“Strength Through Adversity: Women and Mass Violence” Thursday at USC

March 6, 2012

Event highlights voices of women survivors, human rights scholars and activists  who demonstrate capacity of women to overcome adversity


WHAT:  Roundtable discussion and reception in recognition of International Women’s Day.

“Strength Through Adversity: Women and Mass Violence” highlights the voices of women survivors, human rights scholars and activists who demonstrate the capacity of women to overcome adversity and empower others in the face of conflict or extreme violence.
Presented by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute in partnership with The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.

WHEN: 5 p.m. Thursday, March 8.

Rose Mapendo, a Tutsi Congolese and a survivor of the violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, launched Mapendo New Horizons in 2009. The Arizona-based non-profit uses a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on microenterprise, education and healthcare to improve the lives of women and girls. Mapendo was honored with a 2008 CNN Heroes Award and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Humanitarian Award.

Beth Meyerowitz, USC vice provost and professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine, will moderate. Meyerowitz has focused extensively on the trauma and resilience of survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and now researches the experiences of women and men during genocide and their post-genocide adjustment.

Sabina Vajrača, a Bosnian-American film director, screenwriter, and producer, moved to the United States in 1994 as a political refugee. In 2005, Vajrača directed and produced the documentary “Back to Bosnia,” which premiered at the 2005 AFI Fest and was screened at more than 30 film festivals around the world. “Back to Bosnia” was shown at the annual celebration of Bosnian-American women whose work has contributed to the advancement of human rights.

Kimberly Mann established The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in 2006 and has developed a variety of educational materials and events to help students understand the lessons of the Holocaust. 

Alison Dundes Renteln, a professor of political science and anthropology in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science, focuses on international law, human rights and cultural rights. She has served as a member of the California Attorney General’s Commission on Hate Crimes.

Stephen D. Smith, executive director of USC Shoah Foundation Institute, will give the opening remarks. Smith is a leading advocate of Holocaust education and genocide prevention and was founding director of the UK Holocaust Centre.

Abdullah Aimaque, consul-general of Afghanistan in Los Angeles, has participated in global conferences such as a United Nations Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee Seminar in Kazakhstan and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference.

WHERE: USC University Park Campus, Davidson Conference Center, Vineyard Room.

PARKING: RSVP to Jenna Leventhal at vhi-jl@dornsife.usc.edu or 213-740-6036 for information.

USC Shoah Foundation Institute
Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries.

The Institute is part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California; its mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.

The Institute works within the University and with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. In addition to preserving the testimonies in its archive, the Institute is working with partner organizations to expand the archive with accounts of survivors and witnesses of other genocides. 

For more information, visit the Institute’s website, dornsife.usc.edu/vhi.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme
With resolution 60/7, the General Assembly established The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in 2006 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust so as to help prevent future genocide.  Its multifaceted programme includes online and print educational products, DVDs, a film series, book signings, seminars, training programmes and a permanent exhibit at United Nations Headquarters in New York. In addition, the worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration is held on 27 January each year.

The Holocaust Programme works closely with survivors to help ensure that their stories are heard and heeded as a warning of the consequence of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.  Through educational events and information materials, it also continues to combat Holocaust denial. And in all of its activities, the Holocaust Programme draws essential links between the underlying causes of genocide, the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust and the promotion of human rights and democratic values today.
For more information about the program me, please visit www.un.org/holocaustremembrance or write to holocaustremembrance@un.org

Contact: Eddie North-Hager at (213) 740-9335 or edwardnh@usc.edu