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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.



Ambassador Peter Galbraith, “Preventing Genocide in the 21st Century: Lessons from Iraq, Bosnia and East Timor”


Donald Bloxham, “Official Secrets: What Did British Intelligence Know of the Unfolding Holocaust?”


Gregory Stanton, “The Eight Stages of Genocide”

Dr. Stanton is Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. He is the founder and director of the Cambodian Genocide Project (1981) and the founder (1999) and President of Genocide Watch.

Genocide Watch is the Coordinator of the International Campaign to End Genocide, which includes 30 organizations in 11 countries. In addition to its work for institutional reform of the United Nations, it is a coalition that brings pressure upon governments that can act on early warnings of genocide through the U.N. Security Council. The International Campaign to End Genocide concentrates on predicting, preventing, stopping and punishing genocide and other forms of mass murder.


James Waller, “Genocide Prevention: Our World, Our Watch”

Dr. James Waller is Cohen Professor Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH). Waller is a widely-recognized scholar in the field of Holocaust and genocide studies. His book on perpetrators of genocide, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2007, 2nd ed.), was praised by Publisher’s Weekly for “clearly and effectively synthesizing a wide range of studies to develop an original and persuasive model of the process by which people can become evil.” In addition to being used as a textbook in college and university courses around the world, “Becoming Evil” also was short-listed for the biennial Raphael Lemkin Award from the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Waller has delivered invited briefings on genocide prevention and perpetrator behavior in atrocities in Africa for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the CIA Directorate of Intelligence. Waller also serves as the Academic Programs Director with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. In 2015, Jim was named a Peace Ambassador by the Center for Peacebuilding from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Waller’s forthcoming book, also to be published with Oxford University Press, is titled Done to Death No More: Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide.


Ervin Staub, “Overcoming Evil: Preventing Genocide and Creating Peaceful Societies”

Professor Emeritus and founding Director of the doctoral program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dr. Ervin Staub has studied the roots of altruism, and the origins of genocide and mass killing as well as violent conflict, terrorism, their prevention, psychological recovery and reconciliation. His projects include a training program in California to reduce the use of unnecessary force by police, in the Netherlands to improve Dutch-Muslim relations, in New Orleans to promote reconciliation after Hurricane Katrina, various trainings and seminars in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo to promote psychological recovery and reconciliation.

His books include Positive Social Behavior and Morality; The Roots of Evil: the Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence. His latest book, Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism describes the influences that lead to genocide and identifies principles and practices of prevention and of reconciliation between groups after violence. He uses past cases such as the Holocaust and the more current cases of Rwanda and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as examples. His lecture, “Overcoming Evil: Preventing Genocide and Creating Peaceful Societies” will promote knowledge, understanding and “active bystandership” in the prevention of violence.

Professor Staub is the past president of the International Society for Political Psychology and of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. He has received awards for his life-long contributions to peace psychology and his distinguished contributions to political psychology.


Dr. Carol Rittner, “Rape, Religion, and Genocide”

Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, a member of the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy, is a Distinguished Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She is the author or editor of numerous publications including various scholarly and educational journals about the Holocaust and other genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Her most recent publications include The Holocaust and the Christian World; Will Genocide Ever End? and Learn Teach Prevent: Holocaust Education in the 21st Century. Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide, published in September 2012, is a comparative study of sexual violence as a weapon of genocide.


Mathilde Mukantabana, “Remember, Unite, Renew: Retracing Milestones in Country Building after the 1994 Genocie against the Tutsi in Rwanda”

Professor Mathilde Mukantabana is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana was a tenured Professor of History at Cosumnes River College (CRC) in Sacramento, California from 1994 to 2013. She is also co-founder and President of Friends of Rwanda Association (F.O.R.A), a non-profit American relief association created in the wake of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Since its inception, FORA’s dual purpose has been to expand the circle of friends of Rwanda and to support survivors of 1994 Genocide through a variety of initiatives and relief efforts. In addition, under the aegis of United Nations for Development Programs (UNDP), Ambassador Mukantabana started the academic program of Social Work at the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and as an Invited Lecturer taught a variety of subjects in their summer program until recently. Ambassador Mukantabana has been a passionate community organizer for several decades and was a co-founder of many associations and organizations whose main purpose was to promote a positive engagement and collaboration of the Rwandan communities in the United States of America with other groups and organizations for the benefit of their respective countries. She is an active Board Member of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Sonoma State University inCalifornia and belongs to many local and international organizations including the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the Organization of African Leaders in Diaspora (OALD) that she co-founded and for which she is currently acting as Chair of the Board. In her capacity as a college professor and as President of F.O.R.A., Ambassador Mukantabana was actively involved in various academic and civic engagements. She organized numerous domestic and international workshops and conferences on genocide and on the Rwandan experience. A featured presenter at several film festivals and an international in-demand speaker, Ambassador Mukantabana has won many awards attesting to her accomplishments including the 2012 Peace and Justice Award from the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR); Peace and Global Peace Award (on behalf of Friends of Rwanda Association) by Global Majority, 2012 and Crystal Apple Award for Best Instructor at Cosumnes River College, 2012. In addition, she was listed in Who’s Who among Professionals in America 2003. Fluent in English, French, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi, Ambassador Mukantabana holds a Bachelors degree in History and Geography from the University of Burundi as well as a Masters degree in Social Work with special emphasis in Community Organization, Planning and Administration and a Masters of Arts in History from California State University in Sacramento, California, USA.

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