Raising awareness of the horrors of genocide

Posted: March 26, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Dr. Ellen Kennedy to speak at the U of R March 30
Dr. Ellen Kennedy to speak at the U of R March 30 Photo courtesy of Dr. Kennedy

Dr. Ellen Kennedy, founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide, is the featured speaker at a March 30 lecture presented by the University of Regina President’s Liberal Arts Advisory Group.

Her lecture is entitled ”The Armenians, the Holocaust, and Rwanda: Where was Empathy?”

“I would like people who attend the lecture to come away with an understanding of how important it is that we have empathy for those who live in our neighbourhoods, in our communities, and in places far away,” says Dr. Kennedy. “Having empathy - especially for those we perceive as being different from us - is one of the important steps in preventing prejudice, discrimination, hate, and violence.”

Dr. Kennedy is an adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her organization provides education about past and current conflicts, with the goal to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators and remember those affected by genocide.
“Genocides happen because there is no political will to prevent them. It is up to each of us to demand that our governments observe the 'responsibility to protect’”, says Dr. Kennedy. She points to the critical importance of a Liberal Arts education.

“How do we understand other people? The 'window' into their lives comes through literature, art, psychology, journalism, sociology, political science - indeed through all of the liberal arts. These disciplines give us the tools to understand ourselves and others.”

The President’s Liberal Arts Advisory Group invited Dr. Kennedy to the campus to speak.

“There is no better person than Dr. Kennedy to remind us of the enduring relevance of a liberal arts education in today’s world,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons.  “It is very important that her message be heard by the public, our students, and our faculty and staff who work so diligently to help educate the next generation of leaders.”

The lobbying efforts of Dr. Kennedy are making a difference. Her home state of Minnesota is one of four states in the U.S. to declare April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. The anniversaries of many genocides occur in April, including the Holocaust, Cambodia and Rwanda.

Event: The Armenians, the Holocaust, and Rwanda: Where was Empathy?
Day: March 30
Time:  7:30 p.m.
Location: Research and Innovation Centre 119
University of Regina
Admission: Free and open to the public
Complimentary parking in Lot 15M
Reception to follow