Genocide Prevention: Confronting the Past


From October 1 to 14, McGill University will host Imagining the Unthinkable: L'exposition du genocide, a public exhibition that conveys the realities of genocide by bringing together exceptional international collections of photographs, drawings, survivor testimonial archives and interactive multimedia.

The exhibition will complement the McGill Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide, which will be held October 11-13 at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. The exhibition has been organized by the Faculty of Law's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, which is also sponsoring the conference, and will be divided between two venues: the McGill Faculty of Law's Atrium, 3660 Peel Street, and the foyer of the McLennan Library Building, 3459 McTavish Street.

Special guests and members of the media are invited to attend a vernissage to launch the exhibition on October 1 at 5:00 p.m., in the Faculty of Law's Atrium. The exhibition is free of charge and will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends.

Imagining the Unthinkable will showcase eight powerful collections:

The Children of Darfur: Surviving Genocide

The drawings that comprise this haunting exhibition were collected by Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a pediatrician who worked with Doctors Without Borders in Darfur. Dr. Ehrlich told the children, "Draw what your life in Darfur is." The results give us an unforgettable glimpse into life in western Sudan. These drawings have been exhibited to great acclaim in many cities in North America, and are coming to McGill courtesy of the Darfur Alert Coalition.

USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive

With a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's archive is the largest visual history archive in the world. The Institute interviewed Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti survivors, survivors of eugenics policies and war crimes trials participants. The Visual History Archive is a web-based software tool that allows researchers to search the Institute's nearly 52,000 digitized video testimonies using over 50,000 experiential and geographic index terms.

Pharrajimos: The Fate of the Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust

This collection of contemporary photographs and survivors' testimonies was organized by the Roma Press Centre, the Romedia Foundation and the Rome Museum. It will be brought from Budapest, where it has been hosted by the Holocaust Documentation Centre.

Images from Tuol Sleng Prison

This collection, created by the Cambodia Genocide Program at Yale University, comprises photographs of prisoners being processed into Tuol Sleng Prison for interrogation and execution. During the Khmer Rouge regime, from 1975-79, the former high school became "S-21," headquarters of the Khmer Rouge secret police. Today it is the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide.

We Said Never Again: The Silent Voices of Rwanda

Twenty-eight teens from six high schools in Markham, Ontario, have collaborated to design and build their own exhibit that tells the story of the Rwandan genocide through multimedia, artifacts, letters and stories. This exhibit is coming to McGill University from the Markham Museum, Markham, Ontario.

United Nations Mobile Exhibition

This traveling exhibition, organized by the Aegis Trust, is about the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and its lasting consequences. This exhibition was launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 7, 2007, the 13th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.

The Graphic Art of Rupert Bazambanza

Born in 1975, Bazambanza emigrated from Rwanda to Montreal in 1997 after surviving the genocide that took place there in 1994. He now works as a graphic artist, and his widely acclaimed graphic novel, Smile Through the Tears, depicts the true story of a Tutsi family and their fate before, during and after the genocide.

Guatemala: Photographs by Jonathan Moller

American photographer Jonathan Moller has spent much of his career working with the indigenous Mayan people of Guatemala, who were targets of a genocidal campaign in that country's civil war. This striking collection shows a people's grief and resilience in the face of a horrific past, and their indomitable hope for a better future.

The Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide, to be held from October 11 to 13 at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal in Montreal, 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."

On the Web:


Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide

Contact Information

Pascal Zamprelli
McGill University
pascal.zamprelli [at]
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