September 23, 2004

Sacramento State hosts international genocide conference

Leading scholars, along with Holocaust and genocide survivors, will examine some of the most horrific events of modern history at the second International Conference on Genocide, Oct. 14-16 at California State University, Sacramento.

The conference is particularly timely given the ongoing situation in Sudan, which was recently labeled genocide by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Sessions are free and open to the public, and will take place in the University Union.

Presenters from around the world will share scholarship on events including the Holocaust; genocides in Armenia, Burundi, the Philippines, Rwanda, and South Africa; the genocide of Native Americans in California; and Japanese biological warfare in World War II. More general topics will include the causes of genocide and genocide denial.

What promises to be one of the most poignant sessions will be 1 p.m., Saturday, when genocide survivors and eyewitnesses will describe their experiences.

The conference’s keynote speakers will be John Steiner, a Holocaust concentration camp survivor and senior researcher at Sonoma State; Henry R. Huttenbach, editor of the Journal of Genocide Research and professor at the City University of New York; and Christian P. Scherrer of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University.

The first genocide conference at Sacramento State took place in 1998. Proceedings were later published as Anatomy of Genocide: State-Sponsored Mass-Killings in the 20th Century.


Like the first one, this conference is organized by Alexandre Kimenyi, a Sacramento State ethnic studies professor who occasionally teaches a course on genocide and the Holocaust. A native of Rwanda, Kimenyi lost family members in that country’s 1994 genocide.

“After the Jewish Holocaust, the world said ‘Never again,’ “ Kimenyi says. “But the whole 20th century was characterized by genocide. There were at least four. The twenty-first century started also with terrorism and genocide. And the world is debating whether the massacres in Darfur constitute genocide before the international community can intervene. Universities have a responsibility to remind the world of this serious crime and to find solutions to eradicate it.”

Also helping organize the conference are Boatamo Mosupyoe and Annette Reed, both Sacramento State ethnic studies professors. Mosupyoe has studied recent African migrants in the United States, and, like Kimenyi, has a devastating personal experience. She lost family in atrocities in South Africa, and later made her way to the United States with the help of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Reed is director of the Sacramento State Native American studies program and an expert on the Tolowa people of Northwestern California.

The conference is free and open to the public, and all sessions will be in the University Union. Tickets for the dinner and performance by internationally known Rwandan singer Jean-Paul Samputu at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16 are $20.

More information is available by contacting Alexandre Kimenyi at (916) 278-6802 or kimenyia@csus.edu. Kimenyi’s website has detailed information on the conference – www.kimenyi.com.

Media assistance is available by contacting the Sacramento State public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

####

California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu