Genocide scholar Reva Adler speaks at Worcester State University.

Scholar Shares Insights on the Root Causes of Genocide

March 21, 2011
By: WSU News

Reva N. Adler, M.D., clinical professor, faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia, Canada, thanked the students, faculty and staff who filled the Blue Lounge on Tuesday, March 8 for coming out to “hear someone talk about genocide prevention: Arguably one of the world’s grimmest but paradoxically perhaps one of our most hopeful subjects.”

Adler is the principal investigator on the study, “Addressing the Root Causes of Genocide,” based in Rwanda, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and West Darfur state in Sudan, and she works with several international advisory groups on genocide prevention.

In her 30-minute lecture, entitled “Addressing the Root Causes of Genocide at Home and Abroad: Gender, Behavior, and Public Health,” Adler focused on the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Using a mix of statistics, research data, and testimony from perpetrators, supporters, and survivors, Adler outlined the environmental, psychological, sociological, and historical factors that led to the mass killing of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans. She also touched on the gender roles that “might be applicable to these sort of issues.”

Adler was then joined for a panel discussion by WSU Professor of Philosophy Henry Theriault, Ph.D., scholar of genocide studies and prevention, and Clark University Assistant Professor of International Development and Social Change Ellen Foley, Ph.D., a medical anthropologist studying gender, global health, and development in West Africa.

“One of the challenges of the prevention of genocide is real prevention has to happen before anyone is aware that really that many problems are coming,” Theriault noted.

Adler later led a faculty seminar entitled “Just as Rain Falls and the River Fills: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Genocide Prevention.” It was open to all Colleges of Worcester Consortium faculty and graduate students.

WSU Associate Professor of English and Global Studies Program Director Josna Rege, Ph.D., coordinated both events.

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