Currently, the CGHR team has about a dozen projects, which fall under five thematic areas:
Civic engagement and mediation are pillars of Genocide Prevention. Without committed activists seeking to promote humane values and engage a broader public, prevention turns into an abstraction. CGHR and its UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention are intent upon fostering involvement with the media, writing for popular journals and — of course — participation in various forms of conflict mediation. The point is to generate dialogue and offer alternative voices and perspectives to policy decision-makers.
N. “act of coming between . . . so as to modify or prevent a result . . . situated between in place, time, or order” (OED)
If “intervention,” a “coming between,” has a broad purview, the genocide and atrocity crime intervention that readily comes to mind is military. As recent events in Libya, Iraq, and Syria illustrate, however, military intervention is problematic and only one of many possible intervention options, which includes diplomatic, legal, economic, humanitarian, and therapeutic modalities. This program thematic explores not just this range of interventions, but reflects critically on discursive, structural, and genealogies that undergird them and generate more or less effective outcomes.
Probing, analyzing, exploring
The concept of prevention requires discursive spaces in which engaged pedagogy and an exploration of ideas of prevention might be enacted. Prevention as an act of anticipation demands critical inquiry and commitment to exploring the creation, reception and dissemination of divergent, challenging and anticipatory ideas and spaces. CGHR’s inquiry program seeks to engage in critical and dialogic approaches to creating spaces and opportunities to develop, inspire and sustain a culture of education for genocide and violence prevention.
1. Time that is still to come.
2. A prospect of success or happiness.
Prevention is closely bound with the future. To prevent something is to keep it from happening or recurring. Doing so entails an understanding of the past, echoed by the refrain “never again,” and bringing the insights gleaned to bear on current and future situations. Along these lines, CGHR’s futures program seeks to enhance genocide and mass atrocity prevention through a consideration of the intersections of past, present, and future. As such, the project is concerned with the lessons of the past, genocide and mass atrocity in the present, and especially, proximate and more distant threats that we are only beginning to understanding, including climate change, robotics, biotechnologies, new media technologies, non-state actors, and new forms of state-level bigotry, dehumanization, and hate.
Genocide is one of the most vexing global challenges we face. The 20th century, haunted by the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Ottoman Turkey, and other episodes of mass violence, has been referred to as “the century of genocide” Already in the 21st century, genocide has struck in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria and genocide alerts are issued with alarming frequency.
What can be done? While some diplomatic, governmental, and non-governmental initiatives have been recently undertaken to work on genocide prevention, there has less academic focus on this issue. CGHR’s UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention seeks fill this gap by undertaking research, scholarship, education, and outreach on this topic. In doing so, it combines a rigorous academic approach with an effort to seek engagement between scholars and practitioners.
The UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention builds on a tradition of genocide studies at Rutgers. Raphael Lemkin, the scholar/activist who coined the term genocide and worked tirelessly for its criminalization in international law, taught at Rutgers-Newark in the mid-1950s, creating a tradition of interest in genocide, conflict resolution. Other Rutgers professors subsequently undertook research and advocacy on genocide and genocide prevention. Then, in 2007, Rutgers established the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights.
In partnership with UNESCO, the UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention, launched in 2013, builds upon this academic tradition at Rutgers of engaged scholarship and grappling with genocide. As part of its UNESCO Chair and Raphael Lemkin Project, CGHR is launching an annual Raphael Lemkin Award and Lecture, to be held the week of December 9, the date the 1948 UN Genocide Convention was passed and is now designated as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
UNESCO Chair Executive Committee
Stephen Eric Bronner, Executive Committee Member