Our History


To date over 400 students from 40 countries have completed the GHRUP program. The extraordinary shared experiences of students, faculty, and staff have resulted in the benefit of establishing strong personal ties and friendships, and the development of networks which have extended well beyond the classroom. Perhaps the greatest benefit of launching the GHRUP has been its graduates, who have gone out into the world to research, publish, teach and raise awareness about the nature of genocide, the importance of human rights, and the necessity of genocide prevention.  Over 70 graduates of the program are now working professionally as teachers, researchers and curators on the subject.


The International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (IIGHRS) was created as a division of the Zoryan Institute to engage in negotiations with various universities, which culminated in a partnership with the University of Minnesota. University students completing the program in either Minneapolis or Toronto now had the option of receiving graduate level course credits from the University of Minnesota.


The GHRUP was launched in Toronto and attracted students from Armenia, Australia, Canada, England, France, Japan and the United States. Some of the world’s foremost experts in genocide and human rights studies were invited to be instructors including Dr. Taner Akçam, Dr. Yair Auron, Dr. Frank Chalk, Dr. Vahakn Dadrian, Dr. Lorne Shirinian, Dr. Roger Smith, and Dr. Khachig Tölölyan.

The GHRUP continued to grow and gain awareness. Roger W. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Government at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and co-founder and a past president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, was named Program Director in 2003. In addition, faculty was expanded from six to twelve instructors to meet growing interest in the program and to maximize content.


This vision was finally realized in 2001 after securing the human and financial resources needed based on the pedagogical concept and the course syllabus created by the Program Development Committee and Curriculum Advisory Committee.

Early 1990s

The Zoryan Institute had a vision of creating a unique course on comparative genocide studies to fill a gap in the traditional university curriculum.

Send Us a Message

255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310 
Toronto, ON M3B 3H9 Canada

1 416 250 9807 


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