By Sara Querques
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, a month where we remember the anniversaries of past genocides and raise awareness towards the prevention of future atrocities. Earlier this month, the Rutgers-Newark Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights hosted its inaugural two-day conference, Genocide: Pathways and Passageways, on April 3rd and 4th.
For two days, international scholars on the many different aspects of the study of genocide got together for a “meeting of the minds,” discussing every facet of genocide studies, learning from one another, and emphasizing the importance of continued critical genocide studies. From graduate students to world-renowned professors and authors, the event had over 30 participants; an extremely positive turnout and overall successful inaugural conference.
The theme of the conference, “Pathways and Passages,” focused on exploring the different routes that lead to genocide, the different processes and occurrences that take place during genocide, and the aftermath of and different courses that are taken after genocide.
As stated on the CGHR’s website, a passage is “the action of going or moving onward, across, or past; movement from one place or point to another, or over or through a space or medium; transit.”
The CGHR, whose mission statement is “to enhance our understanding of and find solutions to the most pressing 21st century challenges related to peace and conflict,” plans to hold this event every year going forward.
Co-organizer Professor Alexander Hinton said of the conference, “It went very well, I think at the end everyone was very happy; we tried to include both scholarship and the arts, starting with a short story and ending with a poetry reading, which I think was very meaningful… with genocide, there are all sorts of things that are sort of difficult to understand, and the CGHR in general tries to focus on those gaps, or as we think of it, ‘keeping an eye on the opaque,’ and what’s normally out of sight, and I think the conference very much succeeded.”
Co-organizer Laura Cohen, a P.h.D. Student from the Division of Global Affairs also stated, “the opportunity to help create this inaugural event was a great honor as I had the chance to connect with several scholars whose work I have followed for many years but had not had the chance to meet personally; there were a great many insights I took away from the event that directly relate to my ongoing research.”