International Educator - January/February 2013 - 23
During Margolin’s seventh grade year, her camp counselor told her about the genocide occurring in Darfur, Sudan. “I was appalled that a “modern day world” could sit idly by and watch as genocide was happening before our very eyes,” she says. “I decided to take action, and my efforts reflected my family’s conversations and focused on raising awareness about the victims and targets of genocide.” Margolin chose to attend Clark because of the concentration in Holocaust and genocide studies. “While I chose this concentration to continue my activism efforts, my education has proved to be so much more,” she says. “I now see that it is essential to acquire deeper knowledge about genocide in order to substantiate anti-genocidal efforts, and believe that effective activism must start with thorough education.” While the Strassler Center is scholarly center that doesn’t do work “on the ground” to stop genocide, it does “prepare students to work in those settings,” says Rein. One example is Tibi Galis, executive director of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. Galis is still pursuing his PhD from Strassler while he heads the organization. The Institute aims to “create a core of government officials who will be in place to perhaps intervene, prevent, provide humanitarian assistance,” according to Rein. Its mission is “building a worldwide network of leaders with the professional tools and the personal commitment to prevent genocide” and it is the first organization of its kind in the world.
Early Warning Signs of Genocide
Fighting Genocide Through Art
At 36, Jean de Dieu has a degree in English African culture and enrolled this past summer in the Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT) program at Vermont’s SIT Graduate Institute. A native of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he embarked on his graduate studies to strengthen a radio soap opera he created with Radio La Benevolencija Humanitarian Tools Foundation (La Benevolencija), a Dutch NGO that broadcasts radio soaps, discussions, and education programs on how to deal with the societal and political pressures that can lead to mass violence and genocide. Those living in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo [DR Congo] remain victims of mass killings, torture, and rape at the hands of armed groups operating in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Kasai-Oriental. The conflict has led to an estimated 5.4 million civilian deaths since 1996. Also in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, the rebel Forces Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda have burned
ARBARA HARFF , professor emerita of the U.S. Naval Academy, developed a methodology to determine which regions in the world are at risk for genocide to occur. In 1994 Vice President Gore put together a panel of experts (then known as the State Failure Task Force—now the Political Instability Task Force) to improve forecasting of revolutionary and ethnic war, political instability, and “geno/politicides.” “I was the token genocide scholar because I was one of the very few quantitative people in my field and I had developed a dataset identifying 46 cases of genocide and politicide since WWII,” says Harff. “I coined the term “politicide” to describe mass slaughters that targeted political and class victims, as in Cambodia. This systematic effort remains the only one currently in use, for example used by the U.S. government and, likely, by Sweden and Switzerland, and possibly the Netherlands.” In the early 2000s, Harff ran a program for the U.S. government tracking high-risk countries identified using the aforementioned model. “I tracked 70 indicators on a daily basis,” she explains. “This was a dynamic early warning model that tried to close the gap between the likelihood of genocide and its onset. A very abridged version of early warning indicators is used by the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, formerly Juan Mendez and later Francis Deng.” Harff’s genocide risk assessment research has been published and is incorporated in textbooks such as Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (2011). Regarding the prevention of genocide, Harff says that “risk assessment is the first step to getting policymakers’ attention—it has to be better than educated guesswork” and that “these days systematic quantitative analysis is a must because it is widely used in the policy as well as in intelligence communities.” Risk assessments can result in action if they “are accompanied by suggestions of what to do, when, and in what situations,” says Harff. “Reasonable (cost-effective measures) response scenarios that promise a modicum of success are an essential ingredient to prevent escalation to genocide. I have written extensively on how early warning signals can be used to halt escalation, for example stopping hate propaganda, checking arms flows to rebel groups, discontinuing aid to suspect governments, or conversely providing incentives.” Harff cofounded the Genocide Prevention Advisory Network (GPAnet. org) with Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer. Each year she prepares an updated global risk assessment of countries at risk of geno/politicide, based on the early warning methodology she developed, that is published on the GPAnet.org website. –Elaina Loveland
J A N + F E B . 13 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR
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