Northeastern Illinois University's 8th Annual
Genocide and Human Rights Research Conference

Agency, Ethics and Everyday Heroes:
Strategies for Prevention of Genocide and Human Rights Abuses in Africa and the Diaspora 

March 3-4, 2022
Northeastern Illinois University
5500 North St. Louis Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60625

Sign up to attend the virtual conference via Zoom 

Keynote Speaker: DR. Mahmood Mamdani 

Thursday, March 3
9:30-10:35 A.M.

Dr. Mahmood Mamdani, an expert in the field of African history and politics from Kampala, Uganda, is Columbia University’s Lehman Professor of Government with a dual appointment in the departments of Political Science and Anthropology. He is also the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda. He has taught at the University of Dar-es-Salaam (1973–79); Makerere University (1980–93); and University of Cape Town (1996–99). He is the founding director of Centre for Basic Research in Kampala, Uganda, (1987–96) and was president of the Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 1999 to 2002. His major publications include "Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics," and the "War on Terror" (2009).

Photo of Dr. Mahmood Mamdani

Featured Speaker: Dr. LÉONCE NDIKUMANA

Friday, March 4
12:15-1:15 p.m.

Léonce Ndikumana is a Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of the African Development Policy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, U.S.A. He is a member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) and former member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy. He has served as Director of Research and Director of Operational Policies at the African Development Bank, and Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He is an Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. His research focuses on African development and Macroeconomics and covers the issues of external debt and capital flight, financial markets and growth, macroeconomic policies for growth and employment, and the economics of conflict and civil wars in Africa. He is co-editor of "Capital Flight from Africa: Causes, Effects and Policy Issues" and co-author of "Africa’s Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent," published also in French as "La Dette Odieuse d’Afrique : Comment l’endettement et la fuite des capitaux ont saigné un continent," in addition to dozens of academic articles and book chapters. Ndikumana is a graduate of the University of Burundi and received his doctorate in economics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo of Dr. Leonce Ndikumana

View the 2022 GHRAD Conference program

About the Conference Theme

In the midst of the horror of genocide and other atrocious crimes, there are always a few who refuse to be immobilized by fear or hatred. Some resist or neutralize the violence committed against targeted groups. Some respond by speaking out against the violence, even at the risk to their own lives. Others protect and hide co-workers, neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers. These are the heroes and heroines whose acts of bravery and kindness go unknown. Given the significance of community in Africa, and Ubuntu philosophy, as well as the importance of solidarity, it is very important to hold up these heroes for their acts of courage and resistance are critical to healing and genocide prevention in Africa and the Diaspora.

In this conference we remember compassionate individuals who, through courage, honor and defiance, stood in solidarity to protect those targeted for genocide extermination. In a nutshell, this conference will explore what motivated or inspired these heroes and heroines to act, the specific actions they performed before, during or after the atrocities, and the impact of their actions. We will also examine strategies of prevention of genocide and human rights abuses in Africa and the Diaspora.

To these ends, we invite scholars who work on the stories of thousands of known and unknown individuals, and families who hid, protected and supported those in misery. From these narratives, we seek to identify methods and practices that can prove useful in the future, should genocide erupt again. Some presentations may focus on the misery of genocide but hopefully they will also tease out acts of bravery by those courageous individuals who sprayed the cooling mist of hope to save some in the face of despondency.

Special Highlight

This year's conference will also be the inauguration of Northeastern’s new Center for Genocide and Human Rights Research in Africa and the Diaspora (GHRAD) Center!