August 15, 2022: Over the past two weeks, the Zoryan Institute has had the privilege of bringing together a dedicated and inspiring group of 13 students and 16 faculty members from around the globe to study select cases of genocide and important themes pertaining to human rights and genocide studies in its 20th annual Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP).
This year’s program, hosted virtually over Zoom for the second year in a row, brought in the GHRUP’s most diverse cohort of students to date, in terms of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds, and the geographical location from which students were joining the lectures. The diversity of student voices, together with their engaged participation, were a great strength of the program, enriching mutual learning opportunities, the interdisciplinary and comparative nature of the program, and bringing a range of perspectives to the dialogue that took place over the two weeks.
At the end of an intensive two weeks of learning, students prepare a presentation for the class, combining their own research interests with key themes, concepts, and ideas that were introduced by the faculty and their peers throughout the course. The diversity of students’ interests and backgrounds was reflected in the range of topics that were covered in these final presentations, including the exploration of identity and education as factors contributing to genocide and other atrocities, legal dilemmas, memory, commemoration, and recognition, and the range of perpetrators in genocidal processes. Specific presentation topics included an analysis of lieux de mémoire in the Armenian case, forced sterilization and the role of the medical profession in the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the possibility of prosecuting those who deny genocide under criminal law, and intersections between security management and the demonization of Fulani identity in Nigeria.
Wrapping up this year’s program was the Graduation Ceremony, where students’ achievements were celebrated, accompanied by remarks from GHRUP Course Director, Prof. Joyce Apsel, Zoryan Institute Deputy Executive Director, Megan Reid, program faculty, supporters and donors of the Zoryan Institute, and students. Students and faculty alike shared the immense impacts the program had on them, and how it will influence their work going forward: