The Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention is the Auschwitz Institute’s core program. Established in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum , the Lemkin Seminar series brings rising leaders in government, military, and academia to the site of the former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, for education by top scholars and practitioners in the most effective approaches for preventing genocide. The first Lemkin Seminar was held in 2008.
The program takes its name from Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959), the Jewish lawyer from Poland who coined the term “genocide” — from the Greek genos (“family,” “tribe,” “race”) and the Latin cide (“killing”). He first used the word in print in his groundbreaking 1944 work Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation; Analysis of Government; Proposals for Redress .
In the five years of its existence, we have run two different editions of the Lemkin Seminar — Global Government and U.S. Military — and we currently have plans to launch two new editions: a regional seminar for Latin America in 2013, and a regional seminar for the African Union in 2014.
Participants emerge from our Lemkin Seminars with a heightened commitment to preventing genocide and increased knowledge of the policy tools available, both domestically and internationally. Even more important for the long term, they become members of 2PREVENT , the Auschwitz Institute’s network for Lemkin alumni, designed to help decision makers learn from and support each other in their daily work on the front lines of prevention. This sort of community has never existed before at the level of those who make and shape policy.
A total of 49 UN member states and three regional and subregional organizations have taken part in our Lemkin Seminars as of November 2012: Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Croatia, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Montenegro, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, Uganda, Uruguay, the United States, and Zambia, plus the African Union Commission, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).