Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights

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The Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR) is a non-profit organization based at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.[1] The Center seeks to enhance the understanding of genocide, political violence, and protracted conflict and related mechanisms for their prevention and resolution. With an interdisciplinary faculty of over 40 distinguished scholars from all three Rutgers campuses, and support from an internationally renowned advisory board and network of affiliated scholars/ professionals the Center has a broad base of partnerships across the United States and the globe.[2] CGHR is led by founder and Director Alexander Hinton;[3] Associate Director Nela Navarro;[4] and Director of Global Relations Stephen Bronner.

Mission Statement[edit]

"Facing tomorrow's challenges today", CGHR seeks to enhance our understanding of and find solutions to the most pressing 21st century challenges. To this end, the Center promotes cutting-edge research and scholarship on related issues such as genocide, conflict resolution, environmental change, sustainable development, transitional justice, and human rights abuses.


UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention[edit]

Genocide is one of the most vexing global challenges we face. The 20th century, haunted by the Holocaust, Rwandan Genocide, Cambodian Genocide, Armenian Genocide, and other episodes of mass violence, has been referred to as “the century of genocide” Already in the 21st century, genocide has struck in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria and genocide alerts are issued with alarming frequency.

What can be done? While some diplomatic, governmental, and non-governmental initiatives have been recently undertaken to work on genocide prevention, there has less academic focus on this issue. CGHR's UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention seeks fill this gap by undertaking research, scholarship, education, and outreach on this topic. In doing so, it combines a rigorous academic approach with an effort to seek engagement between scholars and practitioners.

The UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention builds on a tradition of genocide studies at Rutgers. Raphael Lemkin, the scholar/activist who coined the term genocide and worked tirelessly for its criminalization in international law, taught at Rutgers-Newark in the 1950s, creating a tradition of interest in genocide, conflict resolution. Other Rutgers professors subsequently undertook research and advocacy on genocide and genocide prevention. And, in 2007, Rutgers established the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. In partnership with UNESCO, the UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention, launched in 2013, builds upon this academic tradition at Rutgers of engaged scholarship and grappling with genocide.

Focal Areas: Spring 2013: Gender (pilot); Fall 2013: Global Justice; 2014: Pathways and Passages

UNESCO Chair Executive Committee

  • Alexander Hinton, Chair
  • Stephen Eric Bronner, Executive Committee Member
  • Nela Navarro, Executive Committee Member

Rutgers Partners

  • Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs, New Brunswick
  • Division of Global Affairs, Newark

[5] [6] [7]

Argentina Trial Monitor[edit]

On November 28, 2012, the most significant trial in Argentinian history commenced. Centered on crimes committed at the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) from 1976 to 1983, a period during which perhaps 30,000 people were killed in Argentina, the trial will involve 61 defendants and 800 victims. It will be the largest trial to date in Argentina, one that may have to be moved to a 1000 seat auditorium at the University of Buenos Aires School of Law. Despite the importance of this and other trials in Argentina that have been held since the Argentine Supreme Court declared the impunity laws and amnesties unconstitutional in 2005, there is little English-language information about the trials taking place in Argentina. The Argentina Trial Monitor (ATM) project seeks to address this situation.

The Argentina Trial Monitor will be jointly run by the Center for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) in Argentina and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University in the United States, with the assistance of some Argentine human rights organizations such as Asociación de Ex Detenidos Desaparecidos and Comisión de Familiares de Campo de Mayo and affiliated Rutgers partners, including the Translation and Interpreting Program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

As part of its on-going research on the Argentina trials, the UNTREF Center will produce Spanish-language background briefs and weekly synopses of the ESMA trials. CGHR, in turn, will translate the briefs and post them on the English-language ATM website. In addition, CGHR will work increase awareness about the trials among English-language scholars and the media. To this end, it will also produce additional policy briefs and trial-related materials. In addition to on-going coverage of the ESMA trial, the ATM project will also seek to compile a resource database on past trials. As such, it will become the English-language website on the trials in Argentina. More broadly, the Argentina Trial Monitor will increase our awareness and understanding of the important trials taking place in Argentina, ones that have contributed greatly to the search for truth and justice in the aftermath of mass violence. [8]


With a wide range of international partners around the world in countries from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, England, Georgia, France, Kenya, Liberia, Norway, Rwanda, Spain, and Ukraine as well as a transnational partnership, CGHR focuses its programs across the world building cooperation through international relationships.


The center has partnerships with local partners such as New York Theological Seminary, The Auschwitz Institute, Build on Respect, Center for Peace Justice and Reconciliation at Bergen Community College, Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, American Mideast Leadership Network, The Darfur Rehabilitation Project (Newark, NJ), Genocide Watch (Washington DC), the Institute for the Study of Genocide (John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York), and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education among others. In addition, the CGHR works with various Rutgers based partners across the three campuses in Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark.


In addition to its Global Education Program, CGHR engages a number of other activities related to education, including graduate studies (with partner programs) and internships. The Center also includes student associates and hosts Visiting Scholars and Senior Research Fellows, who work on specific CGHR projects and programs. In addition, CGHR's first partner, the Documentation Center of Cambodia(DC-Cam), has a Public Information Room in the CGHR suite and co-sponsors a wide ranges of activities, including lectures, speakers series, exhibitions, and a large archive of microfilm, photographs, and digital films related to the Cambodian genocide.

Graduate Studies[edit]

CGHR, in partnership with Rutgers-Newark's Division of Global Affairs, whose doctoral program was recently ranked fifth in the country in international affairs and development, offers a Master of Science in Global Affairs (M.S.) degree with a concentration in Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. It is also possible to focus on genocide and human rights issues while completing a Ph.D. in the Division of Global Affairs. Additionally, students interested in peace and conflict can pursue an M.A. degree in Peace and Conflict Studies in Rutgers-Newark's Department of Sociology and Anthropology, another key CGHR partner.


CGHR offers semester long and summer internships for highly motivated and independent undergraduate and graduate students. These internships may encompass a range of activities, ranging from working on one of our research initiatives, such as the Cambodia Genocide Memory Project, to assisting in the writing of proposals and reports.

Visiting Scholars Program[edit]

The Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights hosts a visiting scholars program for researchers working on a project related to global challenges, particularly those related to peace and conflict. Visiting scholars, who must independently procure funding to support their stay, are provided with an affiliation, office space, and library/internet access and are welcome to participate in CGHR events and activities. [9]

Bearing Witness[edit]

Recognizing that education is critical to promoting and sustaining civic society, CGHR has developed a curriculum that centers on the relationship between human rights and genocide in new ways. Because genocide constitutes the extreme end of human rights violations, it throws human rights issues into stark relief and thereby provides the basis for the development of a transformative curriculum in the humanities. This transformative approach to learning enables educators to teach their students to understand not just genocide and human rights concepts and issues, but also how they relate both to their own lives and to ongoing challenges faced by victims of human rights abuses around the world today.

Documentation Center of Cambodia Public Information Room (DC-Cam)[edit]

Since its inception in 1995, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) has been at the forefront of documenting the myriad atrocities of the Khmer Rouge era. Focusing on memory and justice, DC-Cam seeks to help Cambodians discover the truths upon which a genuine national reconciliation depends. As a major source of information about Cambodia’s genocide for academics, lawyers, journalists and the general public in Cambodia and abroad, DC-Cam is respected around the world and supported by sponsors, scholars and experts in the USA, Europe, Asia and Canada.

DC-Cam’s Public Information Room at Rutgers University was set up in 2005 in order to collect and disseminate information on Khmer Rouge history, with a particular emphasis on assisting the Cambodian North American community. This office also:

  • Serves as a reciprocal exchange between DC-Cam and Rutgers students and faculty
  • Facilitates internships/externships at DC-Cam for Rutgers students
  • Presents research and training opportunities for Rutgers students and faculty
  • Provides a venue for exhibitions, conferences, and seminars
  • Locates information for and provide translations to personnel from the UN, members of the legal community, scholars, and others interested in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

DC-Cam has transferred approximately 550 reels of microfilm to establish a Cambodia Collection at Rutgers-Newark's John Cotton Dana Library enabling researchers interested in the Khmer Rouge history to have open access to the primary Khmer Rouge documentary materials. We have also launched various exhibitions, including “Night of the Khmer Rouge,” “The Khmer Rouge Then and Now: A Photographic Exhibition,” and "Genocide: Who Are the Senior Leaders to be Judged?" DC-Cam has also co-hosted conferences at Rutgers-Newark on the legal and other issues of the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Many of DC-Cam publications are accessible to Rutgers faculty, staff and students. They include:

  • A History of Democratic Kampuchea: 1975-1979
  • Khmer Rouge Division 703: From Victory to Self-Destruction
  • Magazine Searching for the Truth (2000-2006)
  • Night of the Khmer Rouge: Genocide and Justice in Cambodia
  • Oukoubah
  • Reconciliation in Cambodia
  • Seven Candidates for Prosecution
  • Still Lives: Photographs from the Cambodian Genocide
  • The Chain of Terror
  • The Cham Rebellion
  • Victims and Perpetrators

Khmer Translations include:

  • Cambodian History
  • Journey into Light
  • The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Voice from S-21
  • When the War Was Over


Reflections Gallery[edit]

The Reflections Gallery was established in the Spring of 2011 by CGHR as a public gallery devoted to educating viewers about the origins, dynamics, aftermaths, prevention, and resolution of genocide, mass violence, and protracted conflict. The project is part of the CGHR’s “Art of Hope” project and a collaboration with CGHR partners the Museum of Human Rights, Freedom and Tolerance, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), and Rutgers-Newark's Division of Global Affairs.


CGHR currently has eight research clusters/programs on topics ranging from genocide to war and global understanding. In addition, CGHR has a number of research projects that focus on specific issues within and across these clusters, such as the U.S.-MidEast Dialogue Project, the Forgotten Genocides Project, and the Global Dialogue Initiative.[11]

Conflict Resolution[edit]

Since the end of the Cold War, the world has seen numerous conflicts break out, ranging from genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur to war in Afghanistan and Iraq to civil unrest in places like Afghanistan, Burma, Kenya, Iraq, Liberia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Sudan. Geopolitics, natural resources, environmental change, the global arms trade, and other factors have fueled such conflicts even as they have been prolonged by the normalization of armed conflict as well as mutual mistrust and antipathy. Such prolong conflict poses a fundamental challenge to world stability: how can such conflicts be ended both in terms of short-term ceasefires and longer term peacebuilding efforts. [12]

CGHR’s Conflict Resolution Program seeks to promote understanding of the origin of prolonged conflict and the mechanisms, processes, and practices that may ameliorate or transform such conflicts. These conflict resolution mechanisms may include non-violent civil resistance, dialogue, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, disarmament, reintegration, redress, institution building, and social, transitional, and restorative justice. Among other initiatives, the Conflict Resolution Program currently includes projects on Civil Resistance, Reforming Globalization and Promoting Rights, U.S-Mideast Dialogue Project, U.S.-Iran Dialogue Project, Global Dialogue Initiative, and Civic Diplomacy and Human Rights.


There is presently a growing awareness of how environmental issues, ranging from water and resource availability, food security, climate change, and the spread of diseases, may increase the likelihood of violent conflicts. Armed conflicts, in turn, are often a threat to the environment. CGHR’s Program on Environment, Sustainable Development, and Peacebuilding seeks to contribute to our understanding of the impact of such environmental factors on the potential outbreak of violent conflicts or their protraction. To accomplish this goal, the Environment Program fosters collaboration among scholars, practitioners and policymakers to increase knowledge on the topic, provides a forum to share lessons learned, promotes awareness among the young generations for sustainable peace, and assists in strengthening local capacities for cooperation. During its initial cycle from 2010-2013, the Program is organizing lectures and symposia, disseminating knowledge via publications, and creating strategic alliances with international organizations, university institutes and departments, civil society, and national and local governments. Among its first efforts in this regard was a series of talks and a conference on Hurricane Katrina. In the Fall of 2011 the program hosted a series of film screenings and a related keynote lecture on “Oil, Technology, and Environment: Collapse and Rehabilitation." [13]


Gender and violence are bound up in many ways, ranging from codes of masculinity and feminity in war to the different roles that gendered agents play in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. CGHR's research cluster explore these and other ways in which peace and conflict are mediated by gender, with a particular focus on women. The program builds upon CGHR's long-standing interest in gender issues and was formally launched in the Fall of 2011 with a speaker series on gender and human rights and an event marking the launch of the PBS mini-series on "Women, War, and Peace." Currently, the program is also exploring issues of bodily violence, ranging from rape to sexual trafficking, and has recently launched a project on Women, War, and the Military. [14]


If the 20th century, which as been called “the century of genocide,” ended with the horrors of Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo, genocidal violence has continued unabated into the new millennium, as illustrated by Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and, perhaps, Iraq. Such genocidal violence constitutes one of the most pressing challenges the world faces and raises a number of related questions: How does genocide come to take place? How is it patterned? What motivates people to participate in such violence? How is genocide represented, coped with, and remembered? How might it be prevented or stopped?

CGHR’s Genocide Program seeks to answer such questions by: (a) supporting cutting-edge research and scholarship that enhances our understanding of genocide, (b) promoting dialogue between academics, practitioners, and activists from around the world working on this topic, (c) creating educational initiatives and opportunities for the next generation, and (d) offering university and community programming that supports the aforementioned goals. The Genocide Studies and Prevention Program includes a wide range of projects and initiatives, ranging from case-specific initiatives, such as the Cambodian Genocide Memory Project and the Armenian Genocide Project, to research clusters on Forgotten Genocides, Critical Genocide Studies, and Genocide Prevention. CGHR also hosts a Rutgers University Press book series, “Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights,” on these issues and the Reflections gallery on the first floor of Engelhard Hall.

Our Genocide Program honors the memory of Raphael Lemkin, the scholar/activist who coined the term genocide and worked tirelessly for its criminalization in international law, an effort that was critical to the passage of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Lemkin taught at Rutgers-Newark in the 1950s, creating a tradition of interest in grappling with global challenges at the university. Accordingly, the Program has launched the Raphael Lemkin Project, which includes a related bibliography and digital interviews with people who knew Lemkin. [15] [16]

Global Education[edit]

Recognizing that education is critical to promoting and sustaining civic society, CGHR’s Global Education Program seek to enhance and further the development of the field of peace education and education for sustainable development, particularly in recognition of the critical need to address issues of human rights, social justice and sustainable development. The Global Education Program will provide research, professional development, curriculum design, pedagogical resources and outreach. The PEC will conduct collaborative research and curricular initiatives with the support of both local and global educational partners. Current projects include Bearing Witness: The Genocide and Human Rights Literacy Initiative, Education Under Attack, and Education for Sustainable Development. [17]

Global Understanding[edit]

Cross-cultural misunderstanding has caused numerous problems throughout the ages. The ancient Greeks, for example, referred to foreigners using the term barbaros since their speech sounded like an unintelligible murmuring of “bar bar bar.” This is the root of the word barbarian, a word used to characterize those who seem strange, savage, and uncivilized. Such ethnocentrism has helped to fuel war, interfered with peace, and impeded work on issues of shared importance. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, in which people, ideas, capital, and information flow faster and faster across national boundaries, a basic understanding and appreciation of cultural difference is critical to helping us solve many of the world challenges before us.

The Institute for World Challenges program on Global Understanding seeks to address this problem in two ways. First, the program holds lectures and events, sponsors programs and exchanges, and develops curricula that help students become global citizens who can dynamically engage in today’s world in a more informed and open manner. And, second, the program undertakes specific projects that advance cross-cultural understanding in zones of past, present, and possible future global tension or even conflict. Our current projects include the U.S.-MidEast Dialogue Project, Global Dialogue Initiative, U.S.-Iran Dialogue Project, and Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Project, as well as two related speaker series, “Local Roots, Global Reach” and “21st Century Challenges.” [18]

Human Rights[edit]

Human rights concepts, institutions, and mechanisms have emerged as one of the key safeguards of the modern era. The Human Rights and Humanitarianism Program seeks to enhance our understanding of human rights while actively linking theory and practice. Accordingly, the program has a fourfold goal: advancing scholarship and research on human rights, promoting human rights educational programming, and providing students with the opportunity to turn theory into practice through living-learning community experiences such as the 2010-11 Human Right Floor, internships, service learning opportunities, community engagements, teach-in lectures, and study abroad opportunities. [19]


Wars have defined human history since before the time of Thucydides. They have altered borders, silenced and created tyrants, glorified and exterminated religious and ethnic groups, and killed countless millions of people. In the early days of combat, the combatants were treasured and exalted members of society. There was no nobler a vocation than that of the warrior. This seamless interaction is far less evident today as the wars and the experiences of those who fight them have become far more compartmentalized by American society.

Who are the people who now fight our wars? What can we do to better understand their experience not only on the battlefield, but after they return home? How should we remember those who have been lost? These questions have a direct impact on Rutgers and surrounding communities, which are absorbing an ever-increasing number of returning combat veterans.

Working with partners such as Rutgers-Newark Veterans Services and the Rutgers Student Veterans Organization, the Program on War, Remembrance, and Return explores issues of the individual. To enhance our understanding of war, the post-war lives of those who served, and the manner in which we remember those who died, the program involves three components: (a) a distinguished speaker series that exposes students, Rutgers, and our neighboring communities to current issues related to war, return and remembrance; (b) classroom education focusing on the personal representations of the experience of combat veterans (content may include all manner of representations including books, film, and other creative media); and (c) veteran outreach to those in our university and neighboring communities for the purpose of identifying, understanding, and dealing with the challenges faced by our returning veterans. [20]

Further Reading/Publications[edit]

To further research, scholarship, education, and outreach related to genocide and other world challenges, CGHR publishes the "Genocide, Political Violence, and Human Rights" book series in partnership with Rutgers University Press and an on-line e-zine, The Rutgers Humanist. In addition, the Center holds seminars and conferences that result in related books, articles, policy papers, and special journal issues.

Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights Book Series[edit]

As we enter the 21st century, genocide, war, crimes against humanity, and forms of mass atrocity constitute one of the greatest challenges that confront us. CGHR's Rutgers University Press Series,"Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights," publishes cutting-edge scholarship from across the disciplines that enhance our understanding of such large-scale human rights violations and the principles and mechanisms that seek to prevent them, protect the vulnerable, and help victims recover.

This series, a partnership between Rutgers University Press and CGHR, is breaking new ground not just by publishing outstanding new titles related to its topical focus but also in working to help facilitate translation when appropriate. [21]

The Rutgers Humanist[edit]

The Rutgers Humanist is a student magazine dedicated to examining both domestic and international human rights issues. Through a combination of essays, reportage and opinion pieces, students explore topics ranging from artistic responses to tragedy, to transitional justice, to the effects of globalization on developing countries. Published biannually by CGHR, The Humanist occasionally produces special issues on pressing global topics and appears both online and in print.

Associate Director Nela Navarro and publisher Elena Lesley coordinate the magazine, and different Rutgers undergraduates serve as Editors-in-Chief for each edition. The first issue was published in Spring 2011 and was edited by Rohini Chandra and Feraan Mohamed. [22]

CGHR-Related Publications[edit]

Alexander Hinton, Thomas LaPointe, and Douglas Irvin-Erickson, co-editors, Hidden Genocides: Power, Knowledge, Memory. Rutgers University Press, 2014.

Genese Sodikoff, ed., The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Arthur Romano, Peace Education booklet. Newark, NJ: Paul Robeson Gallery.

Daniel Veneciano and Alex Hinton, eds. Night of the Khmer Rouge: Genocide and Justice in Cambodia. Newark, NJ: Paul Robeson Gallery, 2007.


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