Snapshot of the Syllabus 

The 2021 Program

August 2nd - 13th, 2021

This two-week course provides participants with the intellectual framework for understanding the numerous, complex and often emotional issues related to genocide. An examination of several major cases of genocide provides the foundation for comparative analysis, along with the exploration of selected broad themes. The specific case studies and special themes may vary from year to year.


Using a seminar approach, the program provides a structured forum for analyzing universal questions relating to human rights and their gross violation. Students will gain an understanding of the following:


  • The development and meaning of Human Rights and their relationship to genocide.

  • The background, sources, causes and effects of genocide.

  • How to recognize, define and predict genocide.

  • The social, economic and psychological impact on survivors and their descendants.

  • Gender and genocide.

  • Destruction by attrition.

  • Genocide denial.

  • International law and genocide.

  • Methods and strategies to help prevent genocide

The 2019 Syllabus

Taking the Program for Credit

Many universities will give graduate-level credit for participating in the GHRUP. In this case, students must approach a professor at their university with the syllabus and faculty biographies for approval as an “independent study” or “directed reading” course. It is critical that participants who would like university credit for the course inform the organizers at the time of applying, and not after the fact. Credit is subject to approval by your university and must be authorized in advance. Be sure to discuss the options and the process with IIGHRS staff before starting the program.

Marks for students taking the course for credit will be graded on the following criteria. Class participation will be worth 25%, and a ten-minute oral presentation to the class at the end of the course will likewise be worth 25% of the final mark. A research paper, approximately 15-20 pages in length, double-spaced, must be handed in to the GHRUP’s Course Director not later than two months after the end of the course and will count for 50% of the final mark. The subject of the research paper must be approved in advance by the Course Director and the professor at the student’s home institution. Other formats for the final paper may be possible, upon consultation with the Course Director and the professor at the student’s home institution.


The Course Director will work cooperatively with the student’s home institution to ensure that the full report on the student’s performance in class, his or her formal presentation, and the evaluation of the term paper, will be provided to the faculty member at the student’s home institution who is supervising the independent studies course for the applicant. Although the Course Director will recommend a final grade, only the supervisor can assign the official grade, and the institution the number of academic credits for the course. Grading will be based on the quality of the research and analysis in the written work, including handling of sources, critical thought about their use and application, and some indication of a comparative approach. Participants in the program who are teachers or graduate students in education can submit a curriculum with strategies.


All required readings will be provided to students at no additional cost. Students may find it beneficial to read the following text, which may be obtained from their library or favourite bookseller in print or e-book format:

Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Third edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2017

Evaluation of Students

Meet Our 2021 Faculty

Alex Alvarez

Dr. Alex Alvarez is a Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. From 2001 until 2003 he was the founding Director of the Martin-Springer Institute for Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance, and Humanitarian Values. In 2017-2018, he served as the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University. His main areas of study are in the areas of collective and interpersonal violence. His books include Governments, Citizens, and Genocide(2001), Murder American Style (2002), Violence: The Enduring Problem(2007, 2013 2nded., 2017 3rded.), Genocidal Crimes(2009), and Native America and the Question of Genocide(2014). His most recent book, Unsteady Ground: Climate Change, Conflict, and Genocide was published in July 2017. He has also served as an editor for the journal Violence and Victims, was a founding co-editor of the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention, and has served as an editorial board member for a number of journals. He has been invited to speak and present his research in various countries such as Austria, Bosnia, Canada, England, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Sweden. 


Joyce Apsel

Joyce Apsel Ph.D., J.D., is Clinical Professor of Humanities in the Liberal Studies Program of the College of Arts & Sciences at New York University. Joyce Apsel teaches in a unique learning environment where students explore and debate the ideas in great works from different societies and cultures including the Bible and Qur’an to Plato, Confucius and Machiavelli.


Based on her research interests in comparative genocide and human rights, she teaches seminars in the Politics, Rights and Development Concentration. Course subjects taught include: Human Rights, Cultures of Peace and Terror, Societies at Risk, the Politics of Mass Hate and Genocide and Challenges of Humanitarianism, and Global Citizenship. Together, in small classes, her students read about and debate the history and politics of just and unjust wars, the role of non-governmental organizations and the complex challenges of addressing current mass violence from Chechnya to Darfur. Students have the opportunity to research their own interests; and some recent student projects include: Child Soldiers, HIV/AIDs and the Globalization of Drugs, Photography and Atrocity, and Female Slave Trafficking in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Beside encouraging students to attend lectures on human rights issues at NYU; there are class visits to the United Nations and other sites in New York City. As President of the Institute for Study of Genocide and Director of RightsWorks International, a human rights education initiative, Apsel also introduce students to human rights projects and speakers. Her goal is to explore diverse perspectives and critical analyses that facilitate each student finding his/her own voice and becoming informed, engaged, members of civil society and the global community.

Doris Bergen

Doris L. Bergen is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies. Her research focuses on issues of religion, gender, and ethnicity in the Holocaust and World War II and comparatively in other cases of extreme violence. Her books include Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (1996); War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2003); The Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Centuries (edited, 2004); and Lessons and Legacies VIII (edited, 2008).

Prof. Bergen has held grants and fellowships from the SSHRC, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the DAAD, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and she has taught at the Universities of Warsaw, Pristina, Tuzla, Notre Dame, and Vermont. Her current projects include a book on Germany military chaplains in the Nazi era and a study of definitions of Germanness as revealed in the Volksdeutschen/ethnic Germans of Eastern Europe during World War II and the Holocaust. Bergen is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington , D.C.

Hollie N. Brehm

Dr. Hollie Nyseth Brehm is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at The Ohio State University. She has published more than 30 articles and book chapters on genocide and human rights and is the recipient of the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ Emerging Scholar prize as well as the American Society of Criminology’s Cavan Young Scholar Award, which are the highest honors given to early-career scholars in each association. Nyseth Brehm is the Principal Investigator of two grants from the National Science Foundation that each focus on transitional justice in Rwanda. She serves on a U.S. atrocity prevention task force and has worked with Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide since 2012. Nyseth Brehm is also on the boards of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Refuge, and I-Activism, and she serves as a consultant for numerous other organizations. At Ohio State, Nyseth Brehm teaches classes on genocide, terrorism, and violence. She has won both the college’s and the university’s highest teaching honors, and she brings Ohio State University students to Rwanda each summer to learn about the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Lorena Fontaine

Lorena Sekwan Fontaine (B.A., LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D) is Cree-Anishinabe and a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. She is the Indigenous Academic Lead at the University of Winnipeg and an Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies. Dr. Fontaine has taught for the First Nations University of Canada and the School of Public Policy Graduate Program at Queens University.

Both her parents and grandparents attended residential schools in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Since 2003, Dr. Fontaine has been an advocate for Indigenous Residential School Survivors as well as their descendants. She was a task force member and contributor to the Assembly of First Nations’ Report on Canada's Dispute Resolution Plan to compensate for abuses in Indian Residential Schools. Dr. Fontaine also acted as a legal consultant to the Toronto law firm Thomson Rogers in a National Class Action on Indigenous Residential Schools.

She has spoken nationally and internationally and has authored articles on residential school issues and Indigenous language rights in Canada. Her most recent publication “Our Languages are Sacred: Indigenous Language Rights in Canada” is contained in a collection of essays that reflects the recommendations of Indigenous legal scholars and policy leaders on how Canada can braid together a new legal framework through the implementation of UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Dr. Fontaine’s PhD research was presented in a CBC documentary entitled “Undoing Linguicide,” which was awarded the 2017 Radio Television Digital News Association Adrienne Clarkson Award for Diversity, Radio and Network. She has also worked with the Assembly of First Nations as an advisor on Aboriginal languages for a number of years.

Dr. Fontaine was an Equality Rights Panel Member of the Court Challenges Program and has been involved with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund as a board member and subcommittee member. Currently she is a National Steering Committee Member for the National Association of Women and the Law. 

Maureen S. Hiebert

Maureen S. Hiebert is Associate Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Military, Security & Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and teaches courses in genocide studies, comparative and international law and politics, and the laws of armed conflict. Her publications include the recent book Constructing Genocide and Mass Violence: Society, Crises, Identity and several articles and book chapters on identity construction and elite decision-making in genocide, impediments to genocide prevention, Mass Atrocity Response military operations, the limitations of international criminal trials, and the nature of violence in modernity. Her current research projects are a two- volume book on the uses of law in the perpetration of genocide in authoritarian and settler colonial regimes, a co-edited book on genocide, terrorism, and the philosophy of violence, and a series of articles on the challenge posed to democratic civil-military relations by lethal autonomous weapons and enhanced soldiers. Her work has appeared in Genocide Studies International, Genocide Studies and Prevention, Politics and Governance, The European Legacy and several edited volumes. She is a co-editor of the journal Genocide Studies International and is currently a member of the academic boards of the University of Calgary Press, the Zoryan Institute, and the International Council of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem. She is a former director of the University of Calgary undergraduate International Relations Program and the graduate program at the Centre for Military, Security & Strategic Studies. She is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Great Supervisor Award for the Department of Political Science.

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey is the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University of New Jersey, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on the Holocaust, comparative genocide, gender, sexual violence, war, human rights and genocide prevention. She was also the First Vice President of the IAGS. Prior to this she was a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her BA in History from Columbia University and a PhD degree in modern German and African history from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, "Nobody's People: Colonial Subjects, Race Power and the German State, 1884-1945" examined the colonial roots of National Socialist ideology through the lens of the debates surrounding the African presence in Germany. 

Dr. von Joeden-Forgey has received research grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, and has published widely in the fields of comparative genocide and German history. Her current research on gender and genocide has appeared in Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, the Oxford Handbook on Genocide, New Directions in Genocide Research, Genocide: A Bibliographic Review, Hidden Genocide: Power, Knowledge and Memory, and the forthcoming collected volumes Reconstructing Atrocity Prevention and Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention. She is currently completing a book on gender and the prevention of genocide that will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. 

In 2010 and 2011 Dr. von Joeden-Forgey was a workshop coordinator for the Raphael Lemkin Program in Genocide Prevention hosted by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation in Krakow and Oswiecim, Poland. In 2014 she was chosen as one of thirty-six scholars to join the Stephen S. Weinstein Symposium on Post-Holocaust Ethics at Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, England. At Stockton College she is working to develop a master's-level program in genocide prevention and is co-chairing a faculty research and teaching committee on the subject of sexualized violence on campuses in a global framework. 

William A. Schabas OC MRIA

Professor William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. He is also professor of international human law and human rights at Leiden University, emeritus professor of human rights law at the National University of Ireland Galway and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, invited visiting scholar at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Politiques), honorary professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, visiting fellow of Kellogg College of the University of Oxford, and professeur associé at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Prof. Schabas is a ‘door tenant’ at the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, in London. 

Professor Schabas holds BA and MA degrees in history from the University of Toronto and LLB, LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Montreal, as well as honorary doctorates in law from several universities. He is the author of more than twenty books dealing in whole or in part with international human rights law, including: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights : travaux préparatoires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Unimaginable Atrocities, Justice, Politics and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), Introduction to the International Criminal Court (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 4th ed.), Genocide in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2009) and The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 3rd ed.). He has also published more than 300 articles in academic journals, principally in the field of international human rights law and international criminal law. His writings have been translated into Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Nepali and Albanian. 

Professor Schabas is editor-in-chief of Criminal Law Forum , the quarterly journal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. He is President of the Irish Branch of the International Law Association and chair of the International Institute for Criminal Investigation. From 2002 to 2004 he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas has worked as a consultant on capital punishment for the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and drafted the 2010 report of the Secretary-General on the status of the death penalty (UN Doc. E/2010/10). 

Professor Schabas was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007. He has been awarded the Vespasian V. Pella Medal for International Criminal Justice of the Association internationale de droit pénal, and the Gold Medal in the Social Sciences of the Royal Irish Academy. .

George Shirinian

George Shirinian is the Executive Director of the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute), which is devoted to research, publication and education in the fields of Genocide Studies, Diaspora Studies and Armenia Studies.


He is an official of the journal Genocide Studies International (University of Toronto Press), and one of the organizers of the annual Genocide and Human Rights University Program, run in partnership with the University of Toronto.


He is the author of articles on the Armenian Genocide, a contributor to The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide (ABC-CLIO 2015), co-editor of Studies in Comparative Genocide (Macmillan 1999) and editor of The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide: Essays on Asia Minor, Pontos and Eastern Thrace, 1913-1923 (The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center 2012), and Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923 (Berghahn Books 2017).

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Application Deadline: April 30, 2021

Registration is open on January 1, 2021

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