Book Launch/Panel Discussion of Kerry Whigham's Resonant Violence: Affect, Memory and Activism in Post-Genocide Societies
I-GMAP hosted a panel discussion marking the launch of the new book by Kerry Whigham, Assistant Professor of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at I-GMAP, Resonant Violence: Affect, Memory and Activism in Post-Genocide Societies. Our two distinguished panelists and Prof. Whigham discussed the new book and took questions from the online audience.
Bridget Conley is associate professor of research and research director at the World Peace Foundation. Her specializations include mass atrocities, genocide, museums, and memorialization. Before joining the WPF, she served as research director for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, where she helped establish the Museum’s program on contemporary genocide. Over her ten years at the Museum, she led many of the Museum’s signature projects on genocide, including case study and issue analysis, educational programs, exhibitions, and its podcast series, Voices on Genocide Prevention, which she hosted from 2008-2011. She received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Binghamton University in 2001.
Ernesto Verdeja earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in political science (political theory) from the New School for Social Research in New York City. His research has focused on large-scale political violence (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity), transitional justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, and trials, truth commissions, apologies, and reparations. Other interests include contemporary political theory, particularly democratic and critical theory, the Frankfurt School, and feminism.
I-GMAP had an opportunity to learn from four Afghans in conversation as they deconstructed the dominant narratives surrounding the Taliban seizure of power and help us better appreciate the complexities of the current context. Among the topics discussed were issues related to education and other rights for women and girls, governing capacity and stability, and how to support organic development of a culture of human rights and the values of social justice. The discussion was framed within the context of evaluating atrocity risk factors and opportunities to promote resilience. Attendees had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session toward the end of the webinar.
To minimize potential harm to the families and colleagues of the participants, this event was not recorded or made available apart from the live webinar.
Metra Mehran is a young social entrepreneur with a particular interest in women’s empowerment and education. She is a Fulbright scholar, currently working with Women Scholarship Endowment Program to provide scholarships for women to pursue their education in STEM majors. She is also a fellow with the National Center for Dialogue and Peace, where she is focused on encouraging intergenerational exchange and uniting different points of views (urban and rural, young and old) for sustainable peace.
Shukria Dellawar, is Friends Committee on National Legislation's (FCNL) Legislative Associate for the Prevention of Violent Conflict and the Coordinator of the Prevention and Protection Working Group. She has served as a peace and security expert, human rights advocate, and a gender specialist. Over the course of the last decade, Shukria has worked in various capacities to maintain focus on peace-building efforts in Afghanistan. She is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy (CIP). She served as the Director of the Afghanistan Study group with CIP in 2012, working closely with policy-makers in Washington DC to address insecurity, corruption, and human rights violations.
Waheed Ahmad joins I-GMAP as the first Charles E. Scheidt Resident Practitioner for the period of November 2021 through April 2022. Early in his career, he worked in the Ministry of Interior and in a Directorate of Local Governance in Afghanistan. He came to Binghamton University as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016, and graduated with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in 2018. After graduation, he returned to Afghanistan and obtained a position in the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC). He started as a Director of National Intelligence Coordination (2018-2020) and from January 2020 until the Taliban forcibly took control in August 2021, he was the Senior Strategic Director/Advisor in the ONSC within President Ashraf Ghani’s administration.
I-GMAP Co-Directors Max Pensky and Nadia Rubaii talk with two investigative reporters on the atrocity frontlines: American reporter and New York Times best selling author Nick Turse, and acclaimed Philippine journalist, co-founder of the online news site Rappler, and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria A. Ressa.
In this wide ranging conversation, we spoke with Nick Turse and Maria Ressa about America's global covert operations in its ongoing "war on terror" and the ongoing violence against civilians in the Philippines' "war on drugs;" about the fallout and longer-term consequences of the end of the US military presence in Afghanistan and the risks and challenges of reporting on atrocities and corruption in Duterte's Philippines; about the role of investigative reporting in a transformed media landscape and the role(s) of social media as both resources for atrocity prevention as well as powerful drivers of atrocity risk. They also responded to questions from the remote audience.
The United States, along with Canada, the United Kingdom and the EU, have taken multiple steps in response to the ongoing genocide against the Uyghur minority in China's Xinjiang Province. In addition to sanctions, such as targeted travel bans and asset freezes, the US State Department has classified China's treatment of the Uyghurs as a genocide. Numerous US executive and legislative efforts aim to identify and ban Chinese exports produced with Uyghur forced labor.
How effective and well-coordinated is the US's developing policy and legislative response to the Uyghur genocide? What prospects does the American response have to change China's calculations regarding their Xinjiang policies? What other possible coordinated executive or legislative responses might be promising? What opportunities exist for state-civil society collaboration for a coordinated response to the Uyghur genocide?
In this webinar, we asked our distinguished guests to discuss these questions.
Rushan Abbas is the founder and executive director of Campaign for Uyghurs. She has been an activist since her days at university in East Turkistan, where she was a co-leaders of the pro-democracy protests. Since coming to the United States, she has been a tireless advocate for Uyghur rights. In 2017, she established the Campaign for Uyghurs. CFU was founded to advocate for the human rights and democratic freedoms of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples oppressed by the Chinese regime. In 2018, her own sister was abducted by the Chinese regime and illegally sentenced to prison in retaliation for Ms. Abbas’s activism. Today, Ms. Abbas continues to advocate for her release and the freedom of millions of other Uyghurs, and often speaks for universities and think tanks. She frequently briefs and advises on policy and legislative response, including support for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, last year’s Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, and greater transparency for the Sister Cities program with links to China. She works frequently with the State Department to engage with international civic society, and meets with international government leaders. Ms. Abbas resides in Virginia.
Brett Hansen has been a foreign service officer at the State Department since 2013. He currently serves at U.S. Embassy Beijing where he is a political officer covering PRC government and leadership issues, as well as the situations in Xinjiang and Tibet. Brett has previously served as a political officer in Hanoi, Vietnam (2013-2015) and a consular officer in Muscat, Oman (2016-2018). Prior to joining the State Department, Brett worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2010-2013 where he covered a wide array of development issues, including Yemen, Burma, and Timor-Leste. Brett received his Master’s degree in Middle East History from University of Utah and his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Denison University. Brett is from Charleston, West Virginia.
Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab is a human rights advocate, author and co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. Dr. Ochab works on the topic of genocide, with a specific focus on the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities around the world, with main projects including the Daesh genocide in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram atrocities in West Africa, the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and of the Uyghurs in China. Dr. Ochab has written over 30 reports for the UN (including Universal Periodic Review reports) and has made oral and written submissions at the Human Rights Council, the UN Forum on Minority Issues, PACE and other international and regional fora. Dr. Ochab authored the initiative and proposal to establish the UN International Day Commemorating Victims and Survivors of Religious Persecution. The initiative has led to the establishment of the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief on August 22.
Sophie Richardson serves as the China Director at Human Rights Watch. She has overseen the organization’s research and advocacy on China since 2006, and has published extensively on human rights and political reform in the country and across Southeast Asia. She has testified to the Canadian Parliament, European Parliament, and the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Dr. Richardson is the author of China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Columbia University Press, Dec. 2009), an in-depth examination of China's foreign policy since 1954's Geneva Conference, including rare interviews with Chinese policy makers.
Nury Turkel is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. He specializes in national security, foreign policy, digital authoritarianism, and issues of forced labor and supply chain risk. Turkel’s expertise also includes global justice enforcement, human rights and religious freedom in China, and the prevention of atrocities including genocide.
Hosted in collaboration with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, will host a webinar on the current atrocities occurring in Ethiopia's Tigray Region. Join us on Thursday, May 13th at 10:00AM (EDT) for a first-hand account of the atrocities on the ground and to listen to our distinguished panelists' assessment of the crisis.
Alex de Waal is executive director of the World Peace Foundation, Research Professor at the Fletcher School of Global Affairs, Tufts University, and Professorial Fellow at the London School of Economics. He has worked on the Horn of Africa and on humanitarian issues since the 1980s as a researcher and practitioner. He initiated the UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa and was director of the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative and was a senior advisor to the African Union High Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan. De Waal’s recent books include: The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, War and the Business of Power (Polity 2015), Mass Starvation: The history and future of famine (Polity 2018), and New Pandemics, Old Politics: 200 years of the war on disease and its alternatives (Polity 2021).
Michelle D. Gavin is senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has over twenty years of experience in international affairs in government and non-profit roles. She was formerly the managing director of The Africa Center, a multidisciplinary institution dedicated to increasing understanding of contemporary Africa. From 2011 to 2014 she was the United States ambassador to Botswana, and served concurrently as the United States representative to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Gavin received an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar, and earned her BA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she was a Truman scholar. She serves on the board of directors of Points of Light, the Africa-America Institute, and is a member of the Harvard AIDS Initiative’s international advisory board.
Jeff Sizemore is the Senior Advisor on Atrocity Prevention in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the United States Department of State, leading and coordinating the bureau’s genocide and atrocity prevention work. He is a retired naval officer with over 20 years of military service. He’s a graduate of the George Washington University and holds a master’s degree in National Security Policy from the Naval War College.
Emily Rose serves as a Policy Officer in the State Department's Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor (DRL) where she currently focuses on the Horn of Africa. Emily has worked at the Department of State for ten years. Prior to working in DRL she held positions in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs and the Bureau of Budget and Planning. She worked in non-profit before beginning her career at the Department of State. Emily holds a Master of International Relations from Syracuse University and an undergraduate degree from McGill University.
Judith Abitan, Executive Director, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and
Garnett Genuis, Member of Parliament, Canada
Hosted in collaboration with the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights
Friday, April 16, 2021
In many parts of the world, particularly throughout the Americas, indigenous peoples have been and continue to be victims of targeted mass atrocity violence. The violence is not limited to colonial era genocides, forced displacements, religious conversions or so-called re-education programs. It has continued in the form of destruction and contamination of lands and waters in the name of economic development, as well as killings and disappearances of indigenous rights defenders.
Most recently it has manifested in disproportionate infection and death rates as part of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nowhere is the persistent attack on indigenous rights and the need for more effective atrocity prevention work more apparent than in Brazil.
Join us in a conversation with four leading atrocity prevention actors from different spheres of Brazilian society who are working to protect indigenous peoples. This event is intentionally scheduled to occur just before the start of the 2021 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
English - Portuguese
Tónico Benites (Guarani-Kaiowá) is an indigenous rights leader, anthropologist and human rights defender from Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. He has developed extensive research and mapping exposing the patterns of attack perpetrated against indigenous communities in Brazil. He is a leading spokesman for the Guarani and Kaiowá peoples, and serves as a translator, consultant and expert in federal lawsuits. He holds a Masters and PhD in Social Anthropology; his post-doctoral research project involved coordination of “A dialogue between the memory of indigenous peoples and the national historical heritage.”
Marcia Wayna Kambeba (Omágua / Kambeba) is a poet, writer, composer, photographer, activist and international speaker on indigenous and environmental issues, and the first indigenous Ombudswoman in Belem do Para, Brazil. She is the author of 4 books of poems about the Amazon and indigenous and environmental issues. She is a trained Geographer with a master's degree in Cultural Geography and a Specialization in Environmental Education.
Fernanda Bragato is a Full Professor of Law Unisinos Law School (Brazil). Her research is at the intersection of human rights theory, decolonial thinking, and indigenous rights, with an emphasis on indigenous land rights and conflicts in Brazil in the context of risk for atrocities. She holds a Master and PhD in Law, and as held been a visiting scholar at Birkbeck College (University of London) and Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Cardozo Law School.
Júlio José Araújo, Jr. is a former Federal Judge and current Federal Prosecutor at in the State of Rio de Janeiro. He is Coordinator of the working group on Prevention of Atrocities against Indigenous Peoples in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the working group on Traditional Peoples and Communities within the National Council of the Public Ministry. He is a PhD student in Public Law at Rio de Janeiro State University and author of "Indigenous land rights: an intercultural interpretation.”
Nadia Rubaii, co-director of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP), Binghamton University
Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, director of the Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic at Cardozo Law
Join us as we celebrate the work of women of color in atrocity prevention and their visions for transformation. We will be joined by Francia Marquez, an internationally recognized Afro-Colombian environmental and racial justice leader and Miranda Sheffield, a community scholar and organizer from Pomona, California deeply rooted in Black feminist school of thought. They will share with us their justice work rooted in ancestral knowledge, community and electoral politics, and their strategies and vision for atrocity prevention both locally and transnationally.
Francia Marquez is a grassroots activist internationally recognized for her work on environmental and racial justice. The winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018, and a formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez organized the women of La Toma and stopped illegal gold mining on their ancestral land. She exerted steady pressure on the Colombian government and spearheaded a 10-day, 350-mile march of 80 women to the nation’s capital, resulting in the removal of all illegal miners and equipment from her community. Marquez recently announced that she will be running for president of Colombia.
Miranda Sheffield is a mother, community scholar, and a community organizer. Her principles and practices are deeply rooted in Black feminist school of thought. She is active in the community as a member of Police Oversight Starts Today (POST) and Pomona United for Stabilized Housing (PUSH). Sheffield obtained her BA in Sociology from Cal State LA and a Master’s in Human Rights Law from SOAS University in London, in which she explored the historical legacy of maroons/fugitive slaves. Her community safety record includes her work as a case manager for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and drafting a Federal policy briefing for more evidence-based mentorship programs for foster youth while working in Nancy Pelosi’s office. Most recently she ran for Pomona District 6 City Council under "the peoples candidate" platform.
Jenny Escobar, Charles E Scheidt postdoctoral fellow in Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, Binghamton University
Nadia Rubaii, co-director, Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP), professor, Public Administration, Binghamton University
The Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) proudly presents a week of visiting practitioners from the Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF). PCFF is a joint Israeli-Palestinian nonprofit organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member to the ongoing conflict. The work of PCFF is grounded in an understanding that the process of reconciliation between nations is a prerequisite to achieving a sustainable peace.
Stories of Two Brothers
Restorative Justice (University Event)
Stories of Two Fathers
Stories of Two Mothers
Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the newly appointed United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, joins us for a conversation about her long career in atrocity prevention and her vision for the Office of the Special Adviser during her mandate.
Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya is the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Ms. Nderitu is a recognized voice in the field of peacebuilding and violence prevention, having led as mediator and senior adviser in reconciliation processes among communities in Kenya, as well as in other African settings. She served as Commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in Kenya, as well as Founding Member and co-Chair of the Uwiano Platform for Peace, a prevention agency linking early warning to early response. She is also the founder of Community Voices for Peace and Pluralism, a network of African women professionals preventing, transforming and solving violent, ethnic, racial and religious conflicts worldwide.
Ms. Nderitu’s national experience includes her tenure as Director of the Education for Social Justice programme at Fahamu, and as Head of the Human Rights Education and Capacity-Building Programme for the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and its predecessor, the Standing Committee on Human Rights. Previously, she was Researcher and Administrator of the Kenya Prisons Service within the Ministry of Home Affairs. She is a member of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination, as well as the African Union Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (Fem-Wise), and the Women Waging Peace Network.
Ms. Nderitu holds a master’s degree in armed conflict and peace studies and a Bachelor of Arts, Literature and Philosophy from the University of Nairobi. She is a Transitional Justice Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa. Widely published, she is the recipient of awards recognizing her commitment to peaceful conflict resolution throughout Africa and her innovative approach to mediation.
Prioritizing Children in Atrocity Prevention: Prevention Approaches in the Recruitment and Use of Children in Armed Conflict
In Collaboration with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security
Preventing the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups, criminal networks and gangs, and reintegrating former child soldiers in the aftermath of armed conflict, are profound atrocity prevention challenges. In conflicts around the globe, children are used in a variety of roles from combatants, in support functions, as sexual slaves, or as intelligence gatherers and as a result face a devastating range of physical, psychological, and social vulnerabilities. Successful reintegration of children after such experiences is challenging and exacerbated by the instability of post-conflict and economic insecurity. This significantly contributes, in turn, to a heightened risk of further cycles of violence and the recurrence of atrocity crimes. Finding better ways to protect children from recruitment and use and to reintegrate those who have previously been recruited should be prioritized for achieving more peaceful societies.
What prevention approaches hold most promise for reducing the recruitment and use of children as soldiers? What do these prevention efforts in the context of armed forces and armed groups have in common with parallel efforts in the context of criminal networks and gangs? How can lessons learned from interstate or intrastate armed conflict inform efforts to reduce recruitment into organized criminal networks, and vice versa?
In this webinar, we are joined by our colleagues from the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security, as well as experts in the recruitment prevention and child protection fields both in the context of armed conflict and for criminal networks and gangs. Join us for a conversation on what they have learned through their experiences and their work.
- Steven Dudley is an investigative journalist, policy analyst and author. He is co-founder and co-director of InSight Crime, a think tank focused on organized crime in the Americas. He is the author of MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang (2019).
- Achaleke Christian Leke is a civil society peacebuilding activist with special expertise in youth issues. He is National Coordinator of Local Youth Corner Cameroon.
- Cesar Rincon is a Colombian lawyer with 30 years of experience in criminal investigation, focusing on criminal organizations, human rights violations and government corruption. His experience includes 11 years as team coordinator at the United Nations International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
- Dr. Shelly Whitman is the executive director of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security (Canada).
Part I: The United States and Global Atrocity Prevention in the Biden-Harris Administration: What to Expect, What to Hope For?
In Part I of our two-part series, we ask our guests to help us understand what we may expect, and what we could hope for, as the Biden-Harris administration responds to increased global atrocity risks and damaged international relationships. We will look specifically at the global challenges facing the new administration, and ways forward in reconstructing the country's global atrocity prevention mechanisms.
- Beth Van Schaack, Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Stanford Law School. Former Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. State Department
- Lawrence Woocher, Research Director for the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Kate Ferguson, Co-Executive Director and Head of Research and Policy, Protection Approaches, UK.
- Jeffrey Sizemore, former Atrocity Prevention Lead at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. State Department
In Part II, we focus on prospects for effective responses to the legacies of mass atrocities within the United States itself, with particular attention to the ongoing violence experienced by Black and Indigenous peoples due to structural factors as well as the rise of white supremacist violence.
Wednesday January 27, 3:00 - 5:00PM EST
- Mark Charles, public speaker, consultant, co-auther of Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery, and 2020 independent candidate for US President.
- Charles L. Chavis, Jr, assistant professor of Conflict Resolution and History and Director for the John Mithell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race at George Mason University, and national co-chair for the United States Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Movement.
- Shannon Foley Martinez, former white supremacist with our two decades of experience working to de-radicalize people who are still in the movement and to build resiliency at the individual and community level.
Moderator: Nadia Rubaii, Professor of Public Administration and Co-Director, I-GMAP
On December 16, 2020, we held an open coversation with four distinguished experts on the Final Accord and transitional justice in Colombia to help us understand the causes of ongoing atrocity violence in the country, and to help identify possible ways forward.
On October 14, 2020, we held our first webinar to discuss the US Southern Border as an Atrocity Prevention Site. Over 125 participants joined the session, what a great start to our series!