Genocide Symposium Kicks Off – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Genocide Symposium Kicks Off

Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host a Genocide Symposium featuring speakers from government agencies, survivors from genocide-afflicted countries and other experts throughout the spring 2012 semester.

Throughout the months of March and April, the Symposium will feature several film screenings, a dramatic play reading, several workshops and an informal round table discussion – all focusing on various instances of genocide in the world today.

A Readers College, led by Associate Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department Richard Salter, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies James McCorkle ’76 and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Christopher Annear, will be associated with the series throughout the spring 2012 semester. The books being read for the Readers College include those by the authors who will take part in this semester’s Genocide Symposium.

While the symposium calls on both speakers and attendees to remember the human rights violations that have taken place in the past and continue today, the focus and theme of this symposium is developing a response to genocide.

Already this theme of response has been touched upon by the symposium’s first speaker, Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, who served as the Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda and addressed his continued efforts to fight genocide.

During the next event, on Sunday, March 4, Professor Robert Skloot and others will present a dramatic reading of his play “If the Whole Body Dies: Raphael Lemkin and the Treaty Against Genocide,” which focuses on the life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide” and who worked tirelessly to get the term adopted into international law. The reading will take place at 2 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

Skloot is the author or editor of many books and articles about the theatre and the Holocaust and genocide, and served as Fulbright Professor in Israel, Austria, Chile and the Netherlands. His play, “If the Whole Body Dies,” has been performed around the U.S. and internationally. He was a teacher, director and administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison until his retirement in 2008.

Invisible Children will be on campus to present a screening of the film “Kony 2012” at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room on Thursday, March 8. The film deals with the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda and is dedicated to stopping the use of child soldiers in war. This event is sponsored by the Human Rights Collective.

On Monday, March 12, a workshop, titled “Conflict Resolution and Negotiation: The Case of Darfur,” will be given by Matthew T. Simpson ’04, a lawyer who spent the past few years working for Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a global pro bono firm, as one of two accredited legal advisers to the Darfurian delegation negotiating a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan as part of the United Nations/African Union Darfur Peace Process. The talk will take place at 3 p.m. in the Fisher Center in Demarest Hall. Anyone interested in taking part in the workshop can contact Salter at

At 7 p.m. that evening, Simpson will present a public talk on his work in pro-bono international law in Stern 103. This event is sponsored in collaboration with the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development.

On Monday, March 26, the Symposium will host a screening of the documentary “The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur.” The screening will be held in the Geneva Room at 8 p.m.

Finally, on Thursday, April 5, Gretchen Steidle Wallace, the founder of Global Grassroots, co-author of “The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur,” will present a workshop titled “A taste of conscious social change.” The workshop, which will be held at 3 p.m. in the Seneca Room, is limited to 25 students.

Wallace will offer a public lecture, titled “Survivors of War/Agents of Change,” at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room. Her lecture is based on her work with survivors of genocide and other marginalized people in Rwanda, and the refugee camps of eastern Chad. 

The following day, on Friday, April 6, Wallace will participate in an informal round-table discussion at 9 a.m. in the Fisher Center. This event is co-sponsored by The Genocide Symposium, the Fisher Center, and the CCL.

Initially established and funded largely through the generosity of Dr. Edward Franks ’72, the Genocide Symposium is receiving outside support from the Young Memorial Trust, the President’s Forum Series, the CCL, Fisher Center, the Human Rights Collective and STAND (Student Anti-genocide Coalition) and the departments of Africana Studies and Religious Studies.