The Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention is one of the main pillars of the Auschwitz Institute’s work. The program takes its name from Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959), a Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the term “genocide” from the Greek genos (“family,” “tribe,” “race”) and the Latin cide (“killing”). Lemkin spearheaded the campaign in the United Nations for the ratification of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. Through the Seminar, AIPR is creating a community of government officials who are educated in the latest genocide prevention policy strategies and who support each other in identifying best practices for dealing with the process of genocide and other atrocity crimes.
The Seminar is organized in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the UN’s Joint Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect. Each week-long program brings together twenty to twenty-five government officials from at least fifteen States ranging from at-risk, in crisis, and post conflict States, to donor countries and those inactive in the international human rights arena. The Seminar welcomes participants who have professional responsibilities in relevant areas, including atrocity prevention, human rights, international criminal justice, among others.
The location of the Global Lemkin Seminar at the former Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland, allows participants to immerse themselves both emotionally and intellectually in the topic of genocide. Through the “power of place,” AIPR provides participants with the opportunity to make a personal investment and commitment to the field of genocide prevention. The Auschwitz Institute has learned that only when there is this emotional connection does the motivation to act stay with our participants after they have returned home. Following the Seminar, alumni become members of the 2PREVENT community, AIPR’s growing network of officials from countries around the globe who have attended Lemkin Seminars. Through continuous engagement with its alumni community, AIPR offers ongoing capacity building programs for their institutions towards atrocity prevention policy development at the regional and national levels.
Click here for the agendas, participant lists, instructor lists and photographs from previous Global Lemkin Seminars.