Sheffield to open new centre for the study of genocide

The University of Sheffield's Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence will be officially launched tomorrow(Tuesday October 9 2007), with a lecture by Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, well-know British historian and a professor in the University's Department of History.

The new centre, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will build on an existing focus on genocide studies within the Department of History. The Department already hosts both the office of the International Network of Genocide Scholars and the editorial offices of the Journal of Genocide Scholars.

The centre will coordinate research projects, support international cooperation and offer both regular and long distance learning courses in genocide studies and prevention. Current projects include a virtual archive of genocide, a bibliography of genocide and the Sheffield Digital Lemkin, a digital edition of the largely unpublished writings of Raphael Lemkin, who was the founder of the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 and the pioneer of genocide studies.

Dr Juergen Zimmerer, Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence and a lecturer in the Department of History at the University, said: "Genocide has been the scourge of the 20th Century and it will almost certainly haunt humankind in the 21st Century, when scarcity of resources and climate change will increase the likelihood of genocidal violence.

"By establishing and supporting its Centre for the Study of Genocide and Mass Violence the University of Sheffield creates a unique institution that bridges the gap not only between various disciplines, but also between academia, politics and the third sector."

Professor Sir Ian Kershaw said: "The centre is unique in this country. Its work, which transcends disciplinary boundaries, has international significance not just in the analysis of past genocides, but in alerting to conditions in parts of the world which may be conducive to genocidal actions in the future. It is excellent that the University of Sheffield has committed itself to support this important centre."

For further information please contact: Jenny Wilson, Media Relations Officer on 0114 2225339 or email j.c.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk