In the past 100 years, millions of people have died in genocides worldwide.
Hillsdale College’s International Club is hosting “Genocide: A Campus-Wide Dialogue” from March 5 to 9 to help students ponder genocide beyond just its immorality and examine its causes and effects.
“It’s a way to talk about and understand what actually goes wrong that allows for genocide. We are not trying to establish that genocide is wrong,” said junior and International Club president Daniel Teal. “We want to ask, ‘Where do cultures and governments get off-track to where their philosophy of the human person allows for the killing of millions?’”
The event will include guest speakers David Rawson, a former U.S. ambassador to Rwanda and a dvisiting professor of politics, Professor of HIstory Brad Birzer, and former Europe correspondent Barbara Elliott. The club will also host a showing of “Hotel Rwanda.”
“There has to be a common thread from Rwanda to Armenia to the Soviet Union to Cambodia and so on,” Teal said.
Vice president of the International Club, senior Kelsey Fox, said that they are not prioritizing specific genocides but rather intend to show that genocide is the primary fact of the 20th century.
The club will raise money for the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda through a silent auction of art and cultural items. Items include paintings, photos, signed books, and more.
“We hope to raise several thousand dollars from students and parents which will be used for providing education for victims of the Rwandan genocide and for the Centre’s project of burying the bodies found in mass unmarked graves, still being discovered throughout Rwanda today,” Teal said.
The center works to educate youth in Rwanda who cannot remember the slaughter in 1994 or were born after it happened. A study from 2006 showed that approximately 60 percent of Rwandan youth still display genocidal tendencies, Fox said.
“They don’t have the ID. cards, but there is still an awareness of the distinction between the Hutus and Tutsis,” Fox said, referring to the Rwandan tribes involved in the tragedy.
The week-long dialogue stemmed from an idea Teal proposed to Fox and others in the club over a year ago.
“Daniel told me about his idea to do a one-day event in remembrance of the Armenian genocide. I wanted to bring Rwanda into the event,” Fox said. “It evolved into a week-long event.”
The events will be held in Phillips Auditorium.