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Monday, November 28, 2022

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A French soldier, a member of the international force supporting refugees of the Rwandan genocide, adjusts the concertina wire surrounding the airport. A French soldier, a member of the international force supporting refugees of the Rwandan genocide, adjusts the concertina wire surrounding the airport.
 


Conference Deconstructs Doing the Right Thing

SDSU’s Initiative for Moral Courage hosts a weeklong series of events starting Monday, Oct. 24.
By Gina Jacobs
 

We’ve all seen the ABC series “What Would You Do?” – where host John Quiñones challenges everyday people to “do the right thing.” 

If you were witness to an injustice – be it bad parenting or racism – would you stand up for what is “right?”  That fundamental question is the main topic of SDSU’s Symposium on Moral Courage that begins on Monday, Oct. 24.

The weeklong series of events will raise awareness about the importance of the ethical principle of moral courage in the San Diego community. It is part of a larger initiative of SDSU’s Jewish Studies program and Department of Religious Studies that will act as an interdisciplinary think tank focusing on the study, promotion and recognition of moral courage.

We ... want to look at what prompts people to do extraordinary things to save people’s lives and stand up for what is right.

“The Initiative for Moral Courage looks to examine not just the critical issues of genocide and global justice related to events taking place around the world today, but also those everyday actions such as standing up to a bully or being a whistleblower at work,” said Rebecca Moore, SDSU professor of religious studies.

“We also want to look at what prompts people to do extraordinary things to save people’s lives and stand up for what is right.”

Symposium on Genocides, Past and Present

On Sunday, Oct. 30, the “Symposium on Genocides, Past and Present” will be the featured event during the week with lectures on the Holocaust, and the Armenian and African genocides.

  • 1 p.m. – On the Holocaust: Edwin Black, author of "The War Against the Weak," will discuss the Holocaust and his analysis of the connections between the pseudoscience of the Nazis and the American eugenics movement.
  • 2:15 p.m. – On the Armenian Genocide: Richard G. Hovannisian, professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at UCLA will discuss the Armenian genocide
  • 3:30 p.m. – On the African Genocide: Rose Mapendo, a global activist for peace, will discuss the war on women and children in Africa. Her personal experience protecting her seven children during the war between Congo and Rwanda led to the formation of a non-profit organization dedicated to helping refugees in war-torn countries.
  • 4:30 p.m. – Reflections and Reactions: Leora Kahn, fellow at the Center for Genocide Studies at Yale University and Stephen Smith, director of the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, will lead a discussion of the reactions and reflections from the symposium.

"The Rescuers: A Photographic Exhibition"

In addition, SDSU’s Library and Information Access will present “The Rescuers: A Photographic Exhibition.”  It is an exhibition of photographs and extraordinary stories from the genocides that occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda and Cambodia. The exhibit will run through Nov. 24 in the SDSU Library.

“During horrifying times in history, many people have risked their own lives and shown tremendous courage to rescue those being persecuted,” Moore said. “This exhibit embodies what the Initiative for Moral Courage is all about.”

More information

More information about the Initiative for Moral Courage and the weeklong symposium can be found at moralcourage.sdsu.edu.

Funding for the symposium is provided by the Leichtag Family Foundation and several other generous donors.