The Zoryan Institute Engages New Upcoming Scholars to Analyze Genocide and Human Rights at the University of Toronto

August 22, 2017

"The level of academic inquiry and scholarship that was brought together by IIGHRS was unparalleled and I had not felt this challenged in a very long time."



TORONTO, ON-- The International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies releases a statement from Captain Cheng Xu of Canadian Armed Forces regarding his experience this summer at the Zoryan Institute's two-week Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP) at the University of Toronto.


Captain Xu is a first-year PhD student at the University of Toronto in the Political Science department. He has served in the Canadian Armed Forces for over nine years and studies state violence and counterinsurgency. The GHRUP is a two-week intensive academic program designed to bring together students from various national backgrounds across all academic disciplines for an integrated approach to learn and discuss the issues in the field of Genocide and Human Rights Studies.


The mission of the program is to encourage a new generation of scholars to engage in research and publication in the field of Genocide and Human Rights Studies. This is achieved through a comparative and interdisciplinary analysis of such cases of genocide as the Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, and the Rwandan Genocide among others.


Within GHRUP, students have the benefit of exposure to a wide range of topics from a diverse set of instructors, each with their expertise to contribute to the overall learning experience. Students also have the option of taking this course towards a graduate level credit at their home institutions.

Captain Xu, expressing his views on the program, had this to say:


"What truly exceeded my expectations about the course was my engagement and interaction with fellow students. The level of academic inquiry and scholarship that was brought together by IIGHRS was unparalleled and I had not felt this challenged in a very long time. Not only were the seminar discussions dynamic and enlightening, speaking with other students during the breaks and social events reveal that this next generation of scholars is on the cutting edge of research in their respective fields. That was the most exciting part about the course for me. The interaction and networking alone was inspiring and motivated me to reach for a higher level of scholarship."


Officially launched in 2002, the Institute has since welcomed 473 students from over 41 countries to the course. The Institute takes great pride in knowing that this course has formed a community and network of committed, informed citizens and scholars worldwide.

Captain Xu added:


"The students were drawn from a diverse background in terms of academic disciplines, nationalities, and professions. While most were academics, many of the students have also had professional experiences working in the field of human rights law. The diversity of the student body was one of the biggest advantages to this course as it was able to integrate a variety of theoretical perspectives, from history, to political science, to sociology, to anthropology, as well as bring grounding to the theory from pragmatic experiences in praxis. Students benefitted from the pragmatic challenges and insights faced by practitioners and those with professional experience and exposed to the issues surrounding the translation of theory to practice. I found myself well situated within both worlds in among the students in the sense that I've had much academic training and equal time in the professional world through my military service. I found that bridging the gap between the two worlds in the discussion to be simple and seamless for me and I was able to relate to my colleagues no matter where they situated themselves, whether as academics or as professionals."


For more information about the program and how to apply for GHRUP 2018, please visit


The Zoryan Institute and its subsidiary, the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, is the first non-profit, international centre devoted to the research and documentation of contemporary issues with a focus on Genocide, Diaspora and Homeland.


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