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Nikias and Spielberg Announce Genocide Research Center

Syuzanna Petrosyan |
April 25, 2014 | 11:21 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Steven Spielberg meets with a Holocaust survivor after the announcement (photo by Gus Ruelas/USC)
Steven Spielberg meets with a Holocaust survivor after the announcement (photo by Gus Ruelas/USC)
USC President C.L. Max Nikias and USC Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg announced on Friday at USC the new Center for Advanced Genocide Research. 

April marks the 20th anniversary of the USC Shoah Foundation and the launching of the center within USC Shoah will build on the foundation's success in gathering testimonies of genocide survivors. The foundation's Visual History Archive includes over 52,000 eyewitness testimonies of genocide survivors from Holocaust and Rwanda. In the coming year, the archive will include testimony from Cambodian and Armenian Genocide survivors as well. 

The new center will focus on the study of how and why instances of mass violence occur, and how to intervene in the cycle that leads to genocide. 

"The center will change the way the world responds to genocide," said Nikkias during the announcement. 

Steven Spielberg took the stage to highlight the tremendous progress the foundation has made in the past twenty years, although much work remains to be done to prevent genocides. 

"The Center for Advanced Genocide Research will help make never again a reality," Spielberg said. 

SEE ALSO: USC Community Commemorates Armenian Genocide

The announcement was followed by a panel with USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education Stephen Smith, USC professor and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies Wolf Gruner, and USC professor Beth Meyerowitz. The discussions revolved around the center's mission and ability to create a bridge between genocide research and policy change in the political arena. 

"The initial vision was to tell the stories of the survivors," Smith said. "But later, we realized that these individual stories put together allow us to explore important topics such as trauma, sexual violence, and trends between different instances of genocide." 

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