Graduate externship to advance prevention of genocide
Experiential learning made possible thanks to donors
A new externship focused on genocide and mass atrocity prevention will put Binghamton University graduate students in the field to work alongside government and civil society organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
Owen C. Pell ’80, LLD ’11, says he established the Pell Graduate Externship in Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention to connect master’s-level students with officials from government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who are on the front lines of this important work.
Pell facilitated the establishment of the University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP), which was launched publicly in April 2017 with initial funding from an anonymous donor. He is also board chair of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.
“The field can never succeed without significant academic engagement,” Pell says.
“Academia brings a rigor that cannot be duplicated in the NGO world because of money and infrastructure. If we’re going to build this field, we need to bring professors and students into the mix.”
The externship is for Binghamton students who have completed at least two semesters of coursework toward a master’s degree in genocide and mass atrocity prevention (GMAP). Preference will be given to students with financial need who will be working at sites that cannot afford to provide direct financial support. Pell’s gift will help cover costs (such as travel and living expenses) associated with the student’s four- to six-month placement in the externship.
“A key to having financial support for the externships is that this will be a vital and required part of the curriculum,” I-GMAP Co-Director Nadia Rubaii says. “We do not want the selection of placements to be limited to only those organizations or countries that have resources to pay a student, nor can the program limit access to only those students who can afford to support themselves.”
She notes that through I-GMAP’s external advisory board members and international
partners, opportunities are available for students to work in post-conflict truth and
reconciliation and peace-building processes in Colombia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and with New York City-based NGOs that promote prevention through training, education and protection of rights.
“These externships can fuel needed research in this field and create out of Binghamton a growing class of students who will have a different take on how the world works,” Pell says. “We’re tilling the soil and planting seeds ... to build the academics of the future who will take the field forward.”
I-GMAP and the student experience
I-GMAP bridges the gap between scholars and practitioners, and leverages exper-
tise from a variety of disciplines, to more effectively prevent genocide and mass
atrocities. Like the institute, Binghamton’s master’s degree program in GMAP will stand out from programs offered elsewhere by moving beyond genocide studies to focus explicitly on prevention.
The new Bloom Family Summer Internship in Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention,
established by Susan R. Bloom ’80 and Steven H. Bloom ’78, LHD ’10, will support up to six undergraduate students minoring in GMAP in any given year. A GMAP graduate assistant will oversee the interns, who will be selected based on academic performance and an application essay. Preference will be given to students in the Presidential Scholars program. The first student selected will receive the internship support in honor of Dr. Harold Richter ’78.