McGill to host Global Conference on Prevention of Genocide


The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism is pleased to host the inaugural Echenberg family conference on human rights, October 11 to 13. The Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide will bring together survivors and witnesses with eminent thinkers, politicians, journalists and activists from around the world whose lives have been forever changed by this horrific crime against humanity. This will be the first major non-governmental conference on the global prevention of genocide since the adoption of the UN Genocide Convention in 1948 to prevent and punish what Winston Churchill called “the crime that has no name.”

Conference participants will include:

Hédi Fried, Holocaust survivor, author of the highly acclaimed The Road to Auschwitz: Fragments of a Life.

Marika Nene, survivor of the Nazi genocide against the Roma.

Youk Chhang, survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide and executive director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Esther Mujawayo, Rwandan genocide survivor and co-founder of the non-governmental organization, the Association of Widows of the Genocide (AVEGA).

Lt. General (ret.) Roméo Dallaire, former leader of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Rwanda and author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.

Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Juan Mendez, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

Brian Stewart, award-winning CBC television correspondent.

Roy Gutman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Newsday correspondent.

Mia Farrow, actress, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Darfur activist.

Hon. Irwin Cotler, former Attorney-General of Canada, McGill law professor and respected human rights lawyer.

Michael Ignatieff, MP, author and former director of the Carr Center for Human Rights.

Wole Soyinka, Nigerian author and playwright and Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature, held as a political prisoner from 1967-1969 for suggesting a ceasefire with Biafra rebels.

Wiebe Arts, former peacekeeper of the United Nations Protection Force for the Former Yugoslavia in Srebrenica.

Ben Kiernan, director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

Martha Minow, professor of law at Harvard University.

Payam Akhavan, professor of law at McGill and former UN war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, will chair the conference, which will bring together eminent intellectual, political, student and civil society leaders from around the world. It will open a dialogue between decision-makers and genocide survivors, between the leaders of this generation and those of the next, with the goal of exploring means of preventing genocidal violence, rather than focusing on intervention after the fact.

Beginning on October 7, 35 young human rights leaders from around the world will participate in the pre-conference Forum for Young Leaders, which will explore the unique contribution of students, civil society leaders and human rights activists to the prevention of genocide.

In conjunction with the conference, a number of public exhibitions will feature photographs, films, art, artifacts and multimedia providing personal accounts of the nightmare of genocide.

The Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide is the inaugural Echenberg Family Conference on Human Rights, a series established in January through a generous gift from McGill law alumnus Gordon Echenberg and his wife, Penny. In establishing the series, the Echenberg Family Foundation hopes to foster a greater understanding of the importance as well as the role of human rights issues in the daily lives of individual citizens everywhere. While studying at the Faculty of Law, Mr. Echenberg, BA’61, BCL’64, served as the President of the McGill Students’ Society. As a graduate, he became a founding director of Interamicus, a McGill-based international rights advocacy centre. He later served as a Governor of the University and as a lecturer in law.

On the Web: Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide

Contact Information

Pascal Zamprelli
McGill University
pascal.zamprelli [at]
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