Genocide Education Initiatives

As part of its commitment to raise awareness about genocide and to end the devastating violence in Sudan, the Center launched two genocide education initiatives in 2004: the Rwanda Commemoration Project and the Genocide Teaching Project.

Rwanda Commemoration Project


April 7, 1994 marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people were killed in a carefully organized program of genocide over 100 days, while the international community largely remained silent. The United Nations subsequently declared April 7th as the "International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda." Every year, on or around that date, communities around the world organize and participate in commemorative activities.

In 2004, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law launched the Rwanda Commemoration Project, an initiative designed to encourage law schools, universities, NGOs, community groups, and others to hold events to commemorate the anniversary of this modern-day genocide, and to use it as a lesson, reminder, and call to action regarding genocide in our time.  The Project developed a resource booklet containing programming ideas, substantive issues for discussion, and a list of resources for additional learning. The project also developed a lesson plan for use in high schools to teach about the lessons of genocide, using Rwanda as the primary example. The lesson plan eventually inspired the development of the Center’s flagship Genocide Teaching Project.

Download the full resource booklet.

Genocide Teaching Project


The Genocide Teaching Project, originally developed by AUWCL alumni Sarah Hymowitz and Amelia Parker, created resources to teach about the legal concept of genocide in high schools, including a discussion of the Genocide Convention, brief overviews of genocides that have taken place throughout history, and the types of behavior and actions that may lead to genocide. The Project featured two standards-based lesson plans, including a 90-minute lesson on the genocide in Rwanda and a 45-minute lesson on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The standards-based lessons challenge students to identify actions they can take—as individuals and as a group—to impact the situation in Sudan and to ensure that genocide does not happen again. The lessons note that genocide can happen again. It has happened and will continue to happen unless we stay vigilant, learn, and apply the lessons of our recent past.