AUA Adjunct Lecturer Dr. Suren Manukyan Participates in the Third Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide

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YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ On December 11, 2018, Dr. Suren Manukyan, adjunct lecturer at the American University of Armenia (AUA), delivered a presentation titled “Genocide Education in Armenia. Why and How?” at the 3rd Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide. He also moderated a panel on the role of education and awareness raising in the prevention of genocide.

The Forum was dedicated to the prevention of the crime of genocide through education, culture and museums. It was organized by the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia (RA) with the support of the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, in cooperation with the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).

Among the participants of the Forum were Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide; Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues; Kyriakos Kyriakou-Hadjiyianni, Rapporteur of the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE; Henry Theriault, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS); Andrea Bartoli, Dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University; William A. Schabas, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University; Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University; Alexander Hinton, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University; Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University; as well as other prominent scholars, educators and public figures.

Dr. Manukyan discussed the current state of Genocide education in Armenia while pointing to two AUA courses: ‘Introduction to Genocide Studies’ and ‘Genocide Studies and Human Rights Seminar.’ Both courses are part of AUA’s minor in Genocide Studies in Human Rights.

Dr. Manukyan emphasized the critical role that education and educators play in the prevention of crimes against humanity. He focused on one specific challenge regarding the prevention of genocide: “There is widespread hope that genocide prevention can succeed through monitoring risk factors, blocking disturbing trends, and educating people. In reality, initial steps that lead societies to genocidal violence may be concealed.  Attempts to stop developments that may lead to genocide may be faced with the lack of political will of world powers and international organizations. It is at this juncture that education is fundamental.”

Dr. Manukyan further explained that genocide is a choice. On an individual level, people in genocidal societies make decisions regarding their own behavior. They choose to become either perpetrators, or rescuers or remain bystanders.  And, the role of education is in creating a pattern of behavior to help an individual choose “the right side.”

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.