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Telegram from Mildred Burgess, July 9, 1948

War Department identification card, May 22, 1946, Recto

United Nations General Assembly identification card, 1948

Admittance ticket to United Nations Conference Room, undated

Note on Humanitarian Intervention, undated

Genocide as a Crime under International Law, undated

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Almost 90 years ago, as a young linguistics student in Poland, Raphael Lemkin was intrigued – and deeply troubled – about the case of an Armenian youth accused of murdering the Turkish official responsible for the 1915 genocide of the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire. Perplexed by the question of why it is a crime for one man to murder another, but not a crime for a government to kill more than a million people, Lemkin devoted the rest of his life to studying, educating, theorizing, writing, and actively campaigning to protect the existence (in every manifestation) of ethnic, racial, religious and national groups under international law. He accomplished it all through lectures, government service, international legal work and tireless advocacy. This crime had no name; Lemkin gave it one - Genocide – and devoted the rest of his life to the drafting, lobbying and ratification process of the United Nations Genocide Convention in 1948.

What, Lemkin asked, are the economic, social and cultural consequences of genocide? How shall nations be made to be held responsible for their actions? How many ways are there to destroy a people?

When Lemkin died in 1959, he left a vast trove of correspondence and papers documenting his work as well as extensive treatises on the meaning and impact of genocide. Many of those papers are today located in the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. Additional collections may be found at the New York Public Library and the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, and they cast a brilliant light on his intellectual gifts and his courageous activities.

Today, genocide manifests itself in all corners of our world. As new generations of scholars, human rights advocates, diplomats and activists wrestle with the issues of addressing, preventing and dealing with the aftermath of this phenomenon, many have returned to Lemkin’s writings as a source for understanding and coping with the myriad challenges of international law and human rights.

Genocide and Human Experience: Raphael Lemkin's Thought and Vision brings together an international group of historians, political scientists, anthropologists, philosophers and legal authorities to focus a lens on genocide through the exclusive examination of Raphael Lemkin. We hope that out of this intersection of historical and contemporary interpretation will emerge some clearer understandings of both the extraordinary courage and dynamic intellect of one individual, and the challenges that lay before us as we confront the evil of genocide in the modern world.

9:00 am
Registration

9:45 am
WELCOME FROM THE CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY

Elisheva Carlebach, Columbia University
Chair, Academic Advisory Council
Judith C. Siegel, Director of Special Projects

10:00 am
OPENING ADDRESS
Vartan Gregorian
, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York
"Raphael Lemkin and the Making of the UN Genocide Convention"

10:30 am
PANEL I: CULTURE

Peter Balakian, Colgate University
"Raphael Lemkin's Notion of Cultural Destruction and the Armenian Genocide"
Donna-Lee Frieze, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
"'Genos – the human group': The Embedded Notion of Culture in the Concept of Genocide as Perceived by Raphael Lemkin"
Alexander Laban Hinton, Rutgers University
"If Lemkin Had Been an Anthropologist: Culture, Genocide, and Modernity"

12:00 pm
PRESENTATION: RAPHAEL LEMKIN: SCHOLAR AND ACTIVIST

Jim Fussell, PreventGenocide.org

12:30 – 1:30 pm
BREAK

1:30 pm
PRESENTATION: RAPHAEL LEMKIN ARCHIVES AT THE AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Tanya Elder, Archivist

2:00 pm
PANEL II: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES

Berel Lang, Wesleyan University
"From Genocide to Group Rights: Lemkin's Continuing Bequest"
Benjamin Valentino, Dartmouth College
"More than a Word? American Public Perceptions of Genocide and the Holocaust"
Lawrence Woocher, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention
"Economics and Genocide: Causes, Means, and Consequences"

3:30 pm
BREAK

3:45 pm
PANEL III: INTERNATIONAL LAW

Hilary Earl, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario
"Prosecuting Genocide before the Genocide Convention: Rafael Lemkin and the Nuremberg trials, 1945-1949"
Benedict F. Kiernan, Yale University
"Before Lemkin: Nineteenth-Century Roots of International Human Rights Law and Activism"
Muhamed Mesic, Bosnia
"Lemkin's Legacy: Alive, Well and Most Necessary - The Importance of Raphael Lemkin for Future Developments in International Criminal Law"
William A. Schabas, Irish Center for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway; President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars
"Lemkin, Nuremberg and the beginnings of the Genocide Convention"

5:30 pm
Film

Donna-Lee Frieze and Peter Balakian

6:00 pm
CONCLUDING ADDRESS

Steven Leonard Jacobs, University of Alabama
"Raphael Lemkin: The Man, the Lawyer, the Economist, the Humanist, the Idealist, and the Dreamer"

6:30 pm
RECEPTION

CONSULTING SCHOLARS:
Peter Balakian, Colgate University
Donna-Lee Frieze, Deakin University