and conscience to give vigilant, public attention to our still genocidal world. The lecture features experts who can initiate thoughtful reflection and responsible engagement with the mass violence and perpetration of human atrocity that continue to hold others in our world hostage, fearful for their lives and for the lives of their children.
When we remember what happened in the Holocaust, we realize that one of the reasons genocide was possible was that the Third Reich drew the boundaries of its universe of moral obligation to exclude the Jewish people. Likewise, it excluded the Sinti and Roma peoples, Slavs, and others whom Nazi ideology deemed “unworthy of life.” Our lecture tonight underscores the abiding importance of this root feature of the genocidal mind. When genocide occurs, victims are selected because they are members of a group or population that the dominant group excludes from its universe of moral obligation.
To interrupt genocide, we must disrupt our complacent acceptance of the status quo to focus on the realities of those who live beyond our immediate concern. All human beings count in our moral universe. While this lecture series on genocide awareness does not prescribe any specific program of individual or social action or assume any single framework of meaning, it challenges each of us to draw our boundaries of moral concern inclusively and initiates an ongoing conversation about the value and the place of others in our world.