Imagine the Unimaginable: Ending Genocide in the 21st Century
Ending Genocide | Agenda | Bios | Poll Results | Video | Photos | Resources
The Museum’s Imagine the Unimaginable: Ending Genocide in the 21st Century symposium explores how genocide, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity might be prevented in the future by understanding future trends in a variety of fields.
The following resources explore a range of issues that could have an impact on what causes mass atrocity crimes and how they could be addressed over the course of the 21st century.
FORECASTING: WHERE WILL GENOCIDE HAPPEN NEXT?
In order to prevent genocide, it is important to understand where such crimes could happen. These resources outline efforts to create an early warning system for where mass atrocities might occur:
- In October 2011, the Museum’s Committee on Conscience held a symposium on how to develop an accurate and reliable early warning system for genocide and mass killing.
- The Office of the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide developed an Analysis Framework to identify where mass atrocity crimes might happen.
- Learnings from the Long View, by futurist Peter Schwartz, looks at scenario planning, the next great global driving force, and scenarios for the year 2025.
- In this TED talk, Jared Diamond, a professor of geography and physiology at UCLA and best-selling author of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, identifies the signs of collapse from past societies to understand how we can prevent genocides and other mass upheavals in the future.
- The Genocide Prevention Task Force’s chapter on early warning outlines the range of issues related to forecasting genocide and mass atrocities.
- In this blog post, Museum Committee on Conscience Fellow Jay Ulfelder discusses why policymakers should make use of statistical forecasts for crises.
GLOBAL TRENDS AFFECTING MASS VIOLENCE
In the coming decades, environmental challenges and resource scarcity could aggravate ethnic conflicts, affecting why genocides happen and how they are addressed.
Mobile communications technologies—social media, crisis mapping, and crowd sourcing—are increasingly used to expose human rights abuses and to respond to emergencies.
POLICY AND PLANNING
Governments that want to focus on preventing genocides—rather than only responding to crises after the fact, when it is generally too late to save lives—will need to create new policy and planning structures in order to be proactive when threats arise.
- In an April 2012 speech at the Museum, President Obama outlined his administration’s new genocide prevention initiative.
- In a Foreign Policy op-ed, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen reviewed the Obama administration’s approach to deterring mass violence worldwide.
- Council on Foreign Relations scholars Paul B. Stares and Micah Zenko argue in a special report that the United States should look increasingly to international institutions—such as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—as partners in conflict prevention and peacemaking worldwide.
- In "Intervention to Stop Genocide and Mass Atrocities," Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Matthew C. Waxman examines the international legal system governing the use of force in situations of actual or potential mass atrocities and provides recommendations on how it could better promote timely and effective action in these instances.
Now and in the future, preventing and responding to genocide—no matter how the violence is caused or where it happens—will rely on generating and sustaining the political will of decision makers to take concrete actions.
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a new international norm that address the world’s historic failures to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
GENOCIDE: A PRIMER ON THE ISSUE
The following Museum resources define related terms and provide background information on genocide.