On Saturday, April 23, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation’s Coordinator of the Office of the Executive Director and New York Liaison for Africa Programs, Jack Mayerhofer, participated in the Joint Service Academy Mass Atrocity Prevention Symposium in Washington, DC. Organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point, and the Never Again Initiative at the United States Naval Academy, the two-day student-led initiative featured self-guided tours of the museum, expert lectures, and panels composed of distinguished practitioners and student participants from the US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy, US Military Academy, and the US Coast Guard.
Lending an international perspective to the program, Mr. Mayerhofer delivered a talk entitled “A Regional Approach to Prevention: The Role of Regional Networks in Africa and Latin America for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.” His presentation worked towards the fourth objective of the Symposium: building awareness of both genocide and mass atrocities and current efforts being made to enhance the world’s ability to prevent and respond to genocide.
In order to give attendees an appreciation for the role that international network building plays in genocide and mass atrocity prevention efforts, Mr. Mayerhofer presented an overview of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and how it works to build a world that prevents genocide and mass atrocities. He then described the objectives, goals, tools, and activities of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention and AIPR’s role as the Network’s Technical Secretariat.
Transitioning to AIPR’s work in Africa, Mr. Mayerhofer then discussed the network operating within the Great Lakes Region of Africa, formed primarily by National Committees for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, and All Forms of Discrimination. He gave an overview of their background and development, AIPR’s role in supporting them, and many of the activities currently being developed at the regional level. The initiatives of several specific states including Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya were highlighted before Mr. Mayerhofer answered questions from the audience on the practical application of AIPR’s work in the Great Lakes Region.