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  • Writer's pictureInternational Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Three new Scholars join Zoryan's 15th Annual Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP

Toronto --- Joyce Apsel, Course Director of Zoryan Institute's GHRUP welcomes new scholars, Dr. Andrew Woolford, Dr. Stephan Astourian, and Dr. Hazel Cameron to the faculty this year, as it approaches the 15th anniversary of the course, held annually at the University of Toronto campus. These new talents bring a diverse body of research and experience to our exceptional faculty of 12 scholars:

Dr. Andrew Woolford

In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, declaring their findings of “cultural genocide” against Indigenous peoples of Canada, Dr. Andrew Woolford of the University of Manitoba will teach about this phenomenon and its implications. His seminar will follow on the heels of Zoryan’s conference held in March at McGill University in partnership with The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism regarding cultural genocide, where Indigenous scholars emphasized the importance of educating the public on this history. Dr. Woolford is the current President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a global organization committed to genocide scholarship.

Dr. Stephan Astourian

The lands where the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide took place are once again a battleground due to terrorism and ethnic cleansing of Kurds, Yezidis, Assyrians, Christians and even Muslims that do not conform to radical Islamic ideology, inflicted by ISIS. This is reminiscent of the mass killings of Armenians and the “collective violence and conflict that had prevailed in Anatolia and its surroundings in the 19th Century” as described by Dr. Stephan Astourian in his essay On the Genealogy of Armenian-Turkish Conflict, Sultan Abdulhamid and the Armenian Massacres. Dr. Stephan Astourian, Executive Director of Armenian Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, has been invited to the program as faculty to share his expertise on the ongoing impact of the mentality of violence that has persisted in this region until today, continuing to victimize religious groups such as Yezidis of Sinjar, Chaldean Christians of Mosul, and Syrian Kurds on the border of Turkey. It is critical that the unit on the Armenian Genocide lay the groundwork for other genocides the GHRUP presents, in addition to providing the context of what continues to occur in this region. Dr. Astourian is a member of the Zoryan Institute board of Directors.

Dr. Hazel Cameron

One of the main objectives of the GHRUP is to encourage emerging genocide scholars so they may continue educating future generations of gross violations of human rights and work towards their prevention. It is therefore extremely rewarding to know that many GHRUP graduates have gone on to become professors, instructors and teachers in the field. Former GHRUP student Dr. Hazel Cameron will be returning to Toronto this year for the first time as a faculty member. At the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, her research focuses on war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and state complicity in political violence. This year she will teach the unit on the Rwandan Genocide, and speak about her vast experience working in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

GHRUP Program Director and Zoryan Chairman Professor Roger W. Smith describes the important framework of the course saying, “comparative genocide studies can help us understand the conditions under which genocide and other acts of mass violence are likely to take place, help identify warning signs of the impending violence, and suggest ways in which genocide may be prevented.” This milestone GHRUP will run from August 1st to 12th, 2016 at the University of Toronto.

For more information on applying to the program by the May 31st deadline, please visit our website. The Zoryan Institute and its subsidiary, the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, is the first non-profit, international center devoted to the research and documentation of contemporary issues with a focus on Genocide, Human Rights, and Diaspora-homeland relations.

For more information, please contact the Zoryan Institute at or 416-250-9807.

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