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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Save the date! Conference will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda

rwanda conference.pngGenocide and its Aftermath: Lessons from Rwanda
April 16, 17 & 19

Singled out as the biggest failure of the international community since the Holocaust, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has loomed large in the decisions of states and international organizations in response to mass violence. Because of the ongoing importance of the Rwanda experience in relation to genocide prevention efforts, the Institute for Global Studies, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Genocide & Holocaust Studies are jointly hosting a series of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide. "Genocide and its Aftermath: Lessons from Rwanda," will take place on April 16, 17 and 19, exploring what we have come to know about the genocide in Rwanda, discussing the immediate responses by the international community, and analyzing the long-term consequences that the cataclysmic failure to prevent the genocide had on international policy and action. The events are funded by Ohanessian Endowment Fund for Justice and Peace Studies at The Minneapolis Foundation.

Highlighting a distinguished list of speakers for the April 16 public conference will be the U.N. Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, Mr. Adama Dieng; Jean-Damscène Gasanabo, Director General of Research with the Research and Documentation Center of the Rwandan Government; and Professor Samuel Totten, renowned genocide scholar and activist. These figures will be joined by leading academics, activists and diplomats. Other speakers will include Eric Schwartz, Dean of the Humphrey School and former National Security Adviser to President Clinton; Gregory Gordon, former Legal Officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Curt Goering, Executive Director, Center for Victims of Torture and former Chief Operating Officer at Amnesty International USA; Chris Uggen, Professor of Sociology; Leigh Payne, Professor at Oxford and Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Global Studies; and emerging scholars Hollie Nyseth-Brehm, Wahutu Siguru, Nicole Fox, and Marie Berry. This event will be free and open to the public.
The second day of the conference, April 17, will highlight the work of undergraduate students from different disciplines regarding the genocide in Rwanda or other genocides and mass atrocities. Any undergraduate students interested in submitting work to be presented at the conference should see the Call for Papers below. Papers for consideration must be submitted by February 28, 2014, to Wahutu J. Siguru (siguru@umn.edu). The series of events will conclude on April 19, with a workshop for K-16 educators on genocide, conducted by Samuel Totten, one of the foremost scholars of curriculum on Holocaust and genocide education. Those interested in participating should return to this website for further details in the coming weeks.
Call for Undergratuate Papers- Rwanda Commemorative Events, Student Conference.docx
For information on this event and other events being hosted by the Human Rights Program, please check http://www.hrp.cla.umn.edu/. For more information on events being hosted by the Center for Genocide & Holocaust Studies, please check http://www.chgs.umn.edu/news/.
Event Co-sponsors: The Center for Victims of Torture, The Advocates for Human Rights, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, St. Cloud State Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, World Without Genocide, Department of History, Department of French and Italian, the Institute of Diversity, Equality and Advocacy, the Program in Human Rights and Health and the Human Rights Center of the University of Minnesota
Event artwork is titled "Valentina's Nightmare (Hands/Face Rough)" by Peter Driessen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Barbara Frey to present inaugural lecture in series, "Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory in Latin America and Southern Europe"

Reframing Mass Violence small.jpgProgram Director Barbara Frey will give the inaugural presentation of this spring's speaker series, "Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory in Latin America and Southern Europe" Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 3:00 - 4:30 in 235 Nolte Hall (East Bank - TC Campus). The "Reframing Mass Violence" series will explore the particular developments and transnational entanglements of social memories in societies revisiting their legacies of dictatorship, state terror, and grave human rights violations in Latin America and Southern Europe. The series will allow distinguished experts from the countries of study to discuss their work and engage in dialogue with local scholars, students and the public on contemporary processes of re-interpretation and re-framing of the atrocities themselves and the transitional justice models that were adopted in their aftermaths. The series runs conjointly with a 1-credit course being offered at the University. All events, however, are free and open to the broader public.

In the series kickoff, Barbara Frey presents "Transitional Justice: Seeking Truth and Accountability for Systematic Human Rights Violations." Frey will examine countries emerging from repression, armed conflict, or mass atrocities to see how they have chosen to address the past as part of their transition into new forms of governance and citizenship. She will also discuss methods and mechanisms that have been developed by national or international actors, including public memorials, truth commissions, and national or international criminal prosecutions to assist societies to transition away from repressive pasts.
Two weeks later, on Thursday, February 6, (3:00 - 5:30 pm, St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis) the University welcomes director and filmmaker Pamela Yates and producer Paco Onís to screen their documentary Granito: How to Nail a Dictator. Granito tells the stories of five main characters whose destinies are joined together by Guatemala's turbulent past. The film focuses on the early 1980's when General Efraín Ríos Montt, in order to obtain and maintain power, implemented an intentional military attack, known as the "scorched earth" campaign, targeting the indigenous population of Guatemala. This campaign resulted in nearly 200,000 deaths, including 45,000 forced disappearances, and numerous displaced communities. Released in early 2011, Granito has received recognition internationally, with one critic stating that the film does not just document history, but that it "makes history." Attendees to this event will have an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with the filmmaker and producer following the screening as well as to view a 13-minute video of the Ríos Montt trial, titled The Verdict.
We hope to see you at these powerhouse events set to launch the series and we are certain that the entire series will be one you want to pay attention to. Look for future news about these upcoming segments:
• February 20: Alejandro Baer (U of M), "The Sociology of Collective Memory"
• March 6: Mariana Achugar (Carnegie Mellon), "Uruguayan Memories of Dictatorship"
• March 27: Glenda Mezarobba, UNDP's representative for the Brazilian Truth Commission Brasil
• April 10: Panel Discussion, "The Evolving Memory of Argentina's 'Disappeared'", with Emilio Crenzel (University of Buenos Aires) and Leigh Payne (Oxford / U of M)
• April 24: Ana Forcinito (U of M), "Culture/Art, Memory and Human Rights"
• Francisco Ferrandiz (CSIC, Madrid), "Spain's Memory Movement"
All events, with the exception of February 6 and April 10, will be held at Nolte 235 on Thursdays from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Organized by the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota

Friday, January 10, 2014

Former U of M student Shezanne "Shez" Cassim released from Dubai prison and home in Minnesota!

Untitled1111.pngShezanne "Shez" Cassim arrived home to Minnesota late Thursday (Jan 9) after spending the past nine months in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) prison for posting a satirical video on YouTube. Shez's family, friends and extended community worked diligently over the past several months calling attention to his case and asking for his release. Human Rights leaders at the University, including the Program's Director Barbara Frey and Co-directors of the Human Rights Center, David Weissbrodt and Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, held a press conference on December 10 (International Human Rights Day) calling on the government of the UAE to immediately release Shez. Today, we are thrilled for Shez, his family, friends, and other supporters worldwide as he is finally free!

Link to MPR piece on Shez's release.