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Program Overview

This annual graduate-level course is taught by leading experts in their fields over a 2-week period and incorporates genocide theory, history, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology and international law.  The GHRUP provides participants with the intellectual framework to understand the numerous, complex, and often emotional issues related to genocide. An examination of several major case studies of genocide including the Armenian Genocide, the Jewish Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, and Genocides of Indigenous Peoples, among others, provides the foundation for comparative analysis while specific case studies and special themes vary from year to year. 

Students from all over the world participate in this structured forum to explore universal questions relating to human rights and their gross violations.

Course Topics

Over the years, GHRUP course topics and themes have varied providing new opportunities to learn about current and past events of genocide and gross violations of human rights within a structured framework for analysis. Topics and themes covered in previous GHRUP include:


  • The Development and Analysis of Human Rights and Links to Humanitarianism 

  • Introduction and Theories of Genocide 

  • The Armenian Genocide

  • The Holocaust

  • Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • The Guatemalan Genocide

  • The Rwandan Genocide

  • Cambodian Genocide

  • Gender and Genocide

  • Destruction by Attrition

  • The Holodomor

  • The Uyghurs

  • International Law and Genocide

  • Psychology and Genocide

  • Prevention and Future Genocide

  • Denial, Memory, Museum, & Representation

  • Language as a Continuum of Violence

  • Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, and Non-Conventional Warfare


Course Objectives

This course aims to help develop a new generation of scholars to pursue research and publication in genocide and human rights studies, and practice in the prevention of genocide and human rights violations. Students will gain an understanding of the following: 

  1. How are gross violations of human rights defined?

  2. What is genocide, why does it occur and what are its causes? 

  3. What is the relationship between genocide and human rights?

  4. What is the role of international law and international bodies such as the United Nations?

  5. What is the genocidal experience of women and children?

  6. Why does genocide denial occur?

  7. How can geo-politics affect human rights and lead to genocide?

  8. How can genocide be prevented?

Course Format

The following key points will be used as a guide for discussion of each case study to help ensure consistency and facilitate comparisons. We will explore:

  • Brief history of the perpetrator and victim groups

  • Causes of the conflict

  • Political and sociological climate before the genocide

  • Early warnings

  • Rationalization for genocide; methods of dehumanization

  • Planning and organization

  • Implementation of the genocide - timeframe, methods, etc.

  • International reaction and attempts at intervention (if any)

  • Denial

  • Judgment and punishment of perpetrators

  • Short-term aftermath

  • Long-term legacy



This intensive course provides a unique learning experience that stretches beyond the classroom.  Students spend quality time together outside the classroom and build lasting relationships over this two-week period.  After class activities are organized throughout the program to facilitate community. In previous years, these activities included visits to local museums and art galleries, walking tours, and a trip to Niagara Falls. During the 2021 and 2022 virtual programs, virtual social activities, such as wellness classes and dinner parties, were offered outside of class hours to promote community building amongst students and faculty.

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Application Deadline: May 30, 2024
Registration opens on January 1, 2024

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