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UPCOMING GENOCIDE CONFERENCE IN SARAJEVO

July 3, 2007

The International Association of Genocide Scholars will hold its 7th biennial meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9-13 July 2007, hosted by the University of Sarajevo’s Institute for Research into Crimes against Humanity and International Law.


“…The timing of the conference has been moved from our traditional June dates to July in order to enable us also to devote one day to participating in the annual memorial ceremonies at Srebrenica, the site of an awesome genocidal massacre of Moslem people in a locale that was supposed to be under the protection of the United Nations.” – Prof Israel W. Charny.

Our conference theme, Responding to Genocide Before It’s Too Late: Genocide Studies and Prevention, is always appropriate, of course, but also has an immediate resonance as we convene in a site of one of the shameful genocides of the last century. The timing of the conference has been moved from our traditional June dates to July in order to enable us also to devote one day to participating in the annual memorial ceremonies at Srebrenica, the site of an awesome genocidal massacre of Moslem people in a locale that was supposed to be under the protection of the United Nations.” – said Prof Israel W. Charny, Ph.D., President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).

“We are also proud to announce that we are taking advantage of being on European soil to convene a pre-conference Auschwitz Seminar which will take place in conjunction with the Auschwitz Jewish Center and with the participation of senior professional staff of the Auschwitz Museum, and also with the cooperation of Jagellonian University Medical School, on 6-8 July in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau.” – said Prof Charny in a signed statement on IAGS web site.

A pre-conference Auschwitz Seminar will take place on 6-8 July in Krakow and Auschwitz; seminar participants will fly from Krakow to Sarajevo in the evening of 8 July.

Prof Deborah Lipstadt will also attend the Conference in Sarajevo where she expects the case of Srebrenica genocide to be one of the many topics discussed.

“I am, among other things, getting ready to leave for a meeting of the International Association of Scholars of Genocide in Sarajevo. I am sure this topic will be one of the many discussed.” – commented Prof Deborah Lipstadt on her blog.

This is a great opportunity for all of us to get first hand experience about this important event taking place as Prof Lipstadt will blog directly from Sarajevo:

“I am excited about being there and shall blog from the meeting [International Association of Scholars of Genocide].” – commented Prof Lipstadt.

In 2005, Dr. Kathleen Young took students with her to the Genocide Conference and memorial service to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica. Students who attended the Genocide Conference in Sarajevo also accompanied Dr. Young to Den Hague to the International Criminal Tribunal and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Here is Dr Young’s exciting video feedback from the past conference, which also includes a text transcript:

Video Caption: Kathleen Young, Ph.D., Department on Anthropology

Question: Why did you take your students with you to the International Genocide Conference in Sarajevo?

Kathleen Young, Ph.D.:
I was invited to present a paper at the genocide conference and memorial and to commemorate the massacre at Srebrenica. In 1995, in Srebrenica, in the United Nations safe haven, 8000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred by Serb soldiers. It was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. And the 10 year anniversary of the mass deaths was also going to be the time in which Sarajevo would host a conference on genocide. And I was invited to give a paper based upon my work at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and I happened to be teaching the war and human rights class at the time. And I mentioned to the class and said that I was going… I was absolutely going, and if they wanted to come too, they were invited. It was up to them. And a group of them decided they would go with me, and one student said she left the classroom and she went and got passport that day, so she could go… her first passport. They were an exceptional group of students, but it was also an overwhelming opportunity to be there, to participate, to remember in person and to be changed by experience.

There were 50,000 people at this memorial and it was intense, of course. The students participated in the excavation of the mass grave, they were witnesses. We went to the re-burial of 600 bodies of Bosnian Muslim men that have been excavated from mass graves around the area. A collection of Muslim imams, of teachers, people who were burying the dead from the area, people who came to bear witness to bury the dead, and world leaders – we were all in attendance.

It was a Muslim funeral. There were people praying. One of the students said to me “What is that sound?”, and I said it sounds like rolling thunder, but it is the sound of people praying. It was phenomenal to be there. There is nothing like being in attendance, to witness, to be there in person.

And from there we went to the Genocide Conference and the students listened the papers on genocide for a week. The Bosnian hosts in Sarajevo were so kind, and so generous, and it was an experience to be in Sarajevo which is a living cemetery, in part, but it’s also a testimony to human resilience and not looking away and not trying to repress what had occurred, but to bear witness and to go on living, to go on tending and mending.

And from there we went to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia where the students were in attendance of the Milosevic trial, so they got to see that today there is no impunity for these crimes on such a mass scale that are crimes against humanity. It was, in that way, I think encouraging, and also somewhat… it gives a kind of energy to know that there are good people all over the world to stop this, and it makes a difference.

We went to the International Criminal Court and were able to interview and to meet with one of the judges of the International Criminal Court. This is the first time that there is a permanent solution to crimes against humanity that are ongoing, to make sure that leaders know that in the future they will be held accountable. That was inspiring to students as well.

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The International Association of Genocide Scholars is a global, interdisciplinary, non-partisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide. The association, founded in 1994, meets biennially to consider comparative research, important new works, case studies, the links between genocide and gross human rights violations, and prevention and punishment of genocide. The aim of the Association is to focus more intensively on questions of genocide than is possible in the existing two-hour format of most conferences and to draw colleagues from different disciplines into an interdisciplinary conversation. Membership is open to scholars, graduate students, and other interested persons worldwide. The Association is an autonomous affiliate of The Institute for the Study of Genocide.

  1. Shaina
    July 7, 2007 at 3:13 am

    Sounds like a really interesting event; I really hope that the position papers will be published online.

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