An extraordinary conference designed to recognize and promoted "moral courage" is convening in San Diego this week. The Initiative for Moral Courage holds its first annual conference on the campuses of San Diego State University and California State University at San Marcos. The conference topics of the inaugural session focus on various twentieth century genocides. Those authors who have exposed them and those individuals stood up to them against the odds. Hence, the salute to moral courage.
To salute brave survivors and chroniclers, this year's conference will feature presentations by award-winning author and investigative journalist Edwin Black on the connection between American and Nazi eugenics, Richard G. Hovannisian on the Armenian genocide orchestrated by the Turks, and a host of other mass murders from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Rwanda to Cambodia.
The first major event was on October 29 and is a graphic presentation of panels entitled 'The Rescuers,' an exhibition of photographs and extraordinary stories from the Holocaust, and the genocides that occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Cambodia. These remarkable stories emerge of ordinary heroes who resisted overwhelming tides of prejudice and violence to risk their lives saving members from enemy groups. It helps to understand the presence of rescue behavior during genocide or mass violence. The exhibition rationale is to design ways to build in protective measures against this type of violence
Then, on October 30, an afternoon series will explore 'Genocides Past and Present.' Opening the day will be award-winning investigative author Edwin Black, whose book The War Against the Weak has changed the face and course of society's understanding of the dark links between American and Nazi eugenics. Based on selective breeding of humans, eugenics began in laboratories in the U.S. but ended in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
War Against the Weak is described by the program as "the gripping chronicle documenting how American corporate philanthropies launched a national campaign of ethnic cleansing in the United States, helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele. Winner of the Best Book of the Year, International Human Rights." Black demonstrated moral courage in standing up to the power of the Carnegie Institution and Rockefeller Foundation, which invent, fund, orchestrate and inflict both American and Nazi eugenics.
Black commented, "In an era of increasing focus on political expediency, the effort to revive and foster the notion of moral courage is sorely needed." Author Black credited the vision of organizer Jackie Gmach in bringing the effort to national attention.
Black is followed by a lecture on the Armenian Genocide by Richard G. Hovannisian, professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, University of California at Los Angeles. Hovannisian, is the author of numerous scholarly studies of Armenia and the Armenian Holocaust. The Armenian genocide that occurred after World War I was the occasion for massacres, deportations, and other crimes against the Armenian people perpetrated by the Turks. This was one of the first recorded genocides in modern history. Hovannisian has demonstrated moral courage by standing up to intense Turkish national efforts to deny the gencoide inflicted against the Armenians and politically punish those who chronicle it. His lecture is co-sponsored by The Department of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA.
The third presentation will focus on African genocides. Rose Mapendo, a global activist for peace, will discuss the war on women and children in Africa. Her experience protecting her seven children during the war between Congo and Rwanda led to the formation of a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping refugees in war-torn countries. Ms. Mapendo’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. Her lecture is co-sponsored by The Mapendo Foundation.
The next day, Black will reprise his presentation on War Against the Weak for the campus at California State University at San Marcos. From there, Black will drive directly to California State University at Fullerton for a whirlwind day of 4-5 lecture and presentation detailing numerous examples of corporate collusion with the Nazis, pervase academic fraud and misconduct, the alliance between the Arabs and Nazis during the Holocaust, and oil addiction. From Fullerton, Black again delivers his award-winning account of corporate complicity in the Holocaust, this time at the San Jose State University sponsored by the local Hillel.
See EdwinBlack.com for further information about his current book tour and speaking schedule.